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Cablegate: Incoming Foreign Minister Deng Alor Wants to Improve

VZCZCXRO3320
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0006/01 0021609
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021609Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9648
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000006

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: INCOMING FOREIGN MINISTER DENG ALOR WANTS TO IMPROVE
SUDAN-US RELATIONS

REFERENCE: (A) 07 KHARTOUM 2053
(B) KHARTOUM 1

1. (SBU) Summary. CDA Powers met with newly sworn-in Foreign
Minister Deng Alor on January 2 who said that he wanted to improve
Sudanese-U.S. relations. Deng offered GoS assurances to work
together in the investigation of the killing of the U.S. diplomat
and his Sudanese driver. Also with the aim towards improving
Sudanese-U.S. relations, Deng said he would facilitate visas for
U.S. staff and for congressional delegations and wanted to avoid any
negative consequences stemming from the recently signed divestment
law. Separately, CDA Powers met with State Foreign Minister Al
Sammani Al Wasila who repeated that the GoS wanted to cooperate in
the investigation and that he wanted to ensure the killings do not
put Sudanese-U.S. relations in a negative light. End summary.

2. (SBU) On January 2, CDA Powers and poloff (notetaker) met with
newly sworn-in Foreign Minister Deng Alor, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs American Affairs Desk Officer
Ambassador Abdel Basit Badawi Al Sanousi, and Counselor Muawia
Eltoum Elamin. Deng, who had only been sworn in as Foreign Minister
on December 27 (ref A), said that he was just becoming acquainted
with the portfolios but wanted to highlight a few issues and get
into the details at a later point in time. FM Deng Alor requested
the meeting on December 31. His Office Director stated that the FM
wanted to ensure that his first meeting with the diplomatic corps be
with a U.S. Government representative in view of the USG's efforts
to promote CPA implementation and address the crisis in Darfur.

2. (SBU) Deng said that now that the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement (SPLM) has returned to the government, he wanted the
embassy to know that his ministry wants to improve Sudanese-U.S.
relations. He said that when he asked for the appointment with the
CDA shortly after his swearing-in, the divestment legislation had
not yet been passed. Now that it has been signed, Deng said he
wanted to work together to avoid its implications and noted that the
U.S. has always played a positive role in Sudan.

3. (SBU) Noting the January 1 killings of the Sudanese employee and
American diplomat (ref B), Deng offered his condolences to the
family of the two Embassy employees. He said that he had spoken
with President Bashir on the incident and that the GoS was willing
and ready to cooperate in its investigation of the killings. He
also noted that he communicated this to African Affairs Assistant
Secretary Frazer and said that he had told her that if the Embassy

SIPDIS
encountered problems to let the ministry know.

4. (SBU) CDA Powers thanked the Foreign Minister for his condolences
and said that the embassy would indeed need the Ministry's
cooperation and facilitation of visas for a number of teams that
would be coming to Khartoum to assist the embassy on security issues
and in providing counseling and other assistance to staff, both
American and Sudanese, as a result of the killings. For example,
Powers said that speedy approval of visas for the Regional Medical
Officer and several security officers will be needed. As far as
improving bilateral relations, CDA Powers noted that authorization
of visas to a U.S. congressional delegation led by Congressman Payne
at the end of the week would be a first opportunity to demonstrate
the Government's willingness to promote dialogue. He further stated
that a visit by the new Special Envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson
would another opportunity to pursue dialogue. In response to the
FM's declaration that the Sudanese Government was desirous of
sending a Parliamentary delegation to the US, Powers stressed that
the embassy would work with Washington to facilitate such a visit
once a list of visitors and other details are provided. Finally,
responding to Deng's concerns about the divestment law, Powers said
that the embassy took pains to ensure that the signing of the bill
by President Bush would not come as a surprise to the MFA, which was
why Powers had briefed the Acting Director of the America Desk the
day before. He further stated that the Administration had been
opposed to the legislation and did not support passage of the bill.


5. (SBU) Powers raised the issue of the New Embassy Compound (NEC)
construction and stated that we were disappointed that there had
been no progress on this issue due to continued failure to grant
customs clearances. Deng said that the GoS had a number of ideas on
the NEC, and would like to have another meeting to address this
issue in detail.

6. (SBU) As for the issue of the upcoming congressional delegation,
Deng responded positively saying that "we need to encourage visits."
Deng said that he will follow-up on the visas after getting the
files from the interim Foreign Minister, but said that visas should
not be a problem. As for the Sudanese Parliamentarian visit, he

KHARTOUM 00000006 002 OF 002


said that State Department assistance to ensure that the delegates
obtain appointments with Congressmen would be most helpful.
He said that the main issue is that the U.S. and Sudan needs to have
a dialogue, and he had said as much to Assistant Secretary Frazer.


7. (SBU) Separately, CDA Powers met with State Foreign Minister Al
Sammani Al Wasila, at his request, who commented on the shooting of
the U.S. diplomat and his Sudanese driver, saying that the shooting
was not in keeping with Sudanese culture which frowns on hurting
people and stresses mutual cooperation. He promised "we will find
out what happened and who did this and will spare no effort in this
investigation." Al Sammani said that the media was using the
killings to create a distorted and negative picture of Sudanese-U.S.
relations. "We want to refrain from giving a negative
interpretation on this incident." Al Sammani requested that his
condolences and those of his Government be conveyed to Washington
and to the family of the deceased USAID officer.

8. (SBU) Comment: In leaving the Foreign Ministry, CDA Powers found
himself before a lectern and well over 20 media representatives
eager for an interview. Powers stated that the meeting had
presented an opportunity for the USG to extend congratulations to
the Foreign Minister in his new function, and thanked GOS
authorities for their cooperation and efforts in investigating the
tragic deaths of two USG employees. Post takes to heart the
statements made by both Deng and Al Sammani that the GoS wants to
improve relations and work to avoid the potential negative
consequences of the Sudan Divestment Act, but time will show their
seriousness.

POWERS

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