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Cablegate: France, Eufor Issue Conflicting Statements On Fallen

VZCZCXRO0371
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0351 0701415
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101415Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0155
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000351

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/SPG
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS KPKO UNSC AU SU CD EU
SUBJECT: FRANCE, EUFOR ISSUE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS ON FALLEN
SOLDIER IN DARFUR


1. (SBU) The European Union repatriated the body ofQoldier from
the EU peacekeeping force in Chad, EUFOR, on March 7, as French
President Sarkozy and EUFOR commander Patrick Nash issued
conflicting statements on the events leading to the soldier's death.
While Nash apologized to Sudan for his peacekeepers "accidentally"
crossing into Sudanese territory, Sarkozy condemned the Sudanese
military for using "disproportionate force." EU Special
Representative for Sudan and EUFOR political representative Torben
Brylle is "associating himself" with Nash's statement, Brylle's
political advisor told Poloff on March 9.

2. (SBU) The French Embassy in Khartoum has characterized Sudan as
"relatively cooperative" in investigating the circumstances of the
death. Brylle, who met with Sudanese officials in Khartoum on March
7, considers the issue with Sudan "closed," said his political
advisor. EUFOR positively identified the body on March 7 and is
awaiting an autopsy in France before making any further
determination, according to a French political officer in Khartoum.

3. (U) On March 9, the "Sudan Tribune" reported that Sudan submitted
a request to the EU for compensation pertaining to the incident.
This would presumably include compensation for the families of the
nomads who reportedly died when they were trying to place the body
of the fallen soldier on a camel and a grenade exploded.

4. (SBU) Comment: Sudan is seeking to gain maximum benefit from this
incident to ensure that EUFOR respects Sudan's border. Mistakes
will occur, though, and it is somewhat alarming (though not
surprising given Sudanese sensitivities) that Sudanese troops
apparently are under orders to fire without question at Western
soldiers who cross the border into Darfur. Several questions
remain, such as why the Sudanese soldiers did not assist the fallen
French soldier after incapacitating him, and how the remaining
members of the French EUFOR patrol returned to Chad without their
vehicle, which reportedly was disabled and has not yet been
recovered from Western Sudan. Certainly, the whole sorry incident
seems to show a EUFOR force struggling to get itself established and
acclimated to a new and difficult task.

FERNANDEZ

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