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Cablegate: Amis Transfers Authority to Unamid

VZCZCXRO2893
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0002/01 0020716
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020716Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9644
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000002

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: AMIS TRANSFERS AUTHORITY TO UNAMID

1. (U) Under clear blue sunny skies with drums beating and bugles
blowing, Joint Special Representative (JSR) Rodolphe Adada presided
over the transfer of authority from AMIS to UNAMID at 1200 on
December 31, 2007, at UNAMID Headquarters in El Fasher, North
Darfur. The Wali (Governor) of North Darfur, Osman Mohamed Yousif
Kibir, represented the Government of Sudan. Other dignitaries
included UNMIS Special Representative of the Secretary General
(SRSG) Ambassador Ashraf Qazi; Ambassador Mahmoud Kane, on behalf of
the AU Chair; and GEN Martin Luther Agwai, AMIS/UNAMID Force
Commander. The two-hour ceremony was well attended and included
representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces, UN and AMIS staff, NGO
representatives and the press. There did not appear to be any rebel
representatives (neither signatories nor non-signatories of the DPA
and/or the humanitarian ceasefire agreement).

2. (U) A stand-alone AU flag was lowered for the last time, and JSR
Adada, Ambassador Kane and GEN Agwai signed the transfer of
authority certificate. The UN and AU flags were then raised
simultaneously. In his remarks, UNMIS SRSG Qazi recognized the
support UNMIS had provided to the nascent UNAMID operation over the
past several months. He noted UNAMID would soon be the largest UN
mission in the world and called on all parties to shun violence and
participate in the peace process. "A comprehensive peace can only
be achieved when all parts of this beautiful country have achieved
peace and harmony," Qazi declared.

3. (U) Noting that the AU force had worked under extremely difficult
conditions, the Wali pledged the GoS' full cooperation with UNAMID,
including at the local level, and renewed Sudan's commitment to
implement UNSCR 1769. "The Government is committed to all the
agreements and understandings it has reached with the UN and the AU
and will provide all the necessary support for the success of the
hybrid operation." He also called upon UNAMID to cooperate with
local authorities as well.

4. (U) JSR Adada began his comments with a moment of silence for
AMIS personnel who had died bringing peace to Darfur. He paid
tribute the sacrifices of the men and women of AMIS and their
contributions toward peace to Darfur, noting that UNAMID would build
on the foundation left by AMIS. Adada called on all Darfuris to
cooperate with UNAMID, which would have a more robust mandate and be
more "technically capable." He urged the various parties to observe
the ceasefire, to respect UNAMID's right of freedom of movement, and
to participate in peace negotiations.

5. (U) JSR Adada then read a joint statement from UN Secretary
General Ban Ki Moon and AU Chair Professor Alpha Oumar Konare. In
their statement Moon and Konare acknowledged the unprecedented
nature of the UNAMID hybrid operation, saying it required "a great
deal of dedication and the full support of the entire international
community." They called upon troop and police contributing
countries to "speed up the required pre-deployment preparations and
arrive in the theatre of operations as soon as possible." They
noted "critical gaps" in ground transportation units and aviation
assets "essential to the mobility of the force and its ability to
adequately protect the civilian population of the vast area of
Darfur." They also noted that UNAMID would need the active
cooperation of the Government of Sudan. They urged all parties to
cease military action and come to the negotiating table to settle
their differences. Finally, they recognized the service of the
"valiant men and women of AMIS who have given their all in the
service of peace -- some making the ultimate sacrifice."

6. (U) After the Wali left, GEN Agwai exchanged his green African
Union beret for a blue UN one and the soldiers on the field did the
same - with practiced precision and more than a little military
parade-style flair.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: While the TOA ceremony went off without major
problems, the wrangling that preceded it was symbolic of the
difficulties UNAMID will face. First, the GoS wanted a large,
public ceremony with high-level delegations from New York, Addis
Ababa and Khartoum. Then, it changed its mind and wanted only a
local, low-key event. At the last moment, it tried to hijack JSR
Adada, saying he was needed in Khartoum in order to attend Sudanese
National Day festivities the same day as TOA in El Fasher.
Twenty-four hours before the TOA, there was still no agreement on
whether UNAMID soldiers would wear the UN blue beret. The apparent
compromise is that they will wear the blue beret but must wear an AU
sleeve badge as well - and the beret changing at TOA occurred only
after the Wali had left.

8. (SBU) COMMENT CONT: The AU has also left behind significant
operational problems for UNAMID. Although it is reported that there
are sufficient AU funds to pay outstanding AMIS bills (such as MSA
for soldiers, police monitors, CFC party reps and military
observers) payment of these critically sensitive items has not yet
occurred.

KHARTOUM 00000002 002 OF 002

8. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

POWERS

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