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Cablegate: Minurcat and Eufor Stirring in Chad

VZCZCXRO8220
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #0890/01 3201141
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161141Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5893
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI 1441
RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 0006
RUEHDL/AMEMBASSY DUBLIN 0012
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0013
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 0048
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 0013
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0002
RHMFIUU/USEUCOM
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NDJAMENA 000890

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

PARIS AND LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AORC PREL UNSC PREF CD SU CT
SUBJECT: MINURCAT AND EUFOR STIRRING IN CHAD

REF: A. USEU BRUSSELS 3258
B. SECSTATE 147043

NDJAMENA 00000890 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Summary: A new kind of international operation is
slowing standing up in Chad as European (EUFOR) and UN
(MINURCAT) forces embark on a joint exercise in providing
security to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs)
in Chad's isolated eastern provinces bordering Sudan. Given
the logistical complexity, it is not surprising that the
operation will not fully deploy until Feb/March 2008.
Humanitarian workers in eastern Chad look forward to the
arrival of EUFOR/MINURCAT, but worry about the rules of
engagement, and the division of responsibilities between
humanitarian and military actors. Airlift capacity is in
short supply, and might be an area where the United States
could assist the operation. End summary.

EUFOR ARRIVES IN N'DJAMENA
-------------------------

2. (U) The advance team for the European Forces in Chad and
Central African Republic (EUFOR) arrived in Chad in early
October. The head of the forces on the ground, French
General Jean-Philippe Ganascia, is expected to arrive
November 20. In a meeting with Emboffs October 29, Colonel
Jacques Zocchetto, head of the EUFOR Advance Team, explained
that the first deployment in the zone should commence by
December 20 with full deployment expected by Feb/March (EUFOR
must be in place before UN-trained gendarmes can take up
their duty stations by the refugee camps and IDP locations.)
The one year clock of the EUFOR operation will start ticking
on full deployment.

TROOP NUMBERS AND LOGISTICS
--------------------------

3. (SBU) The number of European troops on the ground --
originally forecast at 3,500 -- has increased to 4,300
according to interviews with the Paris-based EUFOR chief,
General Nash. Zocchetto stated that over a third of these
are for support/logistics. While France was prepared to
offer 1,500 soldiers (including rehatting some French
soldiers currently serving at Epervier base in Chad), the
slow progress in mustering the remainder is a concern.
Contributions from Poland (400), Ireland (350), Sweden (200
for six months only), Austria (160), Romania (120), Belgium
(100) have been reported in the press. Zocchetto noted that
the Chadians apparently wanted to combine 1,000 Chadian
soldiers with EUFOR -- an offer which was highly problematic,
particularly as regards maintaining the neutrality of the
force.

4. (SBU) Zocchetto explained that the major logistics
constraint was lack of airlift (a point he noted had been
made in Brussels at a briefing October 10). Antonovs and
French Transall can only land in eastern Chad at certain
times of the day due to runway conditions and high heat. In
addition to the need for an intra-theater airlift capability
such as the C-130, helicopters will be needed to transport
personnel, equipment, and supplies between basecamps that are
not in close proximity to airfields. If support in airlift
were to be made available, it would answer EUFOR's greatest
need.

EUFOR BREAKS NEW GROUND FOR THE EU
----------------------------------

5. (SBU) Zocchetto acknowledged that there were many
"firsts" for the EUFOR operation. A cross-border operation
with a contingent in northern Central African Republic, EUFOR
was the biggest and most expensive European force to date
(Euros 100 million, not including the costs accruing to
troop-contributing countries for troop deployment). It was
also a first time pairing with UN-trained gendarmes on a
mission to provide security for refugees and IDPs. Zocchetto
commented that diplomats in Brussels had no idea of the scope
or complexity of the operation. Getting fuel (trucked in from
Cameroon or Nigeria) was a problem. Obtaining cement in a
country with no cement production was a problem. Simply
providing the 8 - 12 liters per day for the European soldiers

NDJAMENA 00000890 002.2 OF 003


was a major undertaking. (In fact, rather than transport
water, they intend to dig new wells and leave the
infrastructure to the local populations).

6. (SBU) While the official language of EUFOR is english,
EUFOR has an overwhelmingly French character. Advance Chief
Zocchetto told Emboffs that he understood that the success or
failure of EUFOR had significant implications for future
European involvement in Africa. According to him, the view
in France was: "if EUFOR fails, France will be alone in
Africa." Along those lines, N'Djamena has hosted a stream of
European visitors, from the Austrian Minster of Defense to
(more recently) the Irish Foreign Minister. All have come to
see first hand the terrain where they will shortly be
committing troops. All have come away with a sobering sense
of the enormous cost of the operation and the difficulties of
operating in a semi-desert environment at the end of the
world's longest supply line.

MINURCAT PREPARATIONS
---------------------

7. (SBU) On November 2, MINURCAT head Oussemi Campaore (on
loan to DPKO from UNHCR) briefed EmbOffs on preparations for
the UN-trained Gendarme presence in eastern Chad. He
explained that MINURCAT was not a typical peace-keeping
operation; he also acknowledged that the GOC was chafing at
what it considered the lack of coordination and consultation.
(A Status of Forces agreement was still awaiting signature).
Campaore reiterated that MINURCAT cannot deploy until EUFOR
is deployed, which gives him about two months for
preparation. In the meantime, MINURCAT is setting up its
N'Djamena office and awaiting the arrival of the UN Secretary
General's Special Envoy for Chad (expected by the end of
2007). Until the Special Envoy's arrival, UN Humanitarian
Coordinator Kingsley Amaning is the senior UN representative
in Chad.

8. (SBU) Campaore outlined some of the challenges ahead for
MINURCAT. EUFOR will provide the force protection and
transportation for the civilian mission, but EUFOR and
MINURCAT have separate lines of command/control, and
therefore close communication/coordination will be needed.
Three hundred UN trainers will be providing two months
training to some 800 Chadian Gendarmes before the Chadians
are deployed to the east. The training will be in N'Djamena
at a location to be decided (comment: the Chadian Gendarmes
and Police Academies are fiercely contesting who will host
the training; both are rudimentary in nature. End comment).
The Chadian government will present gendarme candidates to
MINURCAT which will test them and make the final choice.
Campaore noted that ensuring ethnic diversity would be
important.

HUMANITARIANS RAISE CONCERNS
----------------------------

9. (SBU) On November 7, Campaore and EUFOR Lieutenant
Colonel Laurent Paccaud briefed members of the humanitarian
community (UN and Non-Government Organizations) and donors on
MINURCAT/EUFOR progress. The humanitarian community welcomed
the arrival of MINURCAT/EUFOR: security continues to be a
problem in the east, with vehicle theft the number one
concern. Random violence on the major routes between
refugee/IDP camps and humanitarian bases is also a problem.
Nonetheless, many humanitarians stressed the need to have a
clear distinction between their mandate and the work of the
EUFOR civilian affairs officers (who may, according to French
press reports, have a large role to play in reconstruction of
IDP villages) and the Chadian gendarmes. Paccaud responded
that the UN-trained gendarmes would be wearing Chadian
uniforms with a small patch signifying their association with
the UN. Paccaud also expected the gendarmes to be driving
white land cruisers (the car of choice for UN and NGO
workers) with a mark on the license plate. The Oxfam
representative pointed out that the average Chadian did not
have positive associations with the military and it would be
important -- for both the military and the humanitarian
workers -- for them to distinguish themselves as much as
possible from the outset. She suggested painting the cars a

NDJAMENA 00000890 003.2 OF 003


different color so that the military force would be easily
recognizable. The gendarmes will be armed with pistols, which
prompted the humanitarians to express doubts about the
ability of the gendarmes to have an impact on security.

10. (SBU) Paccaud also described EUFOR's 100 million Euro
"trust fund." The fund will include 60 million for
"infrastructure development" (20 million for N'Djamena, 20
million in Abeche, 20 million for eastern Chad); the
remaining 40 million is for "operational expenses" (i.e.
fuel, personnel). Concerning transportation of supplies and
equipment, Paccaud acknowledged that they had not decided on
the best option. Whether trucking through Nigeria, Cameroon
or Libya, each route presented unique challenges.

COMMENT
-------

11. (SBU) This complex operation is moving slowly; the
players are grappling with immense logistical challenges and
with the need to establish close coordination between the two
forces and the GOC. MINURCAT/EUFOR will also need to
compensate for a rocky start in which the GOC felt left out
of the loop (not to mention the anti-French fall-out from the
Arche de Zoe affair). EUFOR members are acutely aware of the
need to keep the presence from projecting an overweening
French aspect; nonetheless, the French military base in
N'Djamena has been the nerve center of the operation. As far
as the UN portion, given the challenges of establishing a
training center and identifying recruits, a "forced march"
will be needed to deliver the first tranche of trained and
equipped Chadian gendarmes by the March EUFOR deployment.

12. (SBU) From the first proposals of the UN Secretary
General to place a "multidimensional force" in eastern Chad,
the United States has been supportive in principle. If
successful, the "security umbrella" provided by this force in
eastern Chad will enable the GOC to begin to re-establish its
security presence; it will allow humanitarian actors to
fulfill their mandates; it will create conditions for IDP
returns, and it will allow traditional systems of justice a
breathing space in which to work towards reconciliation in
the communities which have suffered the trauma of
inter-ethnic conflict. We believe it is in the USG interest
to be supportive and recommend that Washington consider
provision of airlift (C-130's or helicopters) for even a
short period.
TAMLYN

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