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Cablegate: Jem's Chief Negotiator On the Census, Peace Process, And

VZCZCXRO5854
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0452/01 0870842
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270842Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0317
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0115
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000452

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF/C
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: JEM'S CHIEF NEGOTIATOR ON THE CENSUS, PEACE PROCESS, AND
CHAD-SUDAN CONFLICT


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Darfur rebel Justice and Equality
Movement's (JEM) Chief Negotiator, Ahmed Tougod, told emboff by
satellite phone on March 26 that JEM rejects the upcoming census,
the AU-UN's approach to the peace process, and bilateral
negotiations with the Government of Sudan (GoS). Tougod, claiming
to be near Jebel Moon in West Darfur, stated the Chadian-supported
JEM has regrouped and is now "stronger than ever" following
government attacks on JEM positions in West Darfur. Tougod also
dismissed the Sudan-Chad agreement signed in Dakar on March 13,
stating that for the last two weeks his field commanders have
witnessed increased GoS support for Chadian opposition movements.
END SUMMARY.

PEACE PROCESS
- - - - - - -
2. (SBU) JEM Chief Negotiator Tougod stated that although he is in
regular contact with representatives from UNAMID's Joint Mediation
Support Team (JMST), he has little faith in their work. "We feel
that the JMST support team is not united, has little cohesion, no
momentum, and will not be able to make a breakthrough," stated
Tougod. Tougod further criticized the JMST, stating that it is
disconnected from the "reality on the ground." Tougod admitted that
people view JEM's willingness to negotiate with the government as a
sign of desperation or weakness; however, he stated that this
willingness was due to weakness of the JMST, not JEM. He said that
Presidential Advisor Nafie Ali-Nafie's rejection of JEM's initiative
has completely shut down all channels of communication between the
GoS and JEM. "We only communicate through the media," stated
Tougod.

"JEM IS STRONGER THAN EVER"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) Tougod stated that there is no other strong or capable
movement like JEM and reiterated the JEM claim that the government's
"massacre" in Abu Sirouj, Sileah, and Sirba has helped JEM's
recruitment efforts. "After the government's operation, we have
re-organized, and are now in a stronger military position," said
Tougod. This seems to imply that reports of Chadian resupply of JEM
are not far off the mark.

REJECTION OF THE CENSUS
- - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) According to Tougod, it is "not appropriate" to conduct a
census when Sudanese refugees have fled to Chad and thousands of
Darfuri IDPs are located all over Sudan. He stated that JEM's
official position is to boycott the census as "it will only
undermine the future of Darfur, bring biased results, and will not
at all help our people." Emboff stated that the United States
disagrees with JEM's position, adding that the census and the
election (though not directly linked) are both important to Sudan's
transformation into a fully democratic state. Emboff urged JEM to
encourage its adherents to support and participate in the census.

JEM ON CHADIAN OPPOSITION
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) Tougod said he has actually seen an increase in GoS troop
and Chadian opposition movements since President Deby and Bashir
signed a peace agreement in Dakar on March 13. He confirmed that
Timane Erdimi, head of the Rally of Forces for Change (RFC), will
soon join the Chadian Government and that this "will remove the
Zaghawa opposition element of the Chadian rebels." He stated that
other rebels, such as former Chadian Defense Minister Mahamat Nouri
of the United Force for Democracy and Development, have continued to
work with the Government of Sudan in overthrowing the Chadian
government.

"WE WANT CONTACT WITH THE U.S."
- -- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (SBU) Tougod reiterated previous JEM calls for a meeting with
senior U.S. officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for
African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, and the U.S. Special Envoy to
Sudan, Richard Williamson. Emboff stated that a high-level visit
with these figures is very unlikely at this time, but that he would
convey the message to Washington.

COMMENT
- - - -
7. (SBU) Tougod appeared annoyed that emboff both disagreed with
JEM's position on the census and expressed doubt that senior U.S.
policy makers would now entertain a JEM visit. This irritation
only further affirms the weight that JEM attaches to U.S. approval
for its actions, especially as it jockeys for position among many
rebel groups and holds grandiose dreams of one day ruling Sudan.
More importantly, it also signals that while JEM is likely to
continue provocative attacks in Darfur (that will lead to brutal SAF
responses falling chiefly on innocent civilians), the movement is

KHARTOUM 00000452 002 OF 002


receptive to further U.S. suggestions, should the U.S. seek to exert
more influence over the destructive actions of rebel movements such
as JEM. We will continue to urge participation in census and
elections, and will also push JEM toward negotiations and
participation in JMST events (assuming JMST ever gets its act
together, which is a big assumption).

8. (SBU) The Justice and Equality Movement's (JEM) Chief Negotiator,
Ahmed Tougod, is available for re-contact at: +8821637153019.

FERNANDEZ

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