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Cablegate: Usau: Furthering Counternarcotics Cooperation In

VZCZCXRO0549
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #0275/01 0411311
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101311Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7709
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8050

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 000275

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/RSA, AF/W, AND INL
PARIS FOR WBAIN AND RKANEDA
LONDON FOR PLORD
NSC FOR MGAVIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PREL AU
SUBJECT: USAU: FURTHERING COUNTERNARCOTICS COOPERATION IN
AFRICA

This message is from USAU Ambassador Michael A. Battle.

1. (SBU) Summary: Since the start of the year, USG and
African Union Commission (AUC) officials on several levels
have been discussing the problem of drugs being trafficked
through Africa on their way to Europe. On January 21, the
two sides met at AU headquarters to launch technical
discussions about possible cooperation to combat drug
trafficking in Africa. Subsequently, the issue of
counternarcotics cooperation came up during AU Chairperson
Jean Ping's January 31 meeting with Under Secretary Otero and
Assistant Secretary Carson on the margins of the AU Summit,
and during AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane
Lamamra's February 10 meeting with the U.S. Africa Command
(AFRICOM) Commander General Ward during his visit to
Ethiopia. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On January 21, the AUC and counternarcotics experts
from INL and AFRICOM met at AU headquarters to discuss areas
of possible cooperation to combat drug trafficking in Africa.
Commissioner for Social Affairs Advocate Bience Gawanas led
the AU delegation comprised of social, political, and
security department representatives. Participants reviewed
drug trafficking trends on the continent and efforts by the
AU and its international partners to combat this scourge.
According to AU officials, cannabis is the principal drug
consumed on the continent and it threatens food security.
They described cannabis a "gateway" drug that could lead to
the growing addiction to harder drugs, such as cocaine and
heroin. AU experts called for alternative crops that could
be as profitable as cannabis, and they expressed concern
about the lack of drug counseling and treatment on the
continent. The meeting yielded the following joint statement:

BEGIN TEXT OF STATEMENT

The African Union Commission (AUC) and a United States
Government (USG) delegation of counternarcotics experts met
on January 21, 2010 in African Union Headquarters. The
discussion focused on areas of possible cooperation and
collaboration to combat drug trafficking in Africa. There
was a recognition that a balanced and integrated approach to
drug control, cutting across issues of social, economic, and
peace and security is necessary. Furthermore, there was
broad consensus that drug trafficking threatens African
security, good governance, development, and public health.

Strengthening African institutions, to include criminal
justice and security sector institutions, are fundamental to
our joint counternarcotics objectives. Additionally, the
group recognized the role a robust anti money laundering
regime, covering a wide range of predicate offenses, must
play in effectively countering the threat of drug trafficking
in Africa.

To this end, the following steps for immediately expanding
this cooperation were identified:

- The AUC and the USG will identify and exchange focal points.
- The USG will provide the AUC with copies of the
counternarcotics assessments completed to date.
- The AUC will provide the USG with specific themes related
to counternarcotics that the USG can reinforce through
bilateral interactions.
- The AUC will continue internal discussions on potential
areas of AUC-USG cooperation and will present the conclusions
of this discussion to the US Mission to the AUC.
- The AUC and the USG will continue the dialogue to explore
further cooperation in support of objectives outlined in the
AU Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention,
2007-2012

END TEXT OF STATEMENT

3. (SBU) The AUC identified several immediate needs: enact
and harmonize drug laws; establish regional counternarcotics
units; create information sharing mechanisms; training and
equipment; and work with partners in a coordinated manner.


ADDIS ABAB 00000275 002 OF 002


4. (SBU) On January 31, AUC Chairperson Ping raised the issue
of narcotrafficking with the U.S. delegation led by U/S Otero
and A/S Carson on the margins of the AU Summit. "The
situation in West Africa is very complex," Ping asserted,
citing the linkages between drugs and terrorism. Given the
fragility of African states, Ping said it was "almost
impossible to fight (the drug problem) alone." In some
instances, African politicians are fearful of their
militaries' reaction to any attempt at a crackdown. Ping
assessed that European authorities are not doing enough to
combat drug trafficking.

5. (SBU) AFRICOM Commander General Ward brought up the issue
during his February 10 meeting with AU Commissioner for Peace
and Security Lamamra. Recalling a September 2009 meeting at
AU Headquarters during which Chairperson Ping sought USG
assistance to combat the drug traffic, General Ward
acknowledged that the January 21 technical discussions had
occurred, and advised Lamamra that AFRICOM would continue to
work with the Department of State and other USG agencies to
address the problem. General Ward maintained that the drug
traffic was not limited to West Africa and thus
counternarcotics efforts needed to be broad. Those efforts
should encompass the AU's maritime strategy adopted at the
recent AU Summit, he added.

Comment:
------

6. (SBU) Now that the dialogue is under way and commitments
have been made by both sides to expand cooperation, the AUC
must now hold internal discussions that will yield their
requirements for capacity building. For example, the AUC may
propose to implement the African Charter on Democracy,
Elections and Governance; legal models on counternarcotics
issues for member states to incorporate into domestic
legislation; and procedures and processes to monitor and
ensure member state compliance of UN conventions and AU
policies. The aim of these steps would be to minimize
corruption and provide the legal tools to effectively combat
organized crime, to include drug trafficking. The USG,
meanwhile, needs to determine possible funding sources and
how best to operationalize the new Regional Security Training
Center in West Africa.
YATES

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