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Cablegate: Swedish Plan to Support Sirtre Talks Focuses On Job

VZCZCXRO4085
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1763 3161513
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121513Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9142
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001763

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KSCA OTRA EAID CDC SU
SUBJECT: SWEDISH PLAN TO SUPPORT SIRTRE TALKS FOCUSES ON JOB
TRAINING FOR FIGHTERS

REF: KHARTOUM 1711

1. (SBU) Summary: Poloff attended a working-level meeting November
8 at the Swedish Embassy on a Swedish plan to provide non-lethal
support to armed groups in order to stabilize the situation on the
ground in Darfur to promote the success of the Sirte peace talks.
To receive support, in the form of job training and per diem,
participants would be required to place their guns "out of reach."
Swedish CDA Ulrika Sundberg led the discussion, which included reps
from the NGO community, the Dutch Embassy, and the UN Development
Program. Sundberg described the draft program to S/E Natsios during
his recent visit to Khartoum (reftel). Natsios noted that legal
restrictions prevent the USG from contributing to such a program.
End Summary.

REBELS TO BE OFFERED TRAINING
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) The Swedes have been exploring the job training program for
several weeks, seeking input from representatives (so far, only
Khartoum-based) of Darfur rebel groups and other western embassies.
Rebel leaders have reportedly been supportive of the concept. The
aim is to provide job-training and subsistence to members of armed
groups so that they will not have to engage in banditry to survive
while the peace talks are ongoing. Rebels receiving assistance
would place their weapons under external control for the duration of
the training (length of training has not yet been determined).
Ideally, a peace plan would be in place by the end of the training
to ensure the weapons would be taken permanently out of commission.
Sundberg said participation in the program would not preclude
subsequent DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration)
participation - addressing a key concern of rebel fighters.

3. (SBU) Under the current plan, field commanders would decide
which of their fighters would participate in the program.
Empowering the field commanders would give them a "peace incentive,"
Sundberg said. Field commanders would have to voice support for the
peace talks and to keep their men in line.

WEAPONS CONTROL MECHANISM TO BE DETERMINED
------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The Swedes have not yet worked out a feasible mechanism
whereby the weapons would be placed out of reach of the combatants
and under external control, and are seeking additional ideas. The
trainees would have to know they could have access to the weapons in
case of attack. Among the possibilities, Sundberg noted, would be
to give responsibility for the arms to field commanders or tribal
leaders, although she said she was "not comfortable" with giving
them to the field commanders. A representative of the UNDP DDR
program said a "dual-key" mechanism had proven effective in similar
circumstances in other conflict zones (whereby approval of two
authorities would be required to access the weapons).

QUICK IMPLEMENTATION KEY TO SUCCESS
-----------------------------------

5. (SBU) Sundberg, along with others at the meeting, stressed that
the program would need to be put into effect quickly to ensure
success. A realistic time frame would be to have the program
running within three to four weeks of a Cessation of Hostilities.
She said she would travel in early December to El Fasher to discuss
the program with rebel leaders and field commanders, and invited
others to join her on the trip. She estimated that six to eight
thousand fighters would take advantage of the training program.

COMMENTS SOUGHT
---------------

6. (SBU) Sundberg requested comments on the draft program from all
present. She said comments would be worked into a new draft, which
would then be given a formal presentation to the international/NGO
community. She has not yet approached the GOS about the plan.

7. (SBU) Comment: The Swedish proposal addresses one of the common
causes of instability during a cessation of hostilities and peace
talks: how to provide an immediate "peace dividend" for armed
fighters who otherwise might not have any means of support until a
peace agreement takes effect with a DDR program. The current plan
takes into account concerns expressed by S/E Natsios (reftel) that
the program target only armed fighters (who are the potential
spoilers) irrespective of traditional NGO humanitarian principles
that all individuals be able to participate. The Swedish are eager
to receive our input on the plan, which we will scan and email to
S/E Natsios and SPG. One of the basic drawbacks it faces is that it
is only a short-term solution to a long term problem. We also plan
to suggest that the Swedes look at models from other countries where
similar efforts have been made, such as Burundi or Congo.

FERNANDEZ

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