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Cablegate: Sudan Liberation Movement: Kampala-Based Darfur

VZCZCXRO4005
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKM #0883/01 1431011
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231011Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8804
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 000883

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV UG SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT: KAMPALA-BASED DARFUR
REBELS ON RECONCILIATION

REF: SMALL-FITZGIBBON TELECON 05/18/07

1. (SBU) Summary: The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM)
faction tied to Ahmed Abdelshafi, based in Kampala, wants a
reconciliation conference among the various SLM factions.
Abdelshafi is expected back in Kampala in the next week. His
faction claims to have assumed Abdelwahid El-Nur's leadership
mantle. SLM-Abdelshafi has been contacted by San Egidio,
which proposed a meeting in Rome of seven factions.
Abdelshafi's group opposes San Egidio's plan because it
disagrees on the factions that have been identified.
Instead, SLM-Abdelshafi prefers a conference hosted by a
different organization. Members of the faction are now in
communication with Chadian-based SLM elements and with
Sudanese Senior Special Assistant to the President Minni
Minnawi. End Summary.

2. (SBU) At the request of the Sudan Program Group, on May
19, P/E Chief met with eight members of Ahmed Abdelshafi's
faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) based in
Kampala. Beginning in November 2006, Abdelshafi and members
of his group relocated from Asmara, Eritrea. Some of the
others in Kampala include: Abakar Abubashar, who chaired the
Wealth-sharing Commission at the Abuja Peace Talks, Nouri
Abdullah (one of two Canadians who had advised SLM leader
Abdelwahid El-Nur), Mustafa Eisa, Ahmed Siraj, and Karuke
Ismail Suleiman. Abdelshafi, currently in Jebel Marra, told
P/E Chief he would return to Kampala within a week.
Abdelshafi is a Ugandan passport holder. The group is
staying at the Millennium Hotel, owned by Ugandan Minister of
State for Labor Mwesigwa Rukuntana. The Ugandan Government
is aware of the presence of the SLM faction in Kampala and
has made contact with its members.

3. (SBU) The SLM-Abdelshafi faction initially believed that
the holding of a field commanders' conference would be the
first step in unifying the movement. The conference failed
to take off for a number of reasons. According to Abakar
Abubashar and Nouri Abdullah, Justice and Equality Movement
(JEM) meddling and Government attacks on SLM had made it
difficult to bring the military commanders together. In the
absence of a field commanders' conference, Abdelshafi's
faction said the next best alternative was to have a meeting
of the various political players within the SLM. Abdelshafi
proposed a leadership structure be developed to focus the
various faction leaders' attention on making the SLM a viable
institution that was not based on personalities and personal
allegiances. The participation of key military commanders
may be needed at some point, but most factions were reluctant
to pull their commanders out of the field for fear of a
Government attack. After creating a unified structure,
Abubashar said that discussion of the "outstanding issues" on
the Darfur Peace Agreement could be addressed. He stated the
key issue for Abdelshafi is more representation and powers
for the Darfur region. Compensation issues could be worked
out, but would need to be better explained to the Darfurian
population.

4. (SBU) San Egidio had contacted the group last week
regarding the possibility of holding a conference of the
various SLM factions in Rome. Abubashar and Abdullah took
exception to San Egidio's analysis that there were seven SLM
factions that needed to be reconciled, complaining that some
of the "factions" consisted of only one or two persons.
SLM-Abdelshafi members see three factions that need to be
brought together: Chad-based and funded Khamis Abudulla's
group which includes Adam Shogar, Adam Bahkit, and Sharif
Harir; Ahmed Abdelshafi, who claims contol of 65 percent of
the field commanders; and Abdelwahid El-Nur, who is in
France. Abdelshafi's group described Abdelwahid's group as a
three-person operation: Abdelwahid, Abdullah Ahmed-Deen, and
Jafar Munro, his spokesman. Abubashar said that Abdelwahid
commands little or no authority within SLM but he would need
to be included, but not as SLM's leader.

5. (SBU) Abdelshafi's group also had been contacted by
Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM) about the
possibility of a reconciliation conference in Juba. The
group still has strong contacts with SPLM members, largely a
carry-over from its close relationship with Dr. John Garang.
However, Abdullah said that the SPLM cannot be completely
trusted after the hard line the SPLM's members of the
Government of Sudan's delegation took at the Abuja Peace
Talks. Abdelshafi's groups would go to Juba if there were no
other alternatives.

6. (SBU) Comment: P/E Chief put the Abdelshafi faction in
touch with members of Khamis Abdulla's group in N'Djamena. It
had been almost a year since the rank-and-file members of the
various factions had spoken with each other. They now have
exchanged telephone numbers and promised regular contact.

KAMPALA 00000883 002 OF 002


P/E Chief also put Abubashar and Abdullah on the telephone
with Senior Special Advisor Minni Minnawi. Minni appeared
genuinely happy to hear from them and they discussed Darfur
Peace Agreement (DPA)-related issues for about fifteen
minutes. P/E Chief encouraged Abdelshafi's group to put its
positions on outstanding DPA issues in writing.
CHRITTON

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