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Cablegate: Unamid Deployment Limitations

VZCZCXRO2632
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0502/01 0941636
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031636Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0388
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0135
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000502

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU CD
SUBJECT: UNAMID DEPLOYMENT LIMITATIONS

REF: KHARTOUM 434

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: UNAMID Chief of Planning informed FieldOff on
April 2 that "there will be no new infantry battalions coming in
this year to UNAMID" beyond those that are currently planned.
Instead, he stated UNAMID would be prepared to receive the Egyptian
and Ethiopian battalions and the enabling units of the Heavy Support
Package (HSP). He said that the currently-planned 4,465 troops by
December 31 would be the maximum possible given logistical
constraints. The Planning Chief mentioned "disconnects" between
troop contributor capitals and the United Nations about the size of
incoming Nigerian and South African battalions. A Department of
Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) team will return to New York from El
Fasher on April 3 to break the Planning Chief's recommendation to
DPKO leadership in what the Planning Chief considers "a little dose
of reality." END SUMMARY.

4,465 TROOPS BY DECEMBER 31
---------------------------
2. (SBU) In an April 2 meeting UNAMID Planning Chief Murdo Urquhart
told FieldOff that his message to New York Headquarters is that
"there will be no new infantry battalions coming in this year to
UNAMID." Based on a timeline generated by Acting Chief of
Integrated Support Services, Urquhart explained that UNAMID is
prepared to receive the Egyptian and Ethiopian battalions, as well
as the enabling units of the HSP (including units from China, Egypt,
Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Netherlands). The deployment of
these HSP units, however, is predicated on the arrival of their
contingenp-owned euipmdnv`(COA) and n thE rpe%d"ob`mngmneerk&JPrp`ba4gpY$wp0o$4hec/qnd( ay that we could bring in any new additional
battalions, including the second battalions offered by Ethiopia and
Egypt," he continued, adding that UNAMID logistics could simply not
provide support for battalions "coming in with nothing." [NOTE: The
new CISS, who will replace former Chief Ian Divers, is MONUC chief
engineer Bruce McCaren. He is expected to arrive in El Fasher in
mid-April when the Acting Chief returns to New York. END NOTE].

THE BIGGER, NOT NECESSARILY THE BETTER
--------------------------------------
4. (SBU) The Acting CISS also stated that UNAMID cannot provide
mobility for additional battalions coming in at increased strength,
citing the rotating Nigerians in particular. According to the
Acting CISS and the Planning Chief, two troop contributors, Nigeria
and South Africa, were planning to rotate three battalions and one
battalion, respectively, in at the 800-troop level between April and
June. Urquhart noted there was a "disconnect" somewhere between New
York and El Fasher as to troop strength for these battalions,
despite alleged DPKO outreach to the Permanent Missions of
troop-contributing countries on this topic. As far as deployment is
concerned, Urquhart envisioned breaking up the enlarged Nigerian
battalions into companies and sending one such company, for example,
to El Geneina as force protection during the construction of the
UNAMID "supercamp" there.

5. (SBU) The Planning Chief noted that the South African decision to
rotate at the 800 vice 548 level (which is its current strength)
came as a surprise during the weekend of March 29. He anticipated
deploying the difference in troop level (252) around South Africa's
three current bases. However, like the plused-up Nigerian
battalions, this increase presents a problem for UNAMID Supply,
which requires a 60-day lead time to book rations and which does so
based on a 680-troop battalion. In the cases of both the Nigerians
and the South Africans, Urquhart explained, Supply had inadequate
time to prepare.

6. (SBU) With regard to other battalions, the Acting CISS expressed
concern about the tight window for getting accommodations up to even
an "austere" level by the time some forces were scheduled to arrive
in April. He said that construction of the camp at Korma (intended
for a Rwandan battalion) would begin in mid-April and would be able
to accommodate troops by mid-July and would still need tentage even
at that time. Expansion of the camp at Silea (where the Ethiopians
are to go) would begin mid-April and would be ready to receive
troops by the end of May, although would not be completed until
November. Similarly, the Acting CISS said expansion of Kulbus (also
intended for Ethiopians) would begin mid-May, would be ready for
troops by end June and would be completed by December.

7. (SBU) The Acting CISS noted that all bids for camp

KHARTOUM 00000502 002 OF 002


construction/expansion had been received. However, he pointed out
that UNAMID Director of Administration Mohamed Yonis is presently in
Khartoum to "vet" the list of these contractors through the GoS'
Committee on Darfur. The Acting CISS noted that the GoS objected to
the presence of any U.S. companies in Darfur on this project (of
which PA&E is one) and expressed frustration with Yonis' unilateral
decision to approach the GoS on this question. At the end of the
day, however, "if the Government doesn't want them in its country,
then what can we do?" FieldOff noted that the Status of Forces
Agreement signed by the GoS and UNAMID was intended to apply to
UNAMID contractors as well.

8. (SBU) Comment: While these limitations on UNAMID's capacity to
absorb troops are not the best of news, it is positive that DPKO and
UNAMID are coordinating more effectively on troop deployments and
laying out a realistic plan. A better planned and managed
deployment should ideally lead to a stronger and more effective
UNAMID force in the face of the many challenges of operating in
Darfur. We will continue to press the issue of US contractors with
the GOS.

9. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

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