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Cablegate: Ahmedinejad in Dakar; Wade Comments On Iran's Civil Nuclear

VZCZCXRO7476
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDK #1520 3500917
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 160917Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3499
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHIC/ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS DAKAR 001520

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/W, AF/RSA, DRL AND INR/AA
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS KDEM ECON SG
SUBJECT: Ahmedinejad in Dakar; Wade Comments on Iran's Civil Nuclear
Program

1. (SBU) Summary: On November 26, Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmedinejad made a twelve-hour stop in Dakar, en route to Teheran
from Latin America. President Wade took the opportunity to
reiterate his support for Iran's right to a civilian nuclear program
while President Ahmedinejad announced that he will help Senegal in
the fields of agriculture and energy. Meanwhile, despite the money,
T-shirts, and flags deployed by the ruling party to hail the visit,
supporters were on the whole too busy buying sheep for the Eid
religious feast to come out in large numbers to greet the Iranian
President. End summary.

Senegal supports Iran
---------------------

2. (SBU) Addressing the media with President Ahmedinejad, President
Wade reiterated his support to Iran saying that, as long as Iran
does not enrich uranium for military purposes, Senegal will be on
its side. Wade added, "I told Ahmedinejad that Senegal is against
the proliferation of nuclear weapons and my position on this is not
a secret. I bear witness to the fact the President of Iran has
repeatedly told me that his country is processing uranium for
civilian purposes." President Wade further noted that IAEA
inspectors had not found anything in Iran, musing, "You know,
legally, those who level an accusation bear the burden of proof.
And in the case of Iran, so far no evidence has been presented."

Iranian Assistance to Senegal
-----------------------------

3. (SBU) President Ahmedinejad announced that he will continue to
support Senegal's effort to develop an automotive industry through
the car assembly line that the Iranian company Khodro established in
Thies, Senegal. He also promised to deliver one thousand tractors
to support President Wade's agricultural program, GOANA. Finally,
he indicated that Iran will be involved in the construction of a
storage facility for oil products in Senegal. The reality is that
there has been many visits back and forth between Teheran and Dakar
but little can be shown beyond rhetoric. The car assembly plant in
Thies appears to be idle. During the past two years, Iranian
vehicles have been imported, not assembled in Senegal, and are
currently used as taxis in Dakar. These taxis were lined up along
the road as part of the welcome for Ahmedinejad. Realizing the
paucity of actual development assistance, President Wade accused
former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, of having
stifled relations with Iran, "Gadio never wanted to go to Teheran."
In a joint press release, the two Presidents announced that a
bilateral relations committee meeting will be held in Teheran in
February 2010 to review and reinforce relations between the two
countries.

COMMENT
-------

4. (SBU) One of President Wade's diplomatic strategies is to ally
with isolated leaders to attract attention from the international
community. In the case of Iran, Wade hopes to gain influence and
play a role in the freeing of French citizen Francoise Clotilde
Reiss from detention in Iran and then be called upon by the Group of
Six to help soften Iran's position regarding its nuclear program.
Wade still harbors dreams of winning the Nobel Peace Prize as a
culmination of his career and to this end he continues to take bold
and sometimes obtuse positions with the aim of securing a seat at
the table in the resolution of international crises. End comment.
BERNICAT

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