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Cablegate: Signatory and Non-Signatory Reps Sit Together with Unamid

VZCZCXYZ1235
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0323/01 0641407
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041407Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0114
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000323

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: SIGNATORY AND NON-SIGNATORY REPS SIT TOGETHER WITH UNAMID
TO DISCUSS CEASEFIRE COMMISSIONUNAMID UNABLE TO STOP FIGHTING IN
WEST DARFUR BUT WILLING TO TRY TO SUPPORT HUMANITARIAN EFFORT

REF: KHARTOUM 319

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) UNAMID convened a meeting of Ceasefire Commission
stakeholders - including UN civilian political representation and
both DPA signatories and non-signatories - to provide an overview of
CFC efforts and solicit the input of factions regarding their
concerns and grievances. The CFC explained the reduced benefits
liaison officers could expect under UNAMID, such as no Mission
Subsistence Allowance, and proposed a slimmed-down structure of
rebel representation. The USG should push for an immediate Joint
Commission meeting to address many of the political issues that
continue to impede the limited functioning of the CFC.

-------------------------------------
UNUSUAL GATHERING OF CFC STAKEHOLDERS
-------------------------------------

2. (SBU) AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) Deputy Force
Commander (DFC) Emmanuel Karenzi, in conjunction with Ceasefire
Commission (CFC) Chief of Staff Colonel Steven Van Neel, convened a
February 29 meeting of CFC stakeholders, including Darfur Peace
Agreement (DPA) signatories and rebel non-signatories, and
representatives from UNAMID Civil Affairs, Joint Mediation Support
Team (JMST), Joint Mission Analysis Cell (JMAC) and the office of
the Joint Special Representative (JSR). The aim of the gathering,
as set out by the DFC, was to provide an update on CFC activities
and gain the views of the armed groups themselves regarding
ceasefire- and UNAMID-related developments. After some initial
"brainstorming," the participants settled on four general areas of
discussion: CFC Restructuring and Representation, Mission
Subsistence Allowance (MSA), Identity Cards and the relationship of
UNAMID to the armed actors. (Comment: While these are well-worn
topics of discussion within the CFC, and no breakthroughs occurred,
the meeting was extraordinary in that it corralled signatories,
including the GoS, and non-signatories in the same venue to discuss
ceasefire and security-related issues for the first time since late
2006. The one notable absence was the Justice and Equality Movement
(JEM), which UNAMID was unable to contact in advance of the meeting.
End Comment.)

--------------------------------
RESTRUCTURING AND REPRESENTATION
--------------------------------

3. (SBU) CFC Chief of Staff Van Neel described the new structure of
the commission as envisioned under UNAMID, emphasizing that it must
be all-inclusive (single chamber) and that the number of rebel reps,
now called "liaison officers (LO)," will be downsized to seven per
faction - one at the CFC headquarters in El Fasher and two at each
of the Sector headquarters (reftel). The LOs will act as focal
points for communication and coordination between UNAMID and the
armed factions. Karenzi requested that all factions provide a list
of their seven nominees no later than March 10. The DFC also
observed that the military component of UNAMID continues to push for
an immediate Joint Commission meeting, where CFC restructuring and
other ceasefire-related issues with political implications can be
addressed. (Comment: The USG should support this initiative, as the
CFC will continue to be constrained without receiving clear
political guidance from the Joint Commission. Ultimately, the final
composition of any ceasefire mechanism will not be possible to
determine until principal combatants agree to stop fighting. End
Comment.)

4. (SBU) Most of the rebels, including JEM-Peace Wing, Sudan
Liberation Army Free Will (SLA-FW) and SLA Non-Signatories Faction
(SLA-NSF), quietly acknowledged the proposed restructuring, though
several suggested also having one LO at each UNAMID base camp.
SLA-Minawi reps objected most vociferously to the reduction, stating
that they would not accept the decision unless it was decreed from
the political level. (Comment: Given that the mandate and
structure of the CFC is laid out in legal documents - the DPA and
2004 N'djamena Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement (HCFA) - the
SLA-Minawi protests are not entirely unjustified. Nonetheless,
SLA-Minawi submitted on March 3 a list of eight names (after
proposing seven LOs, UNAMID subsequently agreed to eight - two each
at CFC HQ and the three Sectors) to serve as liaison officers
throughout Darfur. End Comment.)

-----------------------------
MISSION SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE
-----------------------------


5. (SBU) Payment of Mission Subsistence Allowance (MSA) continues to
aggravate tensions between the peacekeeping force and armed
factions. Under AMIS, signatory (including the GoS) and
non-signatory reps alike were paid $4900/month (at CFC HQ) and
$2700/month (in Sectors). AMIS disbursed MSA through September
2007, but payments for October-December remain outstanding.
Signatory and non-signatories conveyed a united position on MSA:
They should be paid immediately in full through December 2007 and
they should receive payment at the original rates, not reduced
amounts as recommended by AMIS in mid-2007. The DFC reiterated
that, under UNAMID, liaison officers will not receive MSA nor
generally receive the same level of support as offered by AMIS.
(Note: Under some pressure from donors and recognizing the
distortionary effects of exorbitant MSA, AMIS decided to lower
payments to $1000/month at CFC HQ and $500/month in Sectors for a
reduced number of representatives. This approach remains contested
by the parties, who were directed to the AMIS Liquidation Team for
clarification. End Note.)

