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Cablegate: Darfur - Administrator Fore Site Visit to El Fasher

VZCZCXRO6219
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1853/01 3310647
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270647Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9306
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001853

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF A/S FRAZIER, AF/SPG, S/E NATSIOS, PRM, AND ALSO PASS
USAID/W
USAID FOR ADMINISTRATOR FORE, BFEINSTEIN, AA/AFR KALMQUIST, DCHA
SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/SFO, USAID/REDSO
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND BPITTMAN
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: DARFUR - ADMINISTRATOR FORE SITE VISIT TO EL FASHER


KHARTOUM 00001853 001.2 OF 003


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

1. (U) On November 22, the USAID Administrator and Director of
Foreign Assistance Henrietta H. Fore, Charge d'Affaires Alberto M.
Fernandez, Assistant Administrator for USAID's Africa Bureau
(AA/AFR) Kate Almquist, and the Mission Director for USAID/Sudan
traveled to El Fasher, North Darfur, to review the current
humanitarian situation. The delegation met with Deputy Governor for
North Darfur State, representatives from UN agencies and
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Deputy Joint Special
Representative (JSR) for the United Nations-African Union Mission in
Darfur (UNAMID) Henry Anyidoho. The delegation also visited two
USAID-funded humanitarian projects in As Salaam internally displaced
person (IDP) camp and the UN World Food Program (WFP) food aid
warehousing complex. Administrator Fore emphasized USG commitment
to supporting the humanitarian response in Darfur and working to
find lasting solutions to end the four-year conflict. End Summary.

2. (U) In a November 22 meeting, Administrator Fore told the Deputy
Governor that she had come to El Fasher at the request of the
President whose concern is peace in Darfur. The Administrator
expressed that USAID's primary purpose in Darfur is to provide
humanitarian assistance. The Administrator stressed the importance
of IDPs being allowed to choose when and where to return to their
areas of origin. In addition, the Administrator said that the USG
is interested in UNAMID's success and is closely monitoring that the
deployment is handled well. The AA/AFR stated that Sudan is USAID's
largest program in Africa and that USAID is here to support the
humanitarian needs in Darfur, but also to work on reconstruction and
development. AA/AFR Almquist said that it was possible for USAID to
have a large development program in Southern Sudan and the Three
Areas because of peace. The AA/AFR stated that USAID looks forward
to the day when fighting stops in Darfur and people can return home.
The Administrator and CDA raised the USG's concern over indications
that the Sudanese government is preparing to forcibly disarm IDPs in
Kalma camp, South Darfur. The CDA urged government officials at the
regional and national levels to show restraint and not undertake any
operations that would result in more civilian death.

-------------------------------------
Concerns of the Humanitarian Agencies
-------------------------------------

3. (SBU) According to the UN Department of Safety and Security, four
factors are increasing insecurity throughout Darfur: fragmentation
of armed opposition groups; Arab militias fighting against Sudanese
Armed Forces (SAF); interethnic tensions; and the potential rise of
terrorist activity, specifically the threat of an Al-Qa'ida inspired
attack on UNAMID in West Darfur. In Darfur, fighting and insecurity
continues to dictate where and when relief agencies can provide
assistance. According to the aid agencies, the increased insecurity
and banditry are major impediments to helping vulnerable
populations. The fragmentation of the armed opposition groups has
increased difficulties in negotiating access to areas. These
factors are limiting humanitarian presence in rural areas, resulting
in a heavy dependence on helicopter transport, and diminishing the
ability of organizations to monitor assistance programs.

4. (U) The relief agencies briefed Administrator Fore on the current
challenges facing the humanitarian operation in Darfur. The UN
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
representative reported that there are 40,000 new IDPs in North
Darfur this year, yet requests to the Sudanese government for
additional land to establish a new IDP camp in El Fasher were
"flatly rejected." The humanitarian agencies continue to negotiate
with the authorities to expand Zam Zam IDP camp, located south of El
Fasher town. Both Abu Shouk and As Salaam camps have reached
maximum capacity and are now closed to new arrivals. The group also
expressed that it was difficult to find organizations willing to act
as camp coordinators due to the pressure and harassment that camp
coordinators receive from the Sudanese government. (Note: USAID
continues to press the Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) to quickly assume responsibility for camp
coordination throughout Darfur. Since early 2007, the Sudanese
government has impeded UNHCR's plans to expand operations from West
to North and South Darfur. End Note.)


