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Cablegate: Madagascar's Troop Contributions for the Hybrid Operation

VZCZCXRO1145
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHAN #0646 1831405
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021405Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0004
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ANTANANARIVO 000646

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR IO/PSC DENNIS HANKINS
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E MARIA BEYZEROV

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPKO AU UNSC MASS SU MA
SUBJECT: MADAGASCAR'S TROOP CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE HYBRID OPERATION
IN DARFUR

REF: STATE 089941

1. (SBU) Charge and U.S. Defense Attache met with Madagascar's
Minister of Defense Petera Behajaina July 2 to discuss Madagascar's
current troop contributions to the African Union Mission in Sudan
(AMIS) and potential contributions to the upcoming UN/AU Hybrid
Operations in Darfur. Behajaina affirmed that Madagascar intended
to continue providing at least modest numbers to the international
peacekeeping efforts in Darfur, but was unwilling to indicate
whether the Government of Madagascar would be able or willing to
significantly increase its participation.

2. (U) Madagascar has 14 peacekeeping observers in Sudan at present
and 19 who have recently returned from deployment with AMIS. In
addition, 46 personnel have been approved by President Ravalomanana
for immediate deployment to Darfur. Those 46 are apparently waiting
only on logistics funding (plane tickets) from the AU. In addition,
42 personnel are prepared to participate once the President gives
his approval to send them. In total, then, 102 officers are planned
for Madagascar's participation in AMIS.

3. (SBU) Behajaina estimated that these same troops would be
available for the UN/AU Hybrid Operation; however, when pressed to
identify any possible increase in numbers, he was unwilling to
commit - one way or the other - without approval from President
Ravalomanana. He did, however, seek more information to assist in
their decision-making process. First, would the troops that are
committed need to be fluent in English, or would it be acceptable
for fluent French speakers to participate, as this would greatly
increase the number of potential candidates? Second, given that the
Malagasy military has a "bulge" of mid-level officers, would it be
acceptable if most participants came from this cadre?

4. (SBU) With respect to equipment and training, Behajaina sought
further information on what kind of training would be available. He
indicated that Madagascar's troops would need to be completely
outfitted for equipment to include communications, medical,
personnel gear, and messing equipment/facilities. Additionally, he
requested a seminar hosted by a country that has experienced
peacekeeping troops to explain the ground realities for peacekeeping
in Darfur. This could be a 2-3 day seminar to include operational
and legal expectations and constraints.

5. (SBU) COMMENT. While Behajaina was unwilling to commit troops
without higher authority approval, his questions were entirely
pertinent to Madagascar's decision-making. Post has agreed to stay
in touch with the Ministry of Defense on these issues as more
information becomes available, such as answers to the questions
raised in Paragraph Three. At a minimum, however, Madagascar has
committed to sustaining its existing, modest presence. END
COMMENT.

SIBLEY

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