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Cablegate: Un Joint Mediation Support Team Still Groping to Find a Way

VZCZCXRO2947
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0192/01 0381017
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071017Z FEB 08 ZDK CTG RUEHNM 0209 0381518
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9909
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000192

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 UN US SU
SUBJECT: UN JOINT MEDIATION SUPPORT TEAM STILL GROPING TO FIND A WAY
FORWARD WITH DARFUR PEACE PROCESS

REF: (A) KHARTOUM 112

(B) KHARTOUM 95

KHARTOUM 00000192 001.2 OF 002


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SUMMARY
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1. (SBU) UN JMST member Hideo Ikebe opined that neither Darfur's
rebel groups nor the GoS are willing to seriously engage in a peace
process, and organizational and leadership deficiencies within the
UN's structures in Sudan continue to hamper its effectiveness.
Without a long-term, clearly-articulated approach to the political
track and greater engagement with civil society, Darfur peace
process efforts will continue to sputter.

-----------------------------------
CONDITIONS NOT RIPE FOR PEACE TALKS
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) TDY Poloff met February 4 with UN Joint Mediation Support
Team (JMST) member Hideo Ikebe to discuss the status of the Darfur
peace process and JMST activities. Ikebe assessed that the timing
is simply not ripe to engage in a serious political process in
Darfur. Neither the various rebel factions nor the GoS demonstrate
genuine political will to negotiate or compromise. Under these
conditions, he held, some members of the JMST believe it a waste of
time and resources to try to push parties to the table -
particularly if not all the "right" rebel representatives (military
and political) are present.

3. (SBU) Ikebe contended that the JMST and international community
could help foster more suitable conditions for a viable political
process by adopting a longer-term approach. He said the tactic of
setting artificial deadlines has proven ineffective. Instead the
JMST should focus on strengthening civil society (including Arab
tribes) and enhancing the links between these groups and the rebels
as a means of making the rebels more "accountable" to Darfurians.
(Note: Though such a logical step would be seen very suspiciously by
the paranoid regime in Khartoum. End note.)

4. (SBU) The JMST member also suggested that the international
community should concentrate on cultivating second-tier leadership
in many of the rebel movements, pointing out that most of them still
lack capacity, which will work against them in any eventual
negotiating process. Developing second-tier leadership could have
the secondary benefit of expediting the transition of armed groups
to political entities.

5. (SBU) Ikebe was unaware of any upcoming benchmarks in the
political process (workshops, conferences, etc.) and explained that
the Special Envoys would continue to remain in touch with the
various rebel groups and encourage them, where possible, to
consolidate their political agendas. (Note: Other recent informal
meetings with the JMST indicate that the Special Envoys are leaning
toward a shuttle diplomacy approach to the process, possibly
focusing on the elements of a comprehensive ceasefire, while
avoiding mediation meetings set on arbitrary dates in which the main
rebel groups will not participate. The JMST does not believe that
further rebel unification at this point is possible, and is focusing
the five major rebel groups - JEM, URF, SLA/U, Shafie,
SLM-Abdelwahid. End note.)

--------------------------------------------
UN ORGANIZATIONAL AND LEADERSHIP DYSFUNCTION
--------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Ikebe described ongoing frictions between the JMST,
Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation (DDDC) and UNAMID Civil
Affairs. He observed that all three entities have a mandate to
engage civil society, causing significant overlap and - without good
coordination mechanisms in place - bureaucratic friction.

7. (SBU) Poloff and Ikebe lamented that many of the internal
coordination problems within the Hybrid structure stemmed from
abysmal leadership, particularly on the part of Joint Special
Representative (JSR) Adada, "who doesn't do anything," he observed.
Ikebe was subtly critical too of both UN/AU Special Envoys Jan
Eliasson and Salim Salim, remarking that their part-time presence
and uncertainty about the length of their tenure further undermine
the UN's ability to effectively manage a political process. Without
competent management at senior levels, many of the structural
challenges and underlying bureaucratic tensions will be impossible
to overcome, Ikebe opined.

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COMMENT
-------

KHARTOUM 00000192 002 OF 002

8. (SBU) Ikebe's comments re-confirm many of the obstacles to the
efficient functioning of UNAMID and the Darfur peace process that
Post has highlighted in the past. The full deployment of UNAMID,
while necessary to stabilizing the region, may not succeed in
fundamentally improving the situation in Darfur unless UNAMID
leadership is strengthened. JSR Adada desperately needs a stronger
political team to advise him. Additionally, there is a clear need
for UN headquarters to accelerate recruitment of civil and political
affairs personnel. In Khartoum, Washington, New York, and Addis, we
should collectively continue to urge the mediation team - which has
recently indicated a greater willingness to entertain input - to
outline a clear strategy that leads to a political settlement of the
conflict. Shuttle diplomacy is fine in the short term, but a chief
mediator supported by a capable team needs to be in Darfur fulltime
to achieve any progress.

FERNANDEZ

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