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Cablegate: Former Darfur Governor On Peace Process

VZCZCXRO5348
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0537 0981436
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071436Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0493
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000537

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO AU UN SU CD
SUBJECT: FORMER DARFUR GOVERNOR ON PEACE PROCESS

REF: A. 2007 CAIRO 2560
B. NDJAMENA 00127

1. (SBU) Summary: Former defense minister and former governor of
North Darfur Ibrahim Suleiman Hassan told poloff that now is the
time to push for peace in Darfur. Hassan believes peace is
achievable if the U.S. pushes Sudan to reach deals with the Darfur
rebels and Chad. He also said the U.S. should not be surprised if
the NCP remains in power for another 20 years. End summary.

2. (SBU) Meeting with Poloff on April 6, longtime National Congress
Party (NCP) member, former Minister of Civil Aviation, and former
governor of North Darfur General Ibrahim Suleiman Hassan
characterized the security environment in Darfur as a morass. He
observed that the government, having gone too far in its military
intervention, created a mess that will take fifty years to resolve.
(Note: Hassan expressed his opposition to the war in Darfur early on
and left the NCP regime in 2003 when he was fired as Governor by
Al-Bashir. End note.) Hassan said that there is an opening for
diplomatic intervention with greater UNAMID presence in Darfur. He
urged the international community to push for negotiations to
capitalize on UNAMID's presence.

