US diplomat tells Niger govt: Shut up re uranium lies

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Aug 3 17:46:51 MDT 2003




From: Rick Rozoff <R_ROZOFF at YAHOO.COM>

Subject: Iraq-Nigergate: US To Niger - Shut Up If You Know What's Good
For
You [WWW.STOPN

HTTP://WWW.STOPNATO.ORG.UK
---------------------------
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/08/03/wwmd03
.xml&s
Sheet=/portal/2003/08/03/ixportal.html&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=8
6197

Daily Telegraph
August 3, 2003

America silences Niger leaders in Iraq nuclear row
By David Harrison in Niamey, Niger

-"Let's say Mr Cohen put a friendly arm around the
president to say sorry about the forged documents, but
then squeezed his shoulder hard enough to convey the
message, 'Let's hear no more about this affair from
your government'. Basically he was telling Niger to
shut up."
-Mr Hamadou said that the Niger government had never
had discussions with Iraq about uranium and called on
Tony Blair to produce the "evidence" he claims to have
to confirm that Iraq sought uranium from Niger in the
1990s.
-"Mr Cohen did not spell it out but everybody in Niger
knows what the consequences of upsetting America or
Britain would be. We are the world's second-poorest
country and we depend on international aid to
survive."




America has warned the Niger government to keep out of
the row over claims that Saddam Hussein sought to buy
uranium for his nuclear weapons programme from the
impoverished West African state.

Herman Cohen, a former assistant secretary of state
for Africa and one of America's most experienced
Africa hands, called on Mamadou Tandja, Niger's
president, in the capital Niamey last week to relay
the message from Washington, according to senior Niger
government officials.

One said: "Let's say Mr Cohen put a friendly arm
around the president to say sorry about the forged
documents, but then squeezed his shoulder hard enough
to convey the message, 'Let's hear no more about this
affair from your government'. Basically he was telling
Niger to shut up."

The dramatic American intervention reflects growing
concern about the continuing row over claims that
America and Britain distorted evidence to justify the
war against Iraq.

It follows The Telegraph's exclusive interview with
Hama Hamadou, Niger's prime minister, last week. Mr
Hamadou said that the Niger government had never had
discussions with Iraq about uranium and called on Tony
Blair to produce the "evidence" he claims to have to
confirm that Iraq sought uranium from Niger in the
1990s.

American officials denied that there had been any
attempt to "gag" the Niger government. The Niamey
official, however, said that there was "a clear
attempt to stop any more embarrassing stories coming
out of Niger".

He said that Washington's warning was likely to be
heeded. "Mr Cohen did not spell it out but everybody
in Niger knows what the consequences of upsetting
America or Britain would be. We are the world's
second-poorest country and we depend on international
aid to survive."

Mr Cohen's intervention suggests that Washington is
keen to draw a line under the "uranium from Africa"
affair, although The Telegraph has also learned that
senior American soldiers were in Iraq last week to
investigate the movement of Niger's uranium.








More information about the Marxism mailing list