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Cablegate: Unamid Deployment: Some Progress but Well Behind Schedule

VZCZCXRO1075
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0111 0251035
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251035Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9785
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000111

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF/SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID DEPLOYMENT: SOME PROGRESS BUT WELL BEHIND SCHEDULE

REFERENCE: (A) KHARTOUM 0085
(B) 07 KHARTOUM 2058
(C) 07 KHARTOUM 2048
(D) 07 KHARTOUM 1866
(E) 07 KHARTOUM 1735

1. (SBU) Egyptian political officer Tamer Azzam told poloff January
24 that Egyptian troops for three separate UNAMID deployments are
poised to arrive in February and should complete their deployment by
the end of April. Azzam said that the Egyptian contingent's
equipment had arrived at Port Sudan and is in the process of being
transported to Darfur. (Note: UNAMID could not confirm the arrival
of this equipment, noting they have limited ability to track items
at the port. End note.) Azzam said a 150-person Egyptian signals
company will be assigned to El-Fasher, a 275-person engineering
company will be assigned to El-Geneina, and a 200-person troop
transport unit will be assigned to Nyala.

2. (SBU) According to a January 17 UN Headquarters Department of
Field Support document shared with FieldOff January 24, the UN has
planned precise dates for deployment of these units. The signals
company and the engineering company are expected in El Fasher and El
Geneina respectively by March 10, with equipment to be delivered
between March 3 and 7. The transport company is expected in Nyala
by February 29, with equipment scheduled to arrive between February
25 and 28.

3. (SBU) Azzam said that Cairo and UN/DPKO are discussing the
deployment of an Egyptian mechanized infantry battalion to be
deployed in Nyala. If approved, the 850 soldiers will likely be
deployed in the Northern Sector. UNAMID's Chief of Transition Plans
told FieldOff that DPKO wanted UNAMID to accept this battalion and
an Ethiopian battalion as part of an "Early Effects Package."
UNAMID has not yet formally replied to DPKO's proposal, but it has
already indicated informally that such an early deployment will be
difficult. Force Commander Agwai himself reportedly considers that
UNAMID is not yet logistically prepared to receive these forces; a
deployment location has not even been identified for the Egyptians,
for example. UNAMID views the push to deploy these forces as DPKO's
"political response" to the Government of Sudan's refusal to admit
non-African forces who were slated to do a similar job (the Thais),
and the FC has reportedly said that he will not let such politics
dictate the proper deployment of troops for UNAMID.

4. (SBU) There is also considerable internal UN debate on how to
move the Egyptian mechanized battalion into Darfur. Reportedly there
is a $2.6 million cost difference between deploying the full
battalion (people and cargo) by air versus by sea. It is likely
that DPKO will settle on a combination of air and sea transport,
with the 260-person advance company slated for airlift to Nyala
between March 10 and 14, and equipment expected to arrive between
February 24 and March 10. Cargo for the bulk of the battalion will
be shipped by sea and should arrive in Nyala o/a March 31.

5. (SBU) Pakistani Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Saleem
Mohammed Khan told poloff January 22 that the Pakistani engineering
company originally scheduled for a December deployment has been
delayed. UNAMID sources told FieldOff January 24 that this company
should arrive in March, although UNAMID has not yet received a load
list for the unit. The Pakistani DCM added that the Level III
Medical Hospital (staffed by Pakistan) that is planned for Nyala has
also been delayed. UNAMID told FieldOff on January 24 that the
hospital unit is also expected to deploy in March.

6. (SBU) Nigerian DCM Muktar Kano told poloff January 22 that a date
has not been set for the arrival of the Nigerian Level II Hospital
planned for El-Geneina, which was originally planned to deploy in
December. He opined that the earliest the hospital unit would
deploy would be mid-February. A January 17 UN document shared with
FieldOff on January 24 indicates that the UN plans for the advance
party of the Nigerian hospital unit to arrive in El Geneina o/a
March 20, while the rest of the 100-person unit should deploy by the
end of March.

7. (SBU) Comment: Given that the bulk of the Chinese engineering
company's equipment arrived on November 10 (ref B) and the Chinese
only started construction on January 21 (ref A), post views the
Egyptian deployment plan as fairly realistic. However, given that
the Chinese advance party arrived on November 24 (ref E) and the
main body has yet to arrive, post suspects that Egypt's anticipated
deployment of its 275 engineers in late April is overly optimistic.
This suggests that the construction of camps by the Egyptian
engineering company for other UNAMID forces will be delayed. As a
result, UNAMID will be hard-pressed to reach its stated goal of
achieving fifty percent deployment by July 1, 2008.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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