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Cablegate: Dpko Guehenno's Visit to Khartoum and Addis Ababa

VZCZCXRO4836
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0138/01 0301136
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301136Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9824
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000138

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, S/E WILLIAMSON AND AF/SPG
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO AU UN SU
SUBJECT: DPKO GUEHENNO's VISIT TO KHARTOUM AND ADDIS ABABA

REFTEL: KHARTOUM 111

1. (SBU) Summary: The GOS successfully avoided senior-level meetings
with DPKO U/S Guehenno during his visit to Sudan and continues to
drag its feet on finalizing a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and
other UNAMID-related issues. The AU Summit in Addis Ababa provides
a good opportunity to pressure the GOS into finalizing the SOFA.
The GOS sent a note verbale to UNAMID indicating that UNAMID Chief
of Staff Davidson-Houston should leave the country immediately. End
summary.

-----------------------------------------
Government Rejects Meetings with Guehenno
-----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The Government of Sudan (GoS) rebuffed UN requests for
senior-level meetings with visiting Undersecretary General for
Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno during his recent trip
to Sudan, two UN sources in Khartoum told Poloff on January 29.
Khartoum granted Guehenno only one official meeting--with MFA State
Minister Samani Al Wasila (who is not a regime insider). As a
result, the only discussions on UNAMID deployment occurred during
the preparatory discussions for the AU Summit in Addis Ababa,
attended by Guehenno, Joint Special Representative (JSR) Rudolphe
Adada, and the Sudanese Government's coordinator for UNAMID
deployment, MFA Undersecretary Mutriff Siddiq.

------------------------------------------
NOT MUCH DARFUR ACTION AT AU SUMMIT SO FAR
------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) AU Summit preparatory discussions are reportedly stalled
over issues related to the UNAMID Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA),
troop-contributing countries, and Chief of Staff status. The Deputy
UNAMID Force Commander told FieldOff on January 28 that the GoS "is
not moving" on the SOFA and that this foot-dragging has drawn
attention away from issues of equal priority that the FC had wanted
to see addressed, including the status of the Joint Commission.
"It's a bit unfortunate," lamented the Deputy FC, "that the Joint
Commission just is not a priority." JSR Adada's Special Assistant,
who accompanied Adada to Addis Ababa, confirmed in a conversation
with Poloff in Khartoum on January 29 that GOS representative Siddiq
had demurred in even discussing the SOFA or any other substantive
issues affecting UNAMID deployment. She said that the Government
continues to insist that night flights are not feasible, despite
UNAMID's readiness to utilize emergency lights on the runways--which
UNAMID now has in country--as an interim solution.

4. (SBU) On the potential expulsion of the UNAMID Chief of Staff,
the Deputy FC told Fieldoff that the JSR received a letter from the
MFA threatening to declare persona non grata British Brigadier
General Patrick Davidson-Houston. The JSR reportedly wrote back to
the MFA demanding an explanation for this decision and highlighting
the fact that Davidson-Houston is in a staff officer position.
According to the UK Embassy, the GoS responded with a note verbale
on January 25 stating Davidson-Houston should depart Sudan
"immediately." UNAMID has told us they plan to wait for a more
explicit request from Sudan, specifying a date for
Davidson-Houston's departure.

----------------------------------------
UNAMID ASKS JANE HOLL LUTE FOR MORE TIME
----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) The Deputy FC described recent visits to Darfur by senior
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) officials as
"useful" insofar as they forced the visitors to appreciate "what we
don't have in terms of logistics, communications and equipment."
The Deputy FC, who accompanied DPKO Assistant-Secretary-General Jane
Holl Lute on her itinerary, noted that both Holl Lute and
Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guehenno were receptive to
UNAMID's requests, often tasking their staffs in Darfur and in New
York as soon as UNAMID officials described a problem that needed
immediate attention. The Deputy FC expected that this level of
concern would translate into more DPKO pressure on the GoS to
confront issues still plaguing the mission, especially freedom of
movement of its personnel and equipment. JSR Adada's Special
Assistant anticipated that such pressure may encourage President
Bashir to accept the SOFA during the upcoming AU Summit in order to
avoid international embarrassment.

6. (SBU) In this regard, the Deputy FC recounted an awkward exchange
between A/SYG Holl Lute and the Wali (governor) of South Darfur
after the A/SYG was made to wait an hour to see him in his Nyala
office. Alluding to the January 7 GoS attack on a UNAMID supply
convoy, the Wali reprimanded UNAMID for not having done a better job
of coordinating with the GoS on dispatching its convoys. The Wali
tried to make a joke about UNAMID's mistaking speed for time: that

KHARTOUM 00000138 002 OF 002


the GoS had been trying to enforce a speed limit on UNAMID rather
than to restrict its movement through the area. A/SYG Holl Lute was
reportedly not amused and stood firm on the need for the GoS to
guarantee UNAMID's freedom of movement throughout Darfur.

7. (SBU) In briefing A/SYG Holl Lute on UNAMID challenges and
problems (reported in reftel) the Deputy FC admitted that UNAMID
officials had told her the peacekeeping operation was not ready to
receive the Egyptian and Ethiopian battalions being pushed to deploy
as part of the Early Effects Package. The Deputy FC cited political
and logistical concerns as reasons: local populations mistrusted
both the Ethiopians and the Egyptians, as they are seen as being too
friendly with the GoS; and there is simply no place to house or no
way to feed those numbers of troops at this time. The Deputy FC
further speculated that Eritrea would used the presence of Ethiopian
troops in Sudan as a pretext for its own sort of military
intervention through its ties to Darfur's rebel movements. Despite
these reservations, UNAMID reported in its January 29 morning brief
in El Fasher that the Egyptian battalions will arrive by April and
that DPKO plans to airlift the entire contingent at a cost of
approximately 7.5 million dollars, according to DPKO estimates.

8. (SBU) Comment: The AU summit provides a good opportunity to
pressure the GOS into finalizing the SOFA agreement. The fact that
the GOS refused to schedule meetings with DPKO U/S Guehenno reflects
badly on the GOS and shows how obstructive the regime intends to be
with regard to UNAMID deployment. As post has reportedly repeatedly,
the GOS actually seems to be escalating its obstruction of UNAMID
over last year's actions, with the case of the UNAMID COS as a major
case in point. End comment.

FERNANDEZ

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