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Cablegate: Splm Darfur Conference Postponed

VZCZCXRO9185
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0960 1700925
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 190925Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7653
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000960

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF S/E NATSIOS, AND AF/SPG
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND SHORTLEY

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV AU UN SU
SUBJECT: SPLM DARFUR CONFERENCE POSTPONED

REFTEL A KHARTOUM 953 B KHARTOUM 929

1. (SBU) The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)
conference on Darfur has been postponed. No date has been
set for the conference to begin. SPLM Task Force on Darfur
(TFD) chair Rev. Clement Janda stressed that the SPLM's
efforts will continue. Janda told Acting CG Juba June 18
that he had pressed Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS)
President Salva Kiir for a new date, but Kiir had declined
to set one. Instead, Kiir reportedly counseled patience
while other efforts played out, and while consultations
with the Darfur parties continued.

2. (SBU) The postponement follows criticism of the SPLM for
involving civil society, Arab groups and other Darfurian
representatives in the first phase of its proposed three-
phase conference. It also follows refusal by key Darfur
leaders to attend the SPLM's conference (Ref. A).

3. (SBU) Janda denied reports, including one from another
member of his task force, that Eritrea was blocking groups
assembled in Asmara from participating in the SPLM
conference. Eritrean officials Yemane Gharaeb and Abdullah
Jabr were in Juba June 16, Janda said, and reported that
dialogue among the Darfur factions in Asmara was continuing
and "making progress." He said the Eritreans had asked for
the SPLM conference to be postponed.

4. (SBU) Libya has, however, emerged as an obstacle,
according to Janda and GOSS Minister for Regional
Cooperation Barnaba Marial Benjamin. "They're not being
helpful," Benjamin said June 17. Janda said he had
received a fax from Darfurian commanders in Tripoli
indicating that they did not plan to participate in the
SPLM conference. Only last week, Janda claimed, a Libyan
envoy had assured him there were no Darfurian commanders in
Libya. Janda also expressed frustration with the French,
whom he claimed had misled the SPLM about the June 25
Darfur conference in Paris. (Note: Other Embassy contacts
confirmed the presence of some Darfur Peace Agreement non-
signatories in Tripoli. End note.)

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