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Cablegate: S/E Natsios Meets with Un Envoy On Eve of Strategy

VZCZCXRO3634
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1563/01 2811008
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081008Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8734
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI IMMEDIATE 0244
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001563

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF/SPG, AND AF/SE
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV UN AU SU LY
SUBJECT: S/E NATSIOS MEETS WITH UN ENVOY ON EVE OF STRATEGY
RETREAT

REF: A. KNOPF-AF/SPG E-MAIL 10/04/2007

B. KHARTOUM 01548

KHARTOUM 00001563 001.2 OF 003


-------
Summary
-------

1. (SBU) On the eve of a UN and AU retreat in Addis Ababa to
strategize on the Darfur political process, UN Envoy Jan
Eliasson told S/E Natsios that the first order of business
for the Darfur peace negotiations will be achieving a
cessation of hostilities. It is important to "stay the
course" despite the myriad obstacles facing the peace
process, according to Eliasson, who suggested that the UN and
AU are now working in concert with the SPLM to organize a
preparatory meeting for Darfur's rebel movements within the
week. Eliasson requested a statement by the UN Security
Council in support of the Libya talks. Fostering the
participation of civil society, traditional leaders, and Arab
groups also remained a priority. S/E Natsios encouraged
Eliasson to offer an "international guarantee" that the
negotiations would include discussion of compensation, the
disarmament of the Arab militias, and land returns if the
Fur, most of whom support intransigent rebel leader
Abdulwahid al Nur, participated in the talks. S/E Natsios
cautioned Eliasson against setting artificial end dates for
the process, noting that it should be inclusive in order to
be sustainable. Eliasson said that the focus remained on
"compact negotiations." End summary.

-----------------------------------------
Talks' Priority: Cessation of Hostilities
-----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) A cessation of hostilities will be the first order
of business at the UN/AU-sponsored Darfur peace talks
scheduled to begin in Libya at the end of October, UN Special
Envoy for Darfur Jan Eliasson told S/E Natsios on October 5
in Khartoum. The UN and AU are working to develop a draft
text for the cessation of hostilities and are also
considering proposals from the international partners,
including the UK and France, for a credible monitoring
mechanism (Ref. A). The UN and AU will be holding a retreat
in Addis Ababa from October 6 to 9 to develop a concrete
strategy for the negotiations, to include defining the role
of the regional governments (Chad, Libya, Eritrea, and Egypt)
and the rest of the international community. The "Tripoli
Format" will, however, be the "main point of reference" for
international engagement in the peace process.

--------------------
"Staying the Course"
--------------------

3. (SBU) While the process faces a variety of obstacles,
Eliasson emphasized that it is important "to stay the course
as we approach the moment of truth." He predicted that the
majority of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) non-signatory
movements will attend the talks, with the exception of Sudan
Liberation Movement (SLM) faction leader Abdulwahid al Nur.
Claiming he was reticent to wade into the internal politics
of the UN Security Council, Eliasson nonetheless said that a
formal statement of support for the UN/AU negotiations,
perhaps in the form of a Presidential Statement, would be
welcome prior to the start date of October 27. (Note:
Eliasson plans to brief the UN Security Council on October
24. End note.)

-------------------------
Another Try with the SPLM
-------------------------

4. (SBU) Acknowledging that much work remains to prepare the
rebel movements for negotiations, Eliasson explained that the
UN and AU are supporting the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement (SPLM) in organizing a discrete preparatory meeting
for the Darfur rebel movements in Juba on October 8. "We're
helping them very concretely," said Eliasson. If the
movements are still unable to unite around a negotiating team
and a platform, the UN/AU will then "make a fair analysis" of
who should attend the talks. The UN and AU planned to hold a
series of workshops in Libya for the Darfur movements
beginning October 17 but adjusting this time-frame is

KHARTOUM 00001563 002.2 OF 003


possible pending the success of the SPLM meeting, according
to Eliasson. (Note: The UN's main interlocutor with the
Darfur rebel groups told Poloff on October 4 that he was
optimistic that the UN could persuade the majority of rebel
groups to attend a meeting in Juba within the next week, with
the exception of Abdulwahid loyalists and the
Islamist/separatist Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). End
note.)

--------------------
Advantages of Libya?
--------------------

5. (SBU) While Libya is a problematic venue for the
negotiations, Eliasson said that it has some advantages.
First, it is "close to the ground," making it easier to bring
representatives from Darfur to the negotiations. Second, the
Sudanese Government sees the talks as an opportunity to
increase the chance of "Libyan good behavior" and tie Tripoli
to the outcome of the negotiations. Eliasson characterized
MFA Secretary for African Affairs Ali Treiki as "a reasonable
guy" and joked that "we should pray for his health" to offset
the less constructive elements of the Libyan government.

-------------------------------
Participation Beyond the Rebels
-------------------------------

6. (SBU) Participation among civil society, traditional
tribal leaders, and Arab groups was critical but difficult to
manage, said Eliasson. Abdul Mohammed, the head of the
Darfur Darfur Dialogue and Consultation (DDDC) and an advisor
to the UN/AU team charged with the peace process, described a
formula for capturing these groups that would include
inviting the legitimate tribal leaders of the Fur, the
Southern Riziegat, the Massalit, the Berti, and the Zaghawa
plus one other tribal representative each of their choosing.
Arab groups would be invited through civil society
organizations that had arisen in opposition to the Sudanese
Government.

-------------------
Including the Arabs
-------------------

7. (SBU) S/E Natsios recalled his recent meetings with the
Northern Rizeigat and Turjum tribes in South Darfur and said
that the Northern Riziegat--who had participated in the
Government-backed militias and were now fighting other Arab
tribes--should be included in talks (Ref. B) to ensure that a
political settlement is sustainable. Both the Northern
Rizeigat and the Turjum had told S/E Natsios that they would
commit to a cessation of hostilities and were composing
delegations to represent them at the negotiations.

------------------
Persuading the Fur
------------------

8. (SBU) S/E Natsios recommended that the UN and AU consider
issuing an "international guarantee" that compensation,
disarmament of the Arab militias, and land returns--the
priorities of the Fur IDPs that they have characterized as
"pre-conditions" for their participation in the UN/AU
process--will be discussed during the talks if the Fur
attend. While a symbolic gesture, such a guarantee might
provide an incentive for the Fur, many of whom espouse
Abdulwahid's maximalist demands, to participate. Eliasson
welcomed the idea, suggesting that the UN/AU could consider
putting such a statement in the declaration of objectives for
the talks.

-------------------
Avoiding Absolutism
-------------------

9. (SBU) Cautioning the UN/AU against setting an artificial
end date for the negotiations, S/E Natsios counseled Eliasson
to avoid "absolutist statements" that would exclude the
participation of vital constituencies. Eliasson agreed that
the situation was complex but noted that the UN/AU wanted to
focus on "compact negotiations." He and AU Special Envoy for
Darfur Salim Ahmed Salim would remain "responsible for the

KHARTOUM 00001563 003.2 OF 003


process" but are seeking a mediator to manage the
"day-to-day" negotiations. (Note: A UN official told Poloff
on October 6 that UN Acting Special Representative of the
Secretary General Taye Brooke-Zerihoun had accepted an

SIPDIS
appointment as the mediator for the Libya negotiations. The
UN will not make a public announcement about the appointment
to avoid the appearance that Taye was abandoning the UN
Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). End note.)

10. (U) S/E Natsios' staff cleared this message.

11. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.
FERNANDEZ

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