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Cablegate: Chinese Engineers Wait for Their Materials; Lack of Water

VZCZCXRO9115
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0471/01 0911423
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311423Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0345
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0128
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000471

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: CHINESE ENGINEERS WAIT FOR THEIR MATERIALS; LACK OF WATER
AT NYALA SUPERCAMP SITE AN OBSTACLE TO EXPANSION

REFERENCE: (A) KHARTOUM 343

(B) KHARTOUM 251

1. (SBU) Summary: Egypt will accept deployment of its infantry
battalion in the hopes that its second battalion might be accepted
at a later date. UN contractors are refusing to transport Chinese
prefabricated housing units to the Nyala super-camp because UN
payment offered for transport is too low. This will cause a delay in
the arrival of the second tranche of Chinese engineers. Chinese
Defense Attache said that sending large numbers of additional
international troops to the Nyala super-camp will be problematic as
there is no water, facilities or housing in the supercamp area. He
observed that while logistical problems may eventually be solved,
the Darfur peace process seems to be going in reverse. End summary.

EGYPTIANS LIKELY TO AGREE TO EL-FASHER DEPLOYMENT
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (SBU) Egyptian emboff Tamer Azzam told poloff on March 27 that
Egypt has offered two infantry battalions, but the UN has accepted
only one. However, Egypt would very likely agree to relocate its
one accepted infantry battalion, originally planned for Nyala, to
North Darfur (the Force Commander would like to see it deployed in
Umm Kadada and Shangil Tobiya, ideally) in hopes that its offer of
the second battalion will be eventually accepted - and that this
second battalion would be deployed to Nyala. The 100-troop advance
team, now in Nyala, would be ready to move to El-Fasher when the UN
makes its final decision.

3. (SBU) Azzam said that the engineering equipment for the 275-troop
Egyptian engineering unit is en-route to El-Geneina and should
arrive in the first week of April. If everything goes according to
plan, when the engineering equipment arrives the engineers will
begin their travel and arrive in the first week of May. However,
Azzam said that currently there are no storage facilities for the
engineering equipment in El-Geneina and expressed concern that when
the equipment arrives, there will be no place to safely store
equipment and protect it from the weather. He said that the UN has
not been forthcoming in providing details to either his embassy or
to the advance team on facilities in El-Geneina. Azzam said that he
was uncertain about the UN arrangements to construct facilities and
was under the impression that the U.S. was providing facilities.
Poloff explained that the U.S. is no longer in the camp construction
business, which ended with AMIS. [NOTE: The Egyptian MoD indicated
to the UNAMID Force Commander that as a condition for relocating its
infantry battalion to North vice South Darfur, this engineering
company would have to go to North Darfur with it, per reftels. END
NOTE]

4. (SBU) Azzam acknowledged that the UN's rejection of the second
battalion was based on Darfur rebel objections to the Egyptians but
could not specify which rebel group [NOTE: All Darfur rebel groups,
coupled with the IDPs, object to an Egyptian presence. Abdulwahid
has been especially vocal in his opposition. END NOTE].

UN CONTRACTOR REFUSES TO TRANSPORT MATERIALS
--------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Chinese Defense Attache Dong Jian Dong told poloff on March
26 that 143 Chinese engineers are waiting for 40 containers of
prefabricated housing units that would enable them to build housing
for rest of the 315-man engineering contingent. These containers
have been cleared at Port Sudan, but the UN's local contractor is
refusing to transport the containers, saying the negotiated price
(approximately $1000) is too low. Dong said that the Acting UN
Chief of Integrated Support Services (CISS) told him that UNAMID in
El-Fasher is unable to intervene as the UN in New York controls the
contracting of services.

6. (SBU) Dong said that the planned March 31 arrival of the rest of
the 315 engineers will be delayed until the arrival of the 40
containers. He said that his troops can install the units in a
matter of hours and the troops can be flown in within days, but he
noted that the last shipment of materials took six weeks to travel
from Khartoum to Nyala. Dong expressed hope that if the containers
arrive within a week, the troops could arrive by Mid-April and begin
construction of the super-camp.

NYALA SUPERCAMP HAS NO WATER
----------------------------

7. (SBU) Apart from the container transport problem, Dong said there
is also a lack of water (required for cement as well as consumption
by the troops) to begin construction of the super-camp. He said that
his troops conducted a geologic survey which revealed there is no

KHARTOUM 00000471 002 OF 002


water anywhere in the vicinity of the Nyala super-camp. He said
that the entire Forward Operating Base (FOB), the Bangladeshi Formed
Police Unit (FPU), and his troops are all using Nyala city water
that is of a very poor quality. As a result of the water supply
problem, Dong expressed doubt about the feasibility of adding
additional international troops in Nyala by May 31.

8. (SBU) Dong said that adding any additional troops at Nyala would
require an expansion of infrastructure at the super-camp. He said
that the FOB has food facilities for 500 people and would be hard
pressed to feed additional soldiers [NOTE: The sub-contractor which
has provided food at the FOB, Amzar, officially closes up shop at
all Sector locations on March 31. END NOTE]. He said that the FOB
feeds the nearly 300 Bangladeshi and Chinese soldiers, the 200
troops composing the Nyala Headquarters and protection detail, and
100 early arrivals of the Eqyptian infantry battalion.

CHINESE: THERE IS NO PEACE TO KEEP
----------------------------------

9. (SBU) Dong said that while the military deployments are
continuing, albeit slowly, he said that by comparison the political
process is "going in reverse." "The military is here to keep the
peace, but there is no peace to keep," he said. He observed that
the rebel groups continue to splinter, with each one making their
own set of demands, while the main rebel groups continue to retain
influence. He complained that Abdelwahid al Nur was "safe in
France, for reasons known only to the French," and continues to
enjoy popular support even while he announces the opening of an
office in Israel and meets with all five members of the Security
Council in Geneva. Meanwhile, Dong noted that Justice and Equality
Movement (JEM), the only rebel group with a national agenda and a
strong ideological motivation, has declared they will only negotiate
one on one with the Khartoum government with mediation by Kofi Anan.
Dong expressed the familiar official Chinese view that the
political process requires increased pressure on the rebel groups to
bring peace to Darfur.

10. (SBU) Comment: The Chinese Defense Attache, whose troops were
the first non-Africans to deploy, seems to have accepted
"inevitable" delays the UN logistical support. This faith in the
seemingly overwhelmed UN may be dangerous for incoming
troop-contributing countries (TCCs) who continue to believe that
UNAMID will provide for them, when in fact the UN has told them that
UN troops in Darfur are to be self-sustaining. Increased outreach
in TCC capitals is necessary to drive home the need for
self-sustainment, regardless of where troops are deployed within
Darfur. With the March 31 cessation of several key support
services, most notably that of food provision by Amzar, it is all
the more critical that incoming elements be able to support
themselves. It is not impossible that one could see the shameful
spectacle of UN troops complaining about not being fed after March
31. It is important to add that, despite the well-deserved bad
reputation of the Sudanese regime, most of these problems are due to
the UN itself.

FERNANDEZ

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