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Cablegate: Usau: African Union Summit Scenesetter

VZCZCXRO4432
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #0025/01 0110517
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110517Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7356
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0539
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0397
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0945
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 6731
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 1234
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8017

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ADDIS ABABA 000025

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/FO, S-USSE, AF/RSA, AF/E, AF/C, AF/W, AND AF/S
STATE ALSO FOR NEA/MAG, IO/UNP, AND AF/EPS
NSC FOR MGAVIN
LONDON FOR PLORD
PARIS FOR WBAIN AND RKANEDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM EAID AU
SUBJECT: USAU: AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT SCENESETTER

REF: A. ADDIS ABABA 12
B. 09 ADDIS ABABA 2981
C. 09 ADDIS ABABA 2945
D. 09 TRIPOLI 1036
E. 09 LILONGWE 690
F. 09 MBABANE 353

This message is from USAU Ambassador Michael A. Battle.

1. (SBU) Summary: With less than three weeks to go before the
start of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa,
several predictable and recurring themes will take center
stage: the crises in Somalia and Sudan, the unconstitutional
changes of power in Guinea and Madagascar, and the
constitutional manipulation in Niger. Leadership of the AU
Assembly of heads of state also is still very much up in the
air with continuing speculation over whether Libyan Leader
Moammar Qadhafi will seek unprecedented re-election to a
second term as AU Assembly Chairperson. According to the
AU's regional rotation, southern Africa's candidate, Malawian
President Bingu wa Mutharika, should succeed Qadhafi. This
much is certain: once the dust settles, the AU will have a
new flag designed by an Ethiopian artist. End Summary.

2. (U) The bi-annual AU Summit begins January 25 with a
two-day meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee
(PRC), followed by a two-day meeting of foreign ministers
from January 28-29, and climaxing with the heads of state
meeting in the Assembly of the Union from January 31-February
2. The earlier meetings will develop reports and
recommendations for the meeting of the Assembly, as well as
endorse a number of protocols and proposals developed through
the previous six months. The heads of state usually accept
those recommendations as presented.

3. (U) Heads of state will devote their first day of
deliberations to the official theme of the Summit,
"Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Africa:
Challenges and Prospects for Development." Hamadoun Toure,
Secretary General of the International Telecommunications
Union, and Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, have
been invited to speak on this occasion. If recent AU Summits
are any indication, official themes typically take a back
seat to more pressing crises on the continent.

Leadership for 2010
-------------------

4. (SBU) Even before the African heads of state turn their
attention to ICT issues on the continent, they will go into
closed session to elect a Chairperson for 2010. As noted in
reftels, the question of succession is very much open to
debate. If the AU's regional rotation is respected, Malawian
President Mutharika will inherit the mantle from Qadhafi, but
no one is ruling out a Qadhafi bid for re-election. The
least that can be said is that heads of state will vote for
what is in their individual national interest. Observers of
the process, including representatives from some AU member
states, assume that Qadhafi can buy his re-election, though
many support honoring the current rotational system.
(Comment: USAU would appreciate knowing whether the
Department plans to follow up with select African heads of
state regarding their position on Qadhafi's re-election. End
Comment.) If Qadhafi remains in office for another term, it
will permit him to pursue his agenda of greater regional
economic and political integration on the continent.

Sudan
-----

5. (SBU) At the Summit a year ago, AU Commission Chairperson

ADDIS ABAB 00000025 002 OF 003


Jean Ping hinted at the creation of a panel of eminent
persons who would investigate the Darfur issue and make
recommendations for a comprehensive solution, including
reconciliation, justice, and peace. That panel, chaired by
former South African President Thabo Mbeki, has since carried
out its mandate and the AU has asked Mbeki to continue
leading the implementation phase of his report's
recommendations, which include steps toward a peaceful
resolution to the Darfur conflict and implementation of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). While Ping and the AU
may take credit for bringing the process along, no one
imagines that the road to the general elections this year
will be easy. Ping reportedly expects a contentious split of
Sudan. In December, Ping and Mbeki met with UN officials in
New York and issued an urgent appeal to the international
community to support the ongoing efforts to resolve the
conflict in Darfur, fully implement the CPA, democratize
Sudan, and normalize Sudan's relations with its neighbors.

Somalia
-------

6. (SBU) Twelve months ago, freshly elected Somali
Transitional Federal Government President Sheikh Sharif was
given a standing ovation when he entered the plenary session.
A year later, the AU leadership is even more concerned about
the lack of progress on both the political and security
fronts in Somalia as well as lukewarm UN support. The
December 4 suicide bomb in a Mogadishu hotel that killed more
than 50 people, including three government ministers, was one
of several important setbacks for the AU Mission in Somalia
(AMISOM) and international efforts to address the Somali
crisis. AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping's repeated
appeals to AU member states to contribute troops to AMISOM
have gone unanswered, leaving the Burundian and Ugandan
battalions to protect TFG institutions and key installations,
such as the seaport and airport in Mogadishu. AU Peace and
Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra continues to call on
the UN to prepare for an eventual takeover of the
peacekeeping role in Somalia. There is no doubt that the AU
leadership will appeal to the United States and other
partners to bring more resources to bear in the fight against
al-Shabaab. In this regard, a major development since the
July 2009 AU Summit in Libya has been the UN Security
Council's decision in December to impose sanctions on Eritrea
for its role in funding and training al-Shabaab fighters in
Somalia.

Coups and Constitutional Manipulations
--------------------------------------

7. (SBU) The AU's record in responding to unconstitutional
changes of government and manipulations of the constitution
has been mixed. AU leaders take partial credit for helping
Mauritania restore constitutional order, although in the
process the democratically elected Mauritanian President was
permanently ousted from power, and the general who led the
coup, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, resigned from the military to
run for president and won. Guinea-Bissau recovered from the
November 2008 assassination of its president by holding
elections in July 2009 that international observers said took
place without major incident. From our discussions with AU
officials, it appears that there will not be any attempt to
censure Niger's President Mamadou Tandja for manipulating his
country's constitution in order to extend his mandate.
Similarly, the Summit likely will not dwell on either
Zimbabwe or the Great Lakes Region, two thorny issues that
have not received the level of attention this past year that
Guinea or Madagascar have. Recognizing the need for more
coherent guidelines on the AU's response to unconstitutional
changes in government, including sanctions, the AU Peace and

ADDIS ABAB 00000025 003 OF 003


Security Council met in Swaziland December 17-19 and drafted
a framework that it will present at the Summit.


8. (SBU) The International Contact Group on Madagascar
(ICG-M), which met in Addis Ababa on January 6, agreed that
free, fair, and transparent elections offer the only way to
return Madagascar to constitutional order (Ref A). How and
when to hold such elections, however, remain a bone of
contention among ICG-M members. While the French delegation
advocated conditional support for Andry Rajoelina's election
plan, the U.S. and others object to Rajoelina's disengagement
from the mediation process and unilateral actions, and insist
on the need to return to inclusive dialogue before planning
elections. Following Ping's imminent trip to Antananarivo to
try to unblock the current stalemate, and Madagascar's
response to the ICG-M's recommendations (requested by January
25), the margins of the AU Summit will provide a forum for
high-level discussions to continue on the way forward in
Madagascar. An ICG on Guinea is scheduled for January 26 in
Addis Ababa and may give the AU an opportunity to help put
Conakry back on the path to constitutional order.

New AU Flag
-----------

9. (U) In the midst of this very loaded AU Summit agenda,
Africa's leaders are expected to adopt a new flag for their
organization. An Ethiopian artist is said to have submitted
the winning design for the new flag, but the AU has kept the
design a closely guarded secret.

USAU Takes on Expanded Role
---------------------------

10. (U) Ambassador Carson: The USAU and bilateral missions
warmly welcome you and your delegation to the AU Summit.
USAU has accepted a major challenge for 2010 by agreeing to
serve as the AU Partners Group chairperson. In this role,
USAU will serve as the AU Commission's primary liaison with
the international partners group and thus assure even more
access to the AU's senior leaders. USAU will continue to
facilitate U.S. engagement with the AU by accompanying senior
AU officials to Washington for meetings when appropriate,
coordinating visits of USG officials to Addis Ababa for
International Contact Group meetings sponsored by the AU, and
managing USG participation at the biannual AU Summits (the
June/July 2010 Summit will be in Kampala).

MUSHINGI

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