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Cablegate: Humanitarian Affairs Minister Requests Transition From

VZCZCXYZ0014
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0091 0230434
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230434Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9759
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000091

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (TEXT)


DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF/SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO PHUM AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS MINISTER REQUESTS TRANSITION FROM
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO DEVELOPMENT AID

1. (SBU) CDA Fernandez paid a courtesy call January 21 on the
newly-appointed Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Haroun Ron.
Minister Ron is a respected and loyal member of the SPLM who assumed
this post when the SPLM allowed its ministers back into the
government earlier this month.

2. (SBU) With hardline NCP-member and Commissioner General for
Humanitarian Aid Hassabo Abdel Rahman in attendance as a regime
minder, Minister Ron made a special point of thanking CDA Fernandez
for U.S. treatment of Sudan over the years, highlighting in
particular the "decades of support from USAID." In reference to the
CPA, Minister Ron commented that "the key is to make sure these guys
(the NCP) not only sign the paper but also ensure that the agreement
works." The Minister pointed out that the regime's job now is to
make unity attractive.
3. (SBU) The Minister and Hassabo both requested that more USAID
funding go toward development activities. Hassabo said that what
Sudan needs now is "early recovery" and "recovery" activities. He
noted that currently only 30 percent of donor money goes toward
early recovery and 19 percent goes toward recovery, while 51 percent
goes toward humanitarian assistance. CDA replied that over a
million people are now dependent on food aid, so we cannot abandon
them. However, he noted that USAID is now evaluating all of its
programs and reported that there is a growing emphasis on the
transition from humanitarian assistance to development. This is
something the Ministry should further discuss with USAID.

4. (SBU) CDA highlighted the recent Development Alternatives,
Incorporated (DAI) incident in El Fasher and said that our people
had felt threatened and mistreated by GOS officials and that should
not be the case, even if the law currently allows for equipment to
be taken by the government when a project ends. Without making any
apology, Hassabo noted that "often there are suspicions in war
areas." He said this incident underlines the need to establish
technical agreements before initiating programs to define clearly at
the outset what will happen to equipment at the end of a project.

5. (SBU) CDA noted that the GOS often does the right thing
eventually, but does not get credit for it because of the way it
does it - giving the impression that it is being forced to do it -
and doesn't like it. "You are misers in your cooperation," he noted
"and nobody likes that." In this regard, CDA urged that the
moratorium on restrictions for humanitarian access be extended
immediately and not at the eleventh hour on January 31, which would
make it appear once again as if the GOS is not cooperative.
Minister Ron promised that a memo will be provided to President
Al-Bashir this week seeking approval for the extension. Hassabo
also promised that the moratorium will be extended. CDA again urged
that this not happen at midnight on January 31.

6. (SBU) Comment: Minister Ron, like his SPLM colleagues in other
ministries, finds himself in an incredibly difficult position -
attempting to exert control over regime hardliners like Hassabo and
State Minister of Humanitarian Affairs (and indicted ICC war
criminal) Ahmed Haroun. Although he will not be able to control
them, his presence should provide some small openings to advance our
aims with the GOS in regard to humanitarian assistance. We expect
that President Al-Bashir will extend the moratorium on restrictions
to humanitarian access, but only at the last minute or possibly
after the deadline has passed, with the ill grace so typical of the
Khartoum regime.

FERNANDEZ

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