Cablegate: Chad: Two Uneasy Tracks of Dialogue

DE RUEHNJ #0594/01 1941806
R 131806Z JUL 07




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Strains within the opposition coalition
have not yet led to an open rupture, but the internal
political dialogue is blocked over the issue of a government
of consensus. Meanwhile, there is apparent progress in the
parallel dialogue in Tripoli between the government and
rebels. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) The opposition coalition CPDC (Coordination des
Parties politiques pour la Defense de la Constitution) has so
far weathered a fundamental disagreement that seemed (reftel)
on the verge of breaking the coalition apart. Opposition
heavyweights Jean Bawoyeu Alingue, Wadal Abdelkader Kamougue,
and Saleh Kebzabo are ranged on one side, leaning toward
signing an agreement on improved electoral modalities, and
Lol Mahamat Choua and Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh are on the
other side, insisting on not signing without broader
guarantees, including formation of a government of consensus
empowered to enforce a new road map on electoral reform.
However, General Kamougue convened the CPDC leaders last week
and they emerged with an uneasy understanding to maintain
opposition unity for the time being.

3. (SBU) Meanwhile, the talks between the government and
armed opposition continue in Tripoli, concluding their third
week. We do not have a direct read-out but it is clear, from
opposition press accounts and ministerial comings and goings
from Ndjamena to Tripoli, that the talks are active. The
European Union here informs us that the negotiations in
Tripoli are "advanced." The rebels -- apparently even
including Deby's relatives the Erdimi twins -- appear to
willing to sign a ceasefire and, according to the EU, are
negotiating their participation in the government. The EU
surmises that the rebel groups' poor fighting record since
Mahamat Nour (now Minister of Defense) defected at the end of
2006, compounded by some withdrawal of Sudanese support in
the wake of the Riyadh/Tripoli entente with Chad, have made
the rebels amenable to a deal.

4. (SBU) Charge d'affaires called on Alingue July 12 and
Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh July 13 to get an updated view on
the incipient split in the CPDC and on linkage between the
external (Tripoli) and internal dialogues. Both were very
careful to avoid casting aspersions on each other or
admitting any linkage to Tripoli, while both expressed hope
that Tripoli could produce a ceasefire. (Comment: We
understand that at least some of the opposition leaders are
in continual telephonic contact with some of the rebels, and
we know that privately some have given vent to bitter mutual
criticisms. End Comment.)

Alingue's View

5. (SBU) Alingue, who chairs the internal dialogue,
acknowledged that the dialogue, since it commenced in
December 2006, had made considerable progress in elaborating
electoral reforms -- a significant achievement considering
the complete lack of trust that had prevailed in Chad ever
since Deby had announced that he would change the
constitution and run for a third term. By April both sides,
with significant technical advice from the European Union,
had largely come to agreement on these electoral reforms.
They began then to turn to the even more difficult issue of
creating a general environment in which fair elections would
be feasible. Alingue emphasized that the most important
obstacle to fair elections and, indeed, economic development
and good governance, was Chad's state of insecurity, and thus
the CPDC had insisted on negotiations that included the armed
rebels. If the negotiations now underway in Tripoli brought
a lessening of insecurity, then the government would have
gone some way toward meeting this requirement. There was no
direct link between the internal dialogue and Tripoli,
Alingue said, but an agreement between the government and
rebels would be essential to organizing elections. However,
if Tripoli dragged on, it might nonetheless be possible to
sign the internal agreement.

6. (SBU) The other dimension to the discussion on the
"general environment," according to Alingue, was the

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necessity for modalities to ensure that the electoral reforms
agreed upon would be fulfilled in practice. Much debate had
focused on the formation of a watch-dog committee with
international membership, which the government (as
represented by the ruling party MPS in this dialogue) had at
first opposed but now accepted. For the past two weeks, the
dialogue had foundered on the last remaining major issue:
participation of the opposition in the government, a
"government of consensus." The government/MPS said it was
willing to consider the opposition's representation in the
government, but it insisted that Deby reserve the right to
say who was to be named to what ministerial portfolio.
Alingue admitted that there were some CPDC leaders who
objected to the idea of participating in the government at
all, even one in which the CPDC had a determinitive role,
since they would lose the clarity of their status as
opposition leaders. (Comment: We believe Saleh Kebzabo is
one of these, preferring to put reliance on the watch-dog
committee as the guarantor of the agreement. End Comment.)
Alingue acknowledged that this fundamental disagreement might
lead to the break-up of the CPDC.

Ibni Oumar's View

7. (SBU) Ibni Oumar did not appear to attach much importance
to the talks in Tripoli, saying that, while it was important
that they succeed, the CPDC's requirements for guarantees to
ensure the effective conduct of elections would remain the
same. The electoral reforms that had been agreed would be
worth little without those guarantees. The CPDC had set
forth a "road map" in May that included a thorough reform of
territorial administration (to include removal of military
interference in elections), a watch-dog committee with
international observers, and a "consensual team" that would
have complete power to oversee and enforce the road map. The
MPS appeared to agree to this road map on May 8, and it was
an MPS member who had suggested a "government of consensus"
rather than "consensual team." The MPS had appeared to agree
that the President would delegate some of his power under the
present constitution. However, the MPS had walked back its
apparent agreement and now, according to Ibni Oumar, wanted
to use the CPDC's insistence on guarantees as a way to break
up the CPDC. However, Ibni Oumar said, in its recent
meetings the CPDC agreed to remain unified and to continue to
insist on these guarantees. The watch-dog committee was one
important guarantee but not adequate without a government of
consensus. To the Charge's question about the role of the
European Union, Ibni Oumar said the EU had from the beginning
of the dialogue seen its role as restricted to offering
technical advice on electoral issues. He said that the EU
did not appear to be interested in the larger issue of
guarantees for electoral reforms.

European Union View

8. (SBU) Poloff called on EU Counsellor Martin Klaucke
(German) July 11 for his read-out on the dialogue. Klaucke
said that the government had made significant concessions on
the reform of the electoral system. It was a big step
forward for Chad. The reforms would hopefully allow Chad to
have legislative elections that were much less manipulated
than past elections had been. Legislative elections were
admittedly not so important as presidential elections, due to
the weakness of Chad's National Assembly, but successful
legislative elections could bode well for the presidential
election in 2011.

9. (SBU) Klaucke said that at the June 21 plenary the
government/MPS had agreed on all the electoral reforms and
two out of three of the wider demands of the CPDC: watch-dog
committee with EU and AU, and who would be allowed to sign
(CPDC insisted only MPS and CPDC, and a compromise had been
worked out by which other political parties -- mostly small
and allied to the government -- would "initial but not
sign"). It was the third issue, the CPDC's insistence on a
government of consensus, that had blocked agreement. In
fact, Klaucke said, some of the CPDC did not want to be in
the government at all, and Klaucke suspected that the CPDC
was now using its demand for a government of consensus as an

NDJAMENA 00000594 003 OF 003

excuse to delay agreement pending developments in Tripoli.
Klaucke speculated that the
CPDC feared that the armed opposition would extract a better
deal from the government than the moderate opposition, one
from which the latter might benefit if they were patient.

10. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

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