Cablegate: Unamid: "Ball Is in Our Court"

DE RUEHKH #0251/01 0521016
P 211016Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: Fifty days after transition, UNAMID top officials
briefed the diplomatic community on progress and challenges. UN/AU
Special Representative Adada noted that a political solution is
needed to resolve the Darfur situation and, while UNAMID is not a
panacea, the changing political landscape made UNAMID more important
than ever. Force Commander Agwai said that while AMIS' African
soldiers arrived with only a rifle and a uniform, the same African
soldiers will now be expected to be self-sustaining force capable of
conducting long range patrols. Police Commissioner Fryer said that
police are improving security in the IDP camps but more needs to be
done, including recruiting additional police for the FPUs.
Operations Chief Medili said that challenges remain in recruiting
civilian staff and providing infrastructure. Humanitarian
Coordinator Bajulaiye appealed to the international community to
urge the GOS to permit the UN protective access, particularly to the
IDPs. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Top UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) officials
on February 20 updated the diplomatic community in Khartoum about
its progress fifty days after the African Union Mission in Sudan
(AMIS) transition of authority to UNAMID. UN/AU Special
Representative Rudolphe Adada told ambassadors that with the
transition from an AU mission to a UN lead mission, it is the
international community that is in charge of the situation in
Darfur. Adada said that as a UN mission, UNAMID has successfully
completed negotiations on a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) (ref
B), which but has not yet reached agreement on the Non-African
forces that would comprise the Troop Contributing Countries (TCC).
He added that the Non-African forces not accepted yet by Khartoum
(Thai and Nepalese units) comprise only 1,000 out of the projected
26,000 UNAMID military and police.


3. (SBU) Adada cautioned the diplomats that UNAMID is not a panacea
as the real solution to the problems of Darfur is a political one.
Adada said that the current Chad and Sudan conflict has exacerbated
the already difficult political situation. He said that both Chad
and Sudan, notably Darfur, have a long-standing history of
interference and conflict in each other's territory and that while
Chad sees itself as a regional actor, it is Darfur that has
historically played a role in Chad instability. He recalled that
FROLINAT, the Chadian rebel group that produced former Chadian
President Hissene Habre was founded in Nyala, Darfur in 1966. Blood
ties between the Chadian regime and some Darfur rebels (both of them
Zaghawa) were stronger than political ties. He noted the possibility
that the powerful Darfur rebel group of SLA/Unity could split
between those Darfur rebels who support Deby and those who are
purely Darfur-focused. Given this confusion in rebel ranks and
cross-border, decades-long history of mutual interference, he
reasoned that UNAMID is more important than ever.

--------------------------------------------- --------

4. (SBU) Force Commander Lt. General Martin L. Agwai said that
UNAMID successes to date include the deployment of the newly
instituted Bangladeshi Formed Police Unit (FPU) which has
spearheaded increased patrols in the Internally Displace Persons
(IDP) camps, particularly at the turbulent Kalma IDP camp, one of
the largest in Darfur. He noted that while AMIS has successfully
transitioned into UNAMID, the UNAMID troops are still largely the
same AMIS troops who arrived with only their rifles and their

5. (SBU) UNAMID briefer Col. Murdo Urquhart said that in planning
for transition AMIS intended to transition from being a light 7,000
troop force which did not have the capability to provide its own
communication, aviation support, and operational support to a more
robust 26,000 troop force capable of sustaining itself in the field,
with its own UN-supplied integrated support services, communications
and aviation. Urquhart said that UNAMID currently has 7,485 troops
of which the largest contingents are African, e.g. Nigerian (2,906)
and Rwandan (2,588). Non-Africans, with 192 troops, compose only 2.5
percent of the force, with the largest being the Chinese engineering
contingent currently with 143 troops.

6. (SBU) Urquhart said that UNAMID's future challenges include

KHARTOUM 00000251 002 OF 004

upgrading the existing 600-troop battalions to UN standard 800-troop
battalions and to develop the capability for UNAMID troops to
sustain itself in the field by providing their own integrated
transport, food, and to maintain their own generators and water
supplies. Urquhart acknowledged that UNAMID is still in the
transitional phase and there are difficulties such the problem of
transitioning from AMIS communications to the UN standard
communications system. Nonetheless, UNAMID has conducted more
patrols, convoys now move their own fuel and supplies, and most
notably UNAMID conducted verification patrols into the Northern
Corridor, the road north the El-Geneina to Sirba and Abu Suraj
immediately after recent fighting. He summed up UNAMID's attitude
"to do the little you can with the little you have and you push
forward". He added that the phase one transition has succeeded in
integrating the force, setting up the HQ and transitioning from 8 to
3 sectors. The two additional battalions added in October had been a
success. Failures had been the slowness of the Heavy Support Package
and Hybrid units that should have deployed by December 31st, 2007.


7. (U) Police Commissioner Michael Fryer said that UNAMID's police
presence has been established and is improving. He said that of the
19 planned Formed Police Units (FPU), nations have committed to
provide 12, and that one FPU has been already deployed (the
Bangladeshis). Seven units have yet to be identified. Fryer said
that of the 3,772 planned individual police officers, there are
1,380 AMIS police officers waiting to be transitioned into UNAMID
and that there are 225 UNAMID police officers. All 1,605 officers
are deployed.

8. (U) Fryer said that the Bangladeshi FPU is still constructing its
camp and has only been partially deployed but is having a very
positive effect on the ground. He noted that its equipment arrived
in Darfur only two months after the Bangladeshi's arrival in the
country. He said that TCCs have pledged 12 FPUs with the last
pledged contingent (Pakistani) expected to arrive in July 2008. He
noted that UNAMID police are currently 95 percent African.

9. (U) UNAMID police achievements include FPU patrols into the Kalma
IDP camp from 8 AM to 6 PM and improved relations between the IDPs,
the Government of Sudan, and the various militia movements. Fryer
said that UNAMID's long-term plans include providing 24/7 FPU
presence in the IDP camps, establishing basic police procedures
among the Sudanese police, constructing community police stations
near camps to provide a safe zone for IDPs, and introducing
community policing concepts. UNAMID will also try to establish
police for rebel movements that have signed the DPA (SLM-Minawi and
others) but these movements really don't have formal police, at
least not yet.

10. (U) Future challenges for UNAMID policing include recruiting
additional seven 140-troop FPU squads and generating an additional
1,167 individual police officers to bring them up to the mandated
3,772 police officers. In addition, UNAMID needs to transport,
house and provide offices for the 11 FPUs that are expected to
arrive within the next three months. Fryer noted the deep IDP
mistrust of Sudanese police as a significant challenge he hoped to
overcome. This is especially true at Abu Shook and Kalma camps.


11. (SBU) UN/AU Deputy Special Representative for Operations Hocine
Medili said that UNAMID has undertaken a number of extraordinary
steps to facilitate a quick start including transferring UN staff
from other locations and expedited procurements such as the
unprecedented letting of a no-bid contract for PAE. However, he
cautioned that such extraordinary measures raised issues of
accountability within the UN system, so some of the special measures
will end on March 31.

12. (SBU) Medili said that UNAMID has 15 helicopters and one
fixed-wing in Darfur and has an additional 13 civilian MI-8
helicopters being prepared in Khartoum. He said that the UN, the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are working on
improving air fields that would permit positioning additional
aircraft in Darfur.

13. (SBU) Challenges include adjusting to overly optimistic
budgetary assumptions that 70 percent of UNAMID employees could live
off the economy, outside of camps. He noted that living in Darfur
is harsh and difficult, housing rents are high, and there is limited
office space. For example, while UNAMID has recruited only 1,597 of
its authorized 5,571 civilians, there is only sufficient office

KHARTOUM 00000251 003 OF 004

space for 900 staff and UNAMID housing for 245. Medili said that
insufficient supplies and equipment, ranging from cleaning and
office supplies, furniture, and computers, is a serious problem and
if even if they possessed them, UNAMID lacks sufficient hard-wall
warehouses space.

14. (SBU) Communications challenges include deficiencies in
allocation of High Frequency and Very High Frequency (HF/VHF) radio
frequencies, incompatible equipment, and lack of tactical equipment.
He noted that the UN usually does not provide internet and
telephone service for troops, and the practice is not covered under
UNAMID's self-sustainability concept.

15. (SBU) Medili said that additional civilian staffing is needed.
He said that of the 5,551 authorized, UNAMID has recruited only
1,597 or 29 percent of required personnel. He noted that additional
UNAMID housing and offices need to be constructed and that many of
the staff will need to live and work in a possibly hazardous active
construction site. He added that he hoped to work with the GOS to
facilitate customs clearances for supplies and visa issuances for
incoming staff.


16. (SBU) UNMIS Deputy Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator Oluseyi
Bajulaiye said that UNAMID and UNMIS have worked closely with GOS
humanitarian agencies, but that GOS restrictions on access and
issues of protection remain an issue. Currently, the UN humanitarian
effort is focusing on the situation in West Darfur. Baljulaiye said
that the UN and humanitarian NGOs sought access when GOS began its
attacks in West Darfur on February 9. It was not until Feb 11 and 12
that the UN and the NGOs were able to go to the affected areas, but
NGOs successfully providing food and medicine to a number of
refugees. On February 18, the GOS restricted humanitarian aid
flights and launched attacks against JEM rebel-held towns north of
Selea, along the Northern Corridor. In the following days, between
attacks NGOs were able to distribute food for 82,000 of the
estimated 160,000 affected persons.

17. (SBU) Bajulaiye said that the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)
and Humanitarian Communique were intended to provide unlimited
access for protection. He appealed to the international community to
urge the GOS permit the UN protective access, particularly to the
IDPs. He said that the situation requires 24 hour patrols but
acknowledgedi+jJQ"|6es. Finally, Bajulaiye said that the
GOS has established a new procedure that promises to speed NGO
document processing and had extended the Moratorium for NGOs for an
additional year until January 2009.

18. (SBU) In responding to questions about reports of possible
abductions of young boys in the aftermath of recent conflict in West
Darfur, Humanitarian Coordinator Bajulaiye said that half of the
displaced in the recent conflict were children, so it possible for
many to be unaccounted for. He said that the UNAMID and UNICEF are
working on investigating these reports that boys may have
intentionally been separated from their families.


18. (SBU) In response to CDA Fernandez's question on the rumored
expulsion of Chief of Staff Patrick David Houston, Adada said that
UNAMID received a note verbale notifying them of the expulsion but
with no specific deadline. UNAMID attempted to negotiate with the
GOS but the attempts were rebuffed. While UNAMID have been
negotiating with the GOS on David-Houston's expulsion, he has gone
on leave and has now returned to Sudan without any problems, and
UNAMID remains uncertain on when or if he will go.


19. (SBU) In response to questions about the status of the Ceasefire
Commission (CFC), Agwai said that the CFC is currently not
operational as all members of the CFC must be present at
investigations and approve the report. As the JEM has been thrown
out of El-Fasher, they cannot participate in the CFC. As a result,
said Agwai, "the CFC exists only on paper, so we need a new way for
the CFC to operate." He added that UNAMID investigates as much as
it can and has conducted patrols along the Northern Corridor, the
road north of El-Geneina, to the towns of Sirba, Selea, and Abu
Suraj. Told by the SAF that Jebel Moon was unsafe, UNAMID did not

KHARTOUM 00000251 004 OF 004

attempt to patrol there, but intends to go there when in is safe (in
the next few days). However, when UNAMID wanted to go to a Sudanese
Liberation Army (SLA) controlled area, the SAF also told UNAMID it
was unsafe. Undaunted, UNAMID said it would go anyway provided the
SAF agreed not to fire upon UNAMID patrols. The SAF agreed and the
patrol was successfully conducted.

20. (SBU) Agwai noted that UNAMID's freedom of movement is still
limited. The Sudanese Government is mostly not to blame. He said
that the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) does not include everyone and
both signatory and non-signatory movements have weapons, which
inhibits overall security. In addition, UNAMID does not have the
capacity to do long range patrols and cited the lack of Meals Ready
to Eat (MRE) for the incapacity to venture far from their bases.
To develop this, Agwai said that he intended to have a brainstorming
session on ways to better implement the DPA.

21. (SBU) Asked about the role of the Joint Mediation Support Teams
(JMST) under UNAMID, Agwai said that the JMST is part of the UNAMID
negotiating team. He said that UNAMID plans to contract with the
JMST and then second them to the AU Special Envoy.


21. (SBU) In response to questions about the SOFA and media reports
calling for arrest of individuals wanted by the International
Criminal Court (ICC), Adada said that the use of the SOFA for the
purposes of the ICC is not appropriate. He added that UNAMID is not
under any mandate by the ICC.


22. (SBU) Asked about the interaction with rebel movements, Agwai
said that UNAMID is increasing its contacts with the movements,
which see themselves increasingly as more military movements than
political ones. Agwai said that as a priority in the next three
months, he wanted to move the process forward politically rather
than militarily.

23. (SBU) Agwai commented on the difficulties of the Sudanese
political process. He said that there can be no progress without
interacting with all of the parties, and that in Sudan there are
simply too many parties. Unlike most peacekeeping situations where
the government has collapsed giving the UN a relatively unimpeded
field to work in, the GOS is one of the parties, is a relatively
efficient and present government and must be consulted.

24. (SBU) He noted that he has been handicapped by GOS requirements
for UNAMID to notify the SAF of air flight times and locations,
discovering that rebels unsurprisingly fail to meet them at
locations that SAF knows about. He added that he has not been
meeting with the JEM but will meet with the others.

25. (SBU) Comment: While Adada stated UNAMID's accomplishments at
the end of fifty days, he also noted the number of challenges amid a
changing political and military landscape, and commented to the
diplomats that UNAMID's success or failure was mostly in their own
hands. The sense was of slow progress, accelerating in the spring
with the arrival of additional military and police units, of
Sudanese Government obstruction, brutality and lack of coordination,
but also of an operation most of whose problems and limits are
largely internal in nature. End comment.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC