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Cablegate: Unmis Says Guehenno "Not Lying" in Nov 27 Briefing to Unsc

VZCZCXRO5317
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1933/01 3401331
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061331Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9466
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001933

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UNMIS SAYS GUEHENNO "NOT LYING" IN NOV 27 BRIEFING TO UNSC

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In a December 5 meeting with FieldOff, Head of
Office in El Fasher for the United Nation Mission in the Sudan
(UNMIS) asserted that Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)
Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guhenno "was not lying" in his
November 27 briefing to the UN Security Council (UNSC) about
impediments imposed by the Government of Sudan to the UN-African
Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) deployment. At the same time,
however, the UNMIS chief said that Guhenno had not told the whole
story and that even if GoS obstacles were removed, challenges to
UNAMID deployment would remain. FieldOff will talk separately on
December 6 with the UNAMID Chief of Integrated Support Services and
a representative of the UN Air Safety Office in a further attempt to
reconcile DPKO allegations and the reality on the ground regarding
UNAMID deployment. END SUMMARY.

GUHENNO'S HALF-TRUTHS
----------------------
2. (SBU) In a December 5 meeting with FieldOff, UNMIS Head of Office
in El Fasher commented on U/SYG Guhenno's November 27 remarks to
the UNSC on progress in Darfur peacekeeping efforts, remarks which
have drawn ire from the GoS, which considers them to be unjustly
accusatory and one-sided. The UNMIS Chief said that "Guhenno was
not lying, but he was not telling the whole truth, either," in his
statement, elaborating that while GoS obstruction does in fact
exist, it will not in and of itself be the reason for the problems
plaguing UNAMID. First, he acknowledges that it is true that the
GoS had not yet approved the October 2 list of UNAMID troop
contributing countries (TCCs), which is raising questions about the
composition of the force. However, the UNMIS chief notes that even
if the GoS were to sign off unequivocally on the force's
composition, "it would not mean that 26,000 troops would arrive in
Darfur tomorrow."

3. (SBU) Second, the UNMIS head pointed out that the GoS is indeed
playing legal games with the UN to hamper progress in finalizing the
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) for UNAMID. Again, as with the
TCC list, the UNMIS chief did not see where an expeditiously
finalized SOFA free would in fact translate into immediate and
effective UNAMID deployment. The UNMIS head noted that the GoS is
imposing similar obstacles to delivery of communications equipment
(VSATs have been held in El Fasher Airport for well over one month)
and to permission for night flights [NOTE: In a separate meeting
with FieldOff and PolOff, UNAMID Chief of Staff BG Patrick
Davidson-Houston noted that UN helicopters did not need a special
airstrip to accommodate night landings and could do so without GoS
authorization. END NOTE] but added that neither prohibition, if
lifted, would mean smooth sailing for UNAMID in the immediate term.

4. (SBU) What the UNMIS chief saw as the most disturbing obstacle
thrown in UNAMID's path was what he considered the GoS' deliberate
blocking of civil society members and IDPs from participating in
Sirte Talks by preventing them from obtaining travel permits and
visas. No matter how long the GoS stalled on the TCC list or how
many legal hurdles it could concoct for the SOFA, nothing could
compare to the damage done to the peace process, which the UNMIS
head saw as the only real hope for Darfur and to which the
peacekeeping operation would ultimately be secondary.

5. (SBU) The UNMIS head did not dismiss the influence of other
actors in the Darfur drama. On the political side, he singled out
Libya as a self-interested spoiler and said the UN and AU needed to
think more carefully before choosing a venue for subsequent rounds.
He then talked about TCC self-interest and noted the difficulty the
UN faced in working with the AU on this operation, a reality that
Guhenno did not include in his statement to the Council but that
nevertheless was as much of a hindrance to operations as any GoS
obstacle.

TIMING RIGHT FOR DPKO MESSAGE
-----------------------------
6. (SBU) Despite what he considered its shortcomings, the UNMIS head
regards Guhenno's statement as necessary and well-timed. "The
international community needs to know what we are facing on the
ground," he said. However, what to do with that information was the
trick. The UNMIS chief did not see sanctions or ICC indictments as
the best way forward in inducing the GoS or "those who stay away
from the peace process" to do the right thing. Without offering a
definitive plan for proceeding, the UNMIS head simply acknowledged
that careful, targeted pressure would be the appropriate follow-up.


7. (SBU) In the immediate term, however, the UNMIS Chief recommends
the international community focus its efforts in identifying air
assets for UNAMID, which, in his assessment, could make the tangible
difference on the ground that IDPs were expecting with regard to
camp security and protection. He regretted the UN's lack of
foresight in failing to amass its own stock of helicopters and APCs
for use in peacekeeping operations, a stock that could have
prevented the scramble for assets currently experienced by UNAMID.

KHARTOUM 00001933 002 OF 002


[Note: The UNMIS chief's emphasis on helicopters echoed recent
remarks by Force Commander Agwai. END NOTE].

8. (SBU) COMMENT. The UNMIS Chief's views are not necessarily
representative of the whole of the UN community with regard to
UNAMID deployment. For example, a UNAMID Civil Affairs Officer
considers that the hold-up of the VSATs is having direct and
potentially devastating effects not only on the mission's short-term
operation but on its ability to maintain personnel recruited as
well. This discrepancy raises the bigger-picture issue of what the
underlying issue raised by Guhenno really is: that UNAMID should
focus on addressing individually the GoS' short-term delay tactics
or on looking at the effects of the sum of these parts on long-term
Darfur stability, especially with regard to the peace negotiations.
Planned December 6 conversations with UN Chief of Integrated Support
Services and with a rep of the UN Air Safety Office should shed some
further light on the picture on the ground. END COMMENT.

9. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

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