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Cablegate: Codel Mcgovern Visits Eastern Chad, Meets Sudan Rebels

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNJ #0318 1021040
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121040Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5138
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS NDJAMENA 000318

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/C MASHRAF, PRM/AF MLANG, AND S/CRS FOR
PNELSON-DOUVELIS/JVANCE/JBEIK

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV PHUM KCRS CD SU OVIP OTRA
SUBJECT: CODEL MCGOVERN VISITS EASTERN CHAD, MEETS SUDAN REBELS


1. (U) SUMMARY. Rep. James McGovern and staffers, plus Ambassador
and Emboffs, visited the Abeche area on 6-7 April, meeting with
local Chadian authorities, UN officials, NGO workers, and Sudanese
rebel leaders. The group drove to Gaga camp to meet with Sudanese
refugees. In a meeting with Representatives of the Sudanese
National Redemption Front (NRF)in their camp outside of town,
Sudanese rebels stressed their support for Darfur peace talks and
the need to unify the rebel movements. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) CODEL McGovern visited Abeche and the nearby Gaga refugee
camp in eastern Chad on 6 April, before departing to KouKou Angarana
on 7 April (septel). After meeting with UNHCR Abeche Office
Director Catherine Huck, and paying a courtesy call on the Secretary
General of the Ouaddai Region, the delegation proceeded to the Gaga
Refugee Camp, accompanied by Huck and her External Relations
Officer.

Gaga Camp
---------

3. (U) The camp at Gaga, the newest and perhaps best organized of
the camps on the Chad-Sudan border, now hosts almost 15,000
refugees. Most new arrivals from Sudan are settled in the camp,
which still has room to accommodate additional refugees. Africare,
the camp manager, escorted the group on a tour of the camp, visiting
a food distribution center, the clinic (run by International Medical
Corps), a school, and a large area set aside for vegetable gardens.
In a meeting with camp leaders and teachers, the delegation received
an earful about needs for security, water, and more plentiful food
rations. The group also visited a site on the edge of the camp
where refugees who have provided testimony to investigators from the
International Criminal Court on Sudanese war crimes receive
protective custody.

Meeting with Sudanese Rebels
----------------------------

4. (SBU) In the evening the CODEL met with a delegation from the
National Redemption Front (NRF) and Justice and Equality Movement
(JEM) outside Abeche. With Tajadine Niam, a political
representatives for the NRF and JEM, as the lead speaker, the rebel
representatives discussed the marginalization of Darfur (and other
parts of Sudan) and the division of Darfur into three separate
regions. They stressed that they are seeking compensation,
reconciliation, and a greater say in the government in Khartoum, not
independence from Sudan.

5. (SBU) The representatives said they are committed to working
with United Nations Special Envoy Elliason, the neighboring
countries, and other initiatives for peace in Darfur. They
distanced themselves from the African Union, claiming it was weak
and has shown itself one-sided in its support for Khartoum. They
said the Ceasefire Commission (CFC) was not working and needed to be
overhauled. They urged unity among the various Darfur rebel groups,
complaining that disunity was their greatest weakness. The Sudanese
Liberation Movement (SLM) itself, they complained, has between five
and seven different factions.

6. (SBU) Asked about additional steps they believe the
international community should support, the representatives proposed
a no-fly zone in Darfur and stronger sanctions against the Sudan
government. Rep. McGovern reminded the delegation that he had been
arrested last year for protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy in
Washington. He expressed concerns about militarization of the
refugee camps, an issue raised in the past with the rebels by both
UNHCR and the Embassy. The delegation sad they would work to
prevent the camps from being used for military purposes.

7. (U) The CODEL departed Chad without an opportunity to clear this
cable.

8. (U) Tripoli minimize considered. Wall

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