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Cablegate: Un, Au Envoys Provide Update On Peace Process

VZCZCXRO8795
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0095/01 0231123
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231123Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9763
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000095

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF S/E WILLIAMSON, AND AF/SPG
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO UN AU SU CD
SUBJECT: UN, AU ENVOYS PROVIDE UPDATE ON PEACE PROCESS

REF: KHARTOUM 074

1. (SBU) Briefing the Khartoum diplomatic corps on January
18, UN Special Envoy for Darfur Jan Eliasson and AU Special
Envoy for Darfur Salim Ahmed Salim said that increased
tensions between Sudan and Chad posed the greatest risk to
the political process at present. They remarked that without
an end to the Chad-Sudan proxy war there can never be real
peace in Darfur. "This is a major concern," said Eliasson,
"and there must be a decrease in tensions to create an
environment for talks." He also posited a link between the
decline in Sudanese-Chadian relations and the Justice and
Equality Movement's (JEM) increasing military activity and
unwillingness to engage in the peace process. The Envoys
called on the international community to use its influence to
resolve the standoff. The French Ambassador stated that "my
authorities--at the highest level--are appealing to Sudan and
to Chad to exercise restraint, come back to dialogue, and
adhere to the Tripoli agreement."

----------------------------------------
Regional Meeting, Arusha II in Six Weeks
----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Eliasson and Salim suggested that the UN/AU will
hold a meeting of regional governments (Chad, Libya, Eritrea
and Sudan) in N'djamena within the next six weeks, followed
by an "Arusha II" type meeting to prepare Darfur's fractured
rebel movements for "substantive talks." They asserted that
the rebel movements had consolidated into five clear
groupings: the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) affiliated with
Abdulwahid al Nur; SLA/Unity led by Suleiman Jamous, Sharif
Harir, and Abdullah Yehia; JEM led by Khalil Ibrahim; the
United Revolutionary Front (URF) based around the
JEM/Collective Leadership; and the SLA affiliated with Ahmed
Abdulshafie. Salim said that the mediation "will not
tolerate" new groups beyond the "existing five." The two
envoys praised and embraced the efforts of the SPLM in
helping to unite some of the rebel factions (an initiative
that both envoys sniped at and tried to sabotage over the
past months). They noted that Abdulsafie is still very
skittish about negotiations.

------------------------
Opening from Abdulwahid?
------------------------

3. (SBU) During the envoys four-day trip--which included
stops in Darfur and Southern Sudan--SLA/Unity pledged to
attend an "Arusha II" gathering and both SLA/Unity and the
URF expressed "their absolute full support for the process,"
according to Eliasson. In addition, the envoys were
surprisingly optimistic about the potential for
SLA/Abdulwahid to participate in the political track,
characterizing a meeting with Abdulwahid commanders in Jebel
Marra as "the most impressive opening" of their visit. They
attributed some of the progress in the dialogue with
SLA/Abdulwahid to the decision to have UNAMID Force Commander
Martin Luther Agwai travel with their delegation in Darfur to
explain how the peacekeeping force plans to address
Abdulwahid's concerns about security in the region. (Note:
In press reports from January 19-21, Abdulwahid denied any
opening to the mediation, reiterating his demands that a UN
peacekeeping force must be fully deployed before negotiations
begin. End note.)

------------------------
Envoys' Action on UNAMID
------------------------

4. (SBU) Responding to a question from CDA Fernandez,
Eliasson said that, in meeting with Sudanese officials, he
had underscored the importance of an effective peacekeeping
force to monitor an eventual cessation of hostilities. He
had "warned the Government" of the danger of hand-picking
troop contributors by nationality, noting that the rebel
movements were making similar demands. The Envoys felt that
some of these issues could be resolved at a possible
Ban-Bashir meeting at the margins of the upcoming AU Summit.
While appealing to the international community to meet the
UN's request for helicopters, the envoys explained that the
peace process could not wait for full deployment of UNAMID.
"We must push forward on both tracks, even if one or the
other is slowed," said Eliasson.

-------------------------------
"Difficulties" on Civil Society
-------------------------------

KHARTOUM 00000095 002 OF 002

5. (SBU) The Envoys acknowledged that they were confronting
"difficulties" in finding a formula for civil society and
IDPs to be represented in the peace process but said they had
instructed UNAMID civil affairs to begin outreach to these
groups. Cautioning that a focus on Arab tribes risked
"exaggerating or exacerbating the ethnic divide," they
nonetheless claimed that they had had "intensive contacts"
with Arab leaders. Salim said that it was the "serious
responsibility" of the Sudanese Government and the rebel
movements to include Arab voices in the process. They
suggested that IDPs could be more easily incorporated once
Abdulwahid is on board with the upcoming talks.

-------
Comment
-------

6. (SBU) This briefing by the two Special Envoys seemed a bit
too rosy and surreal for us. There appears to be no defined
division of labor among UNAMID civil affairs, the Joint
Mediation Support Team (JMST) that supports Eliasson and
Salim, or the Darfur Darfur Dialogue and Consultation (DDDC)
to execute an effective strategy for civil society outreach
in support of the peace process nor any indication that these
three bodies have made progress on this issue in preparation
for negotiations. There also seems to be too wide of a
disconnect still between UNAMID implementation and the peace
talks. A clear strategy will be critical to moving the
process forward, as will establishing dates for the next
steps in the process--with plenty of advance notice--so that
the international community may begin pressing the parties to
attend. End comment.
FERNANDEZ

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