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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI298, LIBYA PLANS AU MINISTERIAL APRIL 15-16 TO DISCUSS AU

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI298 2009-04-09 15:03 2011-01-31 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO3839
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0298 0991504
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O P 091504Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4710
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5237
C O N F I D E N T I A L TRIPOLI 000298 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG AND AF/SPG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  4/9/2019 
TAGS: PREL CD SU AU LY
SUBJECT: LIBYA PLANS AU MINISTERIAL APRIL 15-16 TO DISCUSS AU 
INTEGRATION, POSSIBLY DARFUR 
 
REF: A. TRIPOLI 70 B. TRIPOLI 249 CLASSIFIED BY: Gene Cretz, Ambassador. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C) Summary: Libyan officials continue to prepare for an extraordinary meeting of the African Union foreign ministers in Sirte April 15-16, though embassies of member states here have downplayed the importance of the meeting. A detailed agenda has not been distributed, but Libyan officials confirm that the principal topic for discussion will be transforming the African Union Commission into a more powerful African Union Authority - which Muammar al-Qadhafi hopes to chair as its first executive. Representatives from Sudanese rebel groups have not yet been invited to participate in side discussions, though Secretary for African Affairs Ali Treiki has invited Special Envoy Gration for consultations in Tripoli April 17-18, perhaps a sign that Libya intends to re-start its mediation in the region ahead of the regular July summit meeting for AU heads of state that al-Qadhafi hopes to host. End summary. AL-QADHAFI SEEKS MORE POWER FOR AU EXECUTIVE

2.(C) Libyan officials have confirmed that the April 15-16 extraordinary meeting for African Union foreign ministers will be held in Sirte and are planning a gala opening with remarks from Muammar al-Qadhafi. In an April 8 conversation with Poloff, Ali Treiki's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Azzabi said he expected high attendance and hinted that the Tripoli-based diplomatic corps would be flown en masse to observe the proceedings. Though specifics of the agenda have not been distributed to member states, Libyan officials confirm that the main discussion item is the creation of the African Union Authority - described as a step toward al-Qadhafi's vision for the United States of Africa. Azzabi went on to say that "several studies" would be presented to outline the legal steps necessary to transform the existing African Union Commission into a more powerful executive body to be chaired by al-Qadhafi himself.

3.(C) Diplomats from AU member states here downplayed the importance of the meeting but expect CEN-SAD members to send delegations. According to the Egyptian Embassy, Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit will not attend and many southern African states will send lower-ranking delegates if they attend at all. CEN-SAD will not have consultations similar to those before the AU Summit in February (ref A) - a decision an Egyptian contact described as unnecessary because Libya "already knows who is with them and who is against them."

DARFUR MEETINGS POSSIBLE, THOUGH NO ANNOUNCEMENT YET

4.(C) Observers here have speculated that Libya would use the AU meeting as a platform to reassert its role in Darfur mediation. When asked whether these talks were planned, Azzabi said only, "it would be customary to have these sort of talks on the margins of a meeting like that." However, representatives from both the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM/KI) and the Sudanese Liberation Army/Unity faction (SLA/Unity) deny receiving any invitation from the GOL for either Sirte or Tripoli. SLA/Unity has not yet begun its consultations with Darfuri civil society members (ref B), citing logistical difficulty getting field leaders to attend. According to the Egyptian embassy, al-Qadhafi recently encouraged President Bashir to begin criminal prosecutions of alleged human rights violators in Darfur on the national level and to permit humanitarian aid to reach the people in an effort to quiet international criticism. The MFA's Ali Treiki phoned the Ambassador on April 9 to extend an invitation for Special Envoy Gration to come to Tripoli for consultations on April 17-18, a possible opportunity to press Libya to do more to open humanitarian access.

5.(C) Comment: Local diplomats are skeptical that anything more than theater will come out of the April AU meeting, with several AU member state embassies reporting that it may hurt Libya's chances of hosting the July Summit meeting that was to be held in Madagascar. According to the Egyptian Embassy, Libya has nonetheless begun inviting some heads of state for July, an initiative that the Egyptians plan to help promote. End comment. CRETZ