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Cablegate: Al Bashir Endorses Better Relations with U.S., Blames Chad

VZCZCXRO5074
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0369 0730824
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130824Z MAR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0183
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000369

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KSCA OTRA EAID CDC SU
SUBJECT: AL BASHIR ENDORSES BETTER RELATIONS WITH U.S., BLAMES CHAD
FOR UNFULFILLED PEACE AGREEMENTS


1. (U) SUMMARY: President Omar Al Bashir told reporters March 11
that Sudan needs better relations with the United States. In his
remarks, he also criticized Chad, saying the country had not
respected peace agreements with Sudan and that yet another peace
agreement, negotiated by Senegal President Wade, is unlikely to
achieve anything new. Al Bashir spoke at a news Conference in Dubai
at the end of his March 9-11 visit to the United Arab Emirates. END
SUMMARY.

BETTER RELATIONS WITH U.S. NEEDED
---------------------------------

2. (U) Commenting on U.S.-Sudan relations, Al Bashir said the
United States is influential on all issues, so it is not in Sudan's
interests to be hostile to it. He said dialogue with Washington
requires time and patience. He went on to criticize the USG,
alleging it had broken past commitments on resolving bilateral
differences after the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace
Agreement.

3. (U) In a separate interview with CNN, quoted in the Khartoum
press, Sudan Foreign Minister Deng Alor said Sudan is pushing an
initiative to normalize relations with the United States. He added
that he had met in Addis Ababa with U.S. officials, including
*Secretary* Rice, to this end. Asked whether Sudan would make
concessions to the U.S. on Darfur, Alor0u#f&ts unlikely to honor a new agreement in
Dakar, he said. Al Bashir was referring to a draft peace agreement
negotiated by Senegal. The GNU has yet to announce whether Al
Bashir will sign the agreement March 12 while in Dakar for an
Organization of the Islamic Conference summit. Al Bashir added that
"we want to confirm that we want peace. We have no claims on Chad.
Our country is big and we do not need extra territory."

5. (SBU) COMMENTS: Al Bashir's comments to the local press, along
with statements from other government officials, seek to convey that
the President is serious about improving relations with the United
States, and is well disposed towards S/E Williamson's proposals in
particular. They were remarkably mild for a ruler who often makes
incendiary off-the-cuff remarks. As for his criticisms of Chad,
these were met by most observers with a hearty laugh, as the same
can obviously be said of Sudan - which has also failed to observe
its bilateral peace agreements with Chad.

FERNANDEZ

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