Leaked French documents show Ivory Coast strategy

With Cote d’Ivoire’s defiant Laurent Gbagbo surrounded after French and UN military action in Abidjan’s Cocody neighborhood, internal French government documents obtained by Inner City Press and published exclusively today (8 April 2011) paint a picture of France’s communications with the UN Mission UNOCI, its analysis of the politics of Guillaume Soro, Liberia and the Malian press, even its recycling of a French diplomat arrested in New York as France’s new general consul in San Francisco.

In the first document, France’s Force Licorne (Unicorn) wrote to the Special Representative of the Secretary General about Gbagbo’s import of heavy weapons. Click here to view. More recently, France is accused of violating the arms embargo by providing and facilitating weapons to the forces of Alassane Ouattara.

The second document is an internal French cable detailing the Financial Organization of the Rebellion, down to a “racket” of shaking down money for taxi licenses.

In the third document, France bemoans the failure of a visit of three African heads of state to Cote d’Ivoire, including Nigeria’s Obasanjo and South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki now active in Sudan, complaining that this situation can be prolonged until the international community decided to “impose a solution.”

In the fourth document, France analyzed and critiques South African policy toward Cote d’Ivoire and Gbagbo.

In the fifth document, France analyzes Liberia’s foreign policy as pro-American. More recently, a purported interview of a Ouattara commander describing coordinating with a French citizen working with the UN Mission in Liberia has surfaced.

In the sixth document, France analyzes the “discrete attitude” of the Malian press.

In the largest set of documents published today — there are more — France details its work in the UN Security Council on resolutions concerning the UN mission UNOCI.

One of the French diplomats involved was Romain Serman, who was later arrested by the New York Police Department. See arrest sheet and signed statement, here. Then French Ambassador de la Sabliere, to “avoid a scandal,” sent Serman back to Paris.

But in 2010 he was re-assigned to the US, as general consul in San Francisco. And so it goes.

 

Source: UNITED NATIONS, Inner City Press.

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