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Cablegate: Unamid Official Says Gos Neither Helping nor Harming

VZCZCXRO5007
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0069/01 0171422
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171422Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9723
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000069

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF/SPG, SE RICHARD WILLIAMSON, S/CRS, NSC
FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON, D (GDELGADO)
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU

SUBJECT: UNAMID OFFICIAL SAYS GOS NEITHER HELPING NOR HARMING
DEPLOYMENT

REFTEL: KHARTOUM 41

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In a January 15 conversation with FieldOff, United
Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Chief of Integrated
Support Services (CISS) did not paint a picture of outright
Government of Sudan (GoS) obstructionism to UNAMID deployment.
Instead, the CISS reported that the GoS was neither helping nor
hindering UNAMID's progress. Recent conversations in Khartoum with
government officials also reflect this mixed assessment (see
comment). The CISS was not optimistic that the Chinese and
Bangladeshi units of the Heavy Support Package would deploy by
January 20 as predicted, although the Fragmentation Order for their
deployment is expected within the next 24 hours. Blame for slow
deployment seems equally divided between the GOS and UNAMID elements
themselves. END SUMMARY.

SOFA
----
2. (SBU) The CISS reported no real movement on the UNAMID Status of
Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the GoS. He did note, however, that
the GoS refused to renew visas for some UN staff during the past
week. The GoS allegedly argued that these staff, working for UNMIS
on behalf of UNAMID, should have submitted their renewal requests on
UNAMID vice UNMIS letterhead.

NIGHT FLIGHTS
-------------
3. (SBU) While the CISS confirmed that the GoS was nominally
allowing UNAMID to fly at night, particularly in the case of medical
evacuations, the GoS is requiring a signed paper indemnifying
against liabilities in the case of flying without lights. The CISS
said UNAMID would engage the Sudanese Civil Aviation Association on
this issue, which he predicted would be resolved by a UNAMID-funded
upgrade of the lighting systems at Darfur airports.

LAND ISSUES
-----------
4. (SBU) The CISS reported no real movement on the issue of UNAMID
land procurement from the GoS in Darfur. He was optimistic, as he
has expressed in the past, that an agreement on West Darfur land
would be reached and that it would not become a matter of money. He
noted that flights were re-starting east to west between El Geneina,
Kulbus and Tine after having been halted due to West Darfur
insecurity caused by rebel groups, and bombing by both Chadian and
Sudanese aircraft, a resumption that could facilitate finalization
of the land question in El Geneina.

HSP UPDATE
----------
5. (SBU) The CISS was not optimistic that the Chinese and
Bangladeshi units of the HSP, bolstered by a Nigerian battalion,
would deploy to the "Green Field" to begin construction of the super
camp by January 20. This view contradicts a statement by the UNAMID
Chief of Staff (COS) in the January 16 UNAMID Morning Brief that the
Fragmentation Order for this deployment would be issued within the
next 24 hours. The CISS noted that the Chinese had engineered a new
set of conditions to delay deployment. The latest, according to the
CISS, is that the Chinese cannot move their containers due to lack
of access roads. Correcting this problem will require UNAMID to
bring in commercial contractors. [NOTE: To be fair, the UNAMID COS
also identified this issue as a credible obstacle in the January 16
briefing. END NOTE]. The CISS predicted, however, that once PAE's
contract extension expires on January 23, the Chinese and
Bangladeshi units would be without food and would be forced to move
from the PAE camp where they have been accommodated since their
arrival.

6. (SBU) The CISS and the COS confirmed that an Egyptian infantry
battalion would be the next TCC arrival in Darfur. The CISS
stressed that it is incumbent upon UN Headquarters in New York to
ensure that the battalion arrives in country fully equipped, to
avoid another China-Bangladesh scenario.

7. (SBU) Comment: Recent conversations with government officials in
Khartoum also indicate a push-pull approach by the GoS regarding
UNAMID deployment. State Minister al-Samani al-Wasila, in
conversations with PDAS Linda Thomas-Greenfield (reftel), denied
that the government was obstructing the SOFA, saying that UNAMID had
yet to present new terms for the agreement. Regarding land,
al-Samani said that the GoS had offered several plots of land in El
Geneina to UNAMID, but all had been rejected. While the government -
whether through its typically slow bureaucracy or through
politically-inspired machinations - certainly puts obstacles in
UNAMID's path, the truth, as usual, probably lies somewhere in the
middle. UNAMID seems quite capable of "going slow" on its own

KHARTOUM 00000069 002 OF 002


without the Sudanese and the Khartoum regime is only grudgingly
moving towards facilitation of the deployment.

8. (SBU) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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