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Cablegate: Mfa Warns Cda of Possible Harsh Countermeasures On Embassy

VZCZCXRO2092
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0118/01 0271116
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271116Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9796
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000118

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SE WILLIAMSON, DG THOMAS, AF/PDAS THOMAS-GREENFIELD,
AF/SPG, S/CRS
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: MFA WARNS CDA OF POSSIBLE HARSH COUNTERMEASURES ON EMBASSY
DUE TO AMERICAN PROVOCATIONS

REF: A) KHARTOUM 42
B) KHARTOUM 74

1. (SBU) A grim-faced Americas Department Office Director Abdel
Basit Sanusi called CDA Fernandez in on January 26 to warn of the
possibility of a series of Sudanese counter-measures against the US
Embassy (and the CDA) in response to what the Sudanese see as a
series of recent provocations by the U.S.

2. (SBU) Sanusi began by noting that CDA had often spoken of
American frustration with Sudan. "Well now the frustration by the
Sudanese Government with the U.S. is growing and nearing the
breaking point," he said. In the Foreign Ministry, this included not
only the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ali Karti and the
influential Under-Secretary Mutriff Siddiq, but was widely held
throughout the government "even by some who were defending
engagement with the US before." He cited US criticism of the Musa
Hilal appointment, President Bush's signing of the Sudan Divestment
Act on January 1, US leadership in condemning Sudan at the UNSC for
a mistaken attack on a UNAMID convoy, and continued harassment of
Sudanese diplomatic missions in New York and Washington as the main,
most immediate reasons for the rapid increase in the frustration
level.

3. (SBU) He added that Sudan was considering a series of steps that
included (but was not limited to) the following, although he
cautioned that no decision had yet been made: imposing an accountant
to monitor US Embassy bank accounts in Sudan and charging a special
surcharge for those accounts (in response to the $3,000 a month
surcharge the Sudanese Embassy in Washington has to pay),
instituting fingerprint procedures for all Americans wishing a visa
to Sudan, forcing Americans to get their Sudanese visa in person in
some third country, severely reducing US Embassy access to senior
GOS officials (he cited the procedures used by the Syrians with the
US Embassy in Damascus), expelling the Charge, and closing their
Embassy in Washington and our Embassy here.

4. (SBU) He said that "on top of everything else" the Sudanese
Mission to the UN had been informed by their American insurance
company that their insurance premiums (including on the Ambassador's
car) have been cancelled because of sanctions.

5. (SBU) Sanusi also complained about the Charge's January 24
interview with Reuters (widely reprinted by the Sudanese Arabic
language press on January 25). He said CDA's comments on U.S.
frustration with lack of implementation by Sudan of international
and national agreements (like UNAMID) and on the Abyei issue
"constituted interference in the internal affairs of Sudan." MFA
subsequently issued these complaints publicly on January 26.

6. (SBU) Sanusi also echoed other officials by sharply criticizing
the new US Special Envoy to Sudan, Richard Williamson. First of all,
he said "we think that this process of American special envoys has
run its course and we are opposed to it in principle" and then "we
reject the extreme positions he has taken in writing on Sudan". CDA
noted that in the case of the new Special Envoy, Sudan should have
an open mind and the important things are policies not people and
the USG as a whole has very real concerns in Sudan.

7. (SBU) Charge responded that he will report this information to
Washington. On his own interview, he noted that UNAMID deployment
and Abyei are issues of deep concern to the U.S. and these concerns
were American policy. He noted that the complaint about mentioning
Abyei was very odd since the SPLM - part of the Sudanese Government
- had repeatedly asked for greater American attention on Abyei
(since the US was the author of the Abyei Protocol) and indeed one
of the officials who had asked the CDA to do so was Deng Alor,
formerly Minister of Cabinet Affairs and now Foreign Minister. He
also noted that this long series of complaints and proposed
countermeasures squared strangely with the Foreign Minister's
professed interest in improved relations with the U.S. (reftel a).


8. (SBU) CDA also noted to Sanusi that all the statements that
supposedly bother the Sudanese (slowness of UNAMID deployment, need
to implement Abyei, and general distrust of Khartoum's "lack of good
faith") are not only U.S. policy, but Charge has made those
statements many times in Sudan, in Arabic and in English, even in
the regime-controlled media. Sanusi admitted that but added that
when an overall relationship with a country deteriorates, even
things that were acceptable before are examined in a harsher light.

9. (SBU) In addition to reftel b, Several Sudanese businessmen with
regime ties have recently warned the Embassy that the Sudanese

KHARTOUM 00000118 002 OF 002


leadership now feels that the Bush Administration is all but done
and is unable to either help or hurt Sudan more than they are
already doing, so there is little to fear from the U.S. or to expect
from it in the form of concessions. For some the Divestment Bill was
a perfect example of something that the Administration opposed (at
least in rhetoric) but happened anyway. One noted that regime
leaders are saying that "even if the Democrats get in next year,
their bark is worse than their bite" and Sudan can weather the storm
because of American military, political and economic overstretch
worldwide. The calculation is that Sudan has enough international
allies and has now done just enough in complying on Darfur, on CPA,
and on its internal political situation to solidify its position
internationally and regionally.

10. (SBU) Comment: The Sudanese regime often makes threats it
doesn't follow through on (or at least, not on all of them) and some
of these measures, such as downgrading relations and making visas
harder to get, have been discussed before in the past few years.
What is more surprising is how this proposed harder line by the
Khartoum regime squares with recent public statements - by both the
new Foreign Minister and Presidential Advisor Ismail - that they
want improved relations with the U.S. It is, however, standard
operating procedure for the Khartoum regime to "create a crisis" and
then use negotiation on the crisis they themselves created to
extract concessions.

FERNANDEZ

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