Cablegate: Niger: Ecowas Mediator Proposes Road Map for Niger;

DE RUEHNM #0048/01 0192017
R 192017Z JAN 10




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Niger: ECOWAS Mediator Proposes Road Map for Niger;
Government and Opposition Respond

Ref: a) Niamey 0029, b) 09 Niamey 1025, c) 09 Niamey 1005

1. Summary: On January 14, weeks after the pro-Government and the
opposition delegations to the Inter-Nigerien Political Dialogue
(INPD) submitted their positions (refs A and B), ECOWAS Mediator
Abdusalami Abubakar presented his suggestions for a way out of
Niger's political crisis. In response, Niger's main opposition
group, the Coordination of Forces for Democracy and the Republic
(CFDR), issued a statement accusing the Government of Niger (GON) of
manipulating the mediator and delaying talks in order to undermine
the negotiations. The GON rejected the CFDR's accusations as
groundless. End summary.

ECOWAS Mediator Proposes Transitional Government
--------------------------------------------- ---
2. On January 14, ECOWAS Mediator retired General and former
Nigerian Head of State Abdusalami Abubakar met separately with INPD
protagonists and provided them with a memorandum detailing his
conclusions and suggestions for a way forward. He requested that
each delegation forward written responses to him by January 26. The
Mediator adjourned the INPD until February 3. (Note: Abubakar was
summoned to Sudan to help mediate the conflict in Darfur. End note.)
The Mediators' proposal is as follows:

(Begin text)

-- The Dialogue shall establish an Interim National Reconciliation
Government (INRG) or a National Reconciliation Government (NRG) for
a period to be determined by the Dialogue;

-- Consensus provisions shall be adopted in order to govern during
the period;

-- His Excellency President Mamadou Tandja shall remain in office
until the end of the period in compliance with this Agreement;

-- The Government shall be led by a technocrat appointed by
consensus. The Government shall comprise representatives selected
by the Dialogue;

-- The Government shall ensure daily operation of State affairs in
compliance with this Agreement;

-- The National Council for Political Dialogue shall be reinstated
and remain in continuous consultation with the National Assembly.
The Council shall make recommendations to the Government concerning
a schedule for elections;

-- The Government shall be responsible for setting up a schedule for
elections, the effective completion of which shall mean the end of
the Interim National Reconciliation Government. These processes
shall be conducted under the supervision of an Independent National
Electoral Commission created by consensus;

-- Within the framework of the reconciliation, the National Assembly
shall be increased to 160 members in order to ensure the CFDR's
representation; and

-- The amnesty granted by the government for political violations
committed before the Dialogue shall remain valid after the

(End text)

CFDR Slams Government for Delays, Expresses Skepticism
--------------------------------------------- ---------
3. On January 17, the CFDR issued a statement in response to the
ECOWAS-proposed road map and the suspension of the INPD. The CFDR
accused the GON of using a variety of delaying tactics that forced
the Mediator to allow "repeated suspensions and restricted
meetings." The CFDR stated that it conceded to the creation of a
consensus and inclusive transitional government that would draft a
new constitution and organize new elections. According to the CFDR,
President Tandja's New Year's greetings of state institutions and
the diplomatic corps clearly showed that "President Tandja and his
zealots had never hidden their hostility to dialogue and their
intention to give no chance to its success."

4. The CFDR went on to say that it would convey its proposals as
requested by the Mediator, but asked Nigeriens to have "no illusions
as to the outcome of this Dialogue, which, in truth, has never taken
place" and called on supporters of democracy to "prepare for a
resolute and determined struggle in order to defeat President
Tandja's projects..." The CFDR further stated that " addition
to being solely responsible for engaging the country in a crisis,
President Tandja, by his stubbornness, autism, and carelessness for

NIAMEY 00000048 002 OF 002

the country's peace and stability, is the only responsible for the
failure of the Dialogue wished by the international community and
supported by the majority of Nigeriens."

GON Rejects Opposition's Claims as Groundless
5. January 17, the GON via the Minister of Communication and
Government Spokesperson Moctar Kassoum declared the opposition's
statement as "untimely and irresponsible." Kassoum stated, "One
cannot put words into the Government's mouth while it had not yet
responded to the road map that the Mediator proposed to the two
parties." According to him, the CFDR's statement reveals the
opposition's niche for "subversion, denouncement, and perfidy, often
in complicity with certain foreign forces." The Minister assured
that "the Government will make every effort so the Inter-Nigerien
Dialogue can achieve reasonable results. Likewise, democracy will
be protected and sustained...The Government is analyzing the
Mediator's proposals for a way out of the crisis, and will respond
responsibly, that is, to preserve the nation's and the population's
interests." He further stated that "nothing will be done outside
the framework of the Sixth Republic."

6. It appears that the Mediator's proposal regarding the expansion
of National Assembly membership was not derived from the proposals
of the two delegations (refs A and B). In fact, the ECOWAS Mediator
met individually with President Tandja on January 11 to seek his
approval of the proposals made to both parties. According to
Embassy contacts, President Tandja told the Mediator that he would
not concede anything regarding the Sixth Republic and deriving
institutions - a position reiterated by the GON Spokesperson on
January 17. Instead, President Tandja offered to expand the
National Assembly, "allotting" 47 seats to the opposition.

7. Many opposition members believe that the above referenced offer
further proves that President Tandja does not take negotiations
seriously and that he is using such maneuvers to delay further
international sanctions while pursuing his plans to consolidate his
power. Overall, the Mediator's proposed road map appears to pose a
complex exercise designed to result in the protagonists' proposals
meeting halfway.


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