--------------
IDENTITY CARDS
--------------

6. (SBU) Rebels complained that their ID cards expired December 31,
2007, and that, to carry out their CFC-related tasks, they must have
renewed cards and access to certain UNAMID facilities. The DFC
skillfully explained the UN's badging policies - that no rebel or
GoS reps would be allowed free access to UNAMID compounds - but
acknowledged that an interim system of access passes might have to
be worked out. Privately, the DFC noted to FieldOff that the
rebels' insistence on ID cards is a "backdoor" attempt to become
part of UNAMID, as they were part of AMIS (and thus paid as military
observers). As a stop-gap measure while the issues of access badges
and venue are sorted, CFC meetings are convened in the USG-funded
Peace Secretariat. (Note: Post continues to welcome AF/SPG's views
on the disposition and possibility of on-going funding of the Peace
Secretariats in El Fasher and Khartoum. End Note.)

SIPDIS

---------------------------------------
RELATIONSHIP OF UNAMID WITH THE PARTIES
---------------------------------------

7. (SBU) With the transition from AMIS to UNAMID, the Deputy Force
Commander explained that the nature of the relationship between the
armed factions and the peacekeepers would inevitably evolve too. He
underscored that UNAMID will continue to place great emphasis on
maintaining and improving channels of communication with all
stakeholders, who he charged with expediting UNAMID's work rather
than obstructing it (for instance, by denying access to patrols).
The CFC Chief of Staff underscored that UNAMID's relationship with
the parties will still be guided by the DPA, HCFA (notwithstanding
their deficiencies) and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions,
but that it must also be shaped by developments in any eventual
peace process. He also broached the notion of creating an "interim
monitoring mechanism," which would require that liaison officers
facilitate UNAMID efforts in monitoring and verifying specific armed
clashes or other hostilities.

8. (SBU) Having been ejected from the CFC and - like the signatories
- expelled from UNAMID camps - SLA-NSF representative Colonel Abdou
Ahmed Ismael, questioned the outlook his faction should adopt
vis-`-vis UNAMID, especially since levels of communication have
dropped off. Ismael pressed the DFC to seek clarity from the
political level on its stance toward the non-signatories. (Comment:
Abdou is probably the most articulate, pragmatic and savvy of any of
the rebel reps. He understands that UNAMID, and the peace process,
cannot be successful without the participation of his "group," which
contains elements from both Abdul Shafie and Abdel Wahid. JEM,
though absent from the meeting, would likely have raised the same
concerns about not having a "formalized" mechanism to communicate
with UNAMID and interact with other stakeholders. End Comment.)

-------
COMMENT
-------

9. (SBU) The meeting, while largely unremarkable in substance, was
noteworthy in its composition, bringing together the range of
stakeholders (except JEM) who will be integral to any viable
cessation of hostilities in the future. FieldOff urged that the CFC
- even if it is unable to carry out active investigations - hold
similar meetings on a regular basis to ensure, at a minimum, that
there is an open forum for UNAMID's military, police and civilian
components, as well as observers from the U.S. and European Union,
to engage with the GoS, rebel signatories and non-signatory
factions.

10. (SBU) The discussion highlighted four areas that the USG should
seek to influence to help lay the foundation for more effective
monitoring and better communication flow among the relevant
parties:

-- Press the EU to re-instate a civilian observer on the CFC; this
will assist in providing international political visibility to
issues raised in the ceasefire context, which, if a cessation of
hostilities is attained, will become the cornerstone of a peace
process.

-- Urge the GoS to accept a "one chamber" concept that includes all
major rebel groups, and allow for their representation at both CFC
HQ and in Sectors.

-- Push UNAMID and the AU (specifically, the AMIS Liquidation Team)
to resolve - once and for all - the issue of MSA by disbursing
without delay the final tranche of payments, at the reduced rate, to
all previously authorized rebel and GoS reps. According to the
office of the JSR, the funds (which come from the UK and
Netherlands) are available. While "paying off" the factions may be
distasteful, UNAMID cannot allow the contentious issue of MSA to
remain an underlying source of friction that could undermine
perceptions of the peacekeeping force.

-- Finally, the USG should support UNAMID's military leadership in
calling for an immediate Joint Commission meeting to gain
resolution, at the political level, on many of the ceasefire and
security-related issues that the CFC is not empowered to fix on its
own.

FERNANDEZ

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