KHARTOUM 00001853 002.2 OF 003


5. (U) The humanitarian agencies also reported that North Darfur
State authorities have recently begun to push for returns,
particularly after Government of National Unity President Bashir's
public statements encouraging returns. The organizations reiterated
that IDPs are not permanently returning home and that only seasonal
migration has been observed by the aid agencies. OCHA stated that
the clear trend is additional displacement, not returns.

6. (U) The relief organizations told Administrator Fore that the
situation has improved somewhat since the signing of the Joint
Communique on the facilitation of humanitarian activities in Darfur,
but that bureaucratic impediments continue to delay service
delivery. The International Rescue Committee reported that even
when staff members have all the proper paperwork in order, the local
Sudanese government still restricts staff movement on an individual
basis. The humanitarian agencies reiterated the need to extend the
moratorium on restrictions of NGO operations in Darfur, which is set
to expire at the end of January, in order to avoid delays in renewal
of visas and permits.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Site Visit to As Salaam IDP Camp and WFP Warehouse
--------------------------------------------- -----

7. (U) Administrator Fore and delegation visited two USAID projects
at As Salaam IDP camp, where 49,000 IDPs reside. Administrator Fore
visited a USAID-funded health clinic that serves approximately 130
patients per day. Services available in the primary health care
facility include maternal health, immunization and vaccinations,
provision of medicine, and out-patient treatment. The health
facility is open 24 hours a day and has two doctors and four medical
assistants on staff.

8. (U) The second project visited in As Salaam IDP camp was a women
and youth center. In addition to providing emergency relief
services, USAID programs in As Salaam camp assist IDPs in developing
livelihood skills, which they will be able to take with them when
the time is right for IDPs to return home. At the women's center,
IDP women learn transferable skills such as sewing, baking, and
weaving, among others. At the youth center, CHF staff engage the
youth in education and vocational training to provide them with
constructive daytime activities.

9. (U) Administrator Fore visited the WFP complex that is the
primary facility for storing the food aid that is distributed
throughout North Darfur by NGO partners. At maximum capacity, the
complex can store 29,000 metric tons of food, equivalent to 2.5 to 3
months of North Darfur's food requirements. Sudan is WFP's largest
operation in the world, primarily due to the size of the Darfur
operation, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of the food aid
distributed countrywide. Through the Title II program, USAID
provides sorghum, pulses, vegetable oil, and until recently,
corn-soya blend (CSB) as the main components of the general food
ration distributed in Darfur.

------
UNAMID
------

10. (SBU) In a meeting at UNAMID, the Deputy JSR General Anyidoho
welcomed Administrator Fore and her delegation to the recently
inaugurated UNAMID El Fasher Headquarters. The Deputy JSR for
UNAMID sought to assure Administrator Fore that despite technical
obstacles and high expectations, his office was doing all it could
to ensure that UNAMID had something to show for itself by the
December 31 Transfer of Authority (TOA). Administrator Fore
encouraged the Deputy JSR to push ahead with strengthening capacity
and building the infrastructure necessary to support and sustain
UNAMID.

11. (SBU) Anyidoho assured Administrator Fore that "we are doing the
best we can" to front-load UNAMID deployment by December 31 TOA, but
that outstanding obstacles were impeding real progress. UNMIS Head
of Office flagged bureaucratic delays with importing equipment -
particularly vehicles and VSATs - at the El Fasher Airport as
problematic. Anyidoho stressed that JSR Rodolphe Adada was
personally engaged on these issues (NOTE: Adada arrived in El Fasher
for the day on November 22 but then promptly returned to Khartoum,
as his El Fasher residence is not yet complete. END NOTE.), as well

KHARTOUM 00001853 003.2 OF 003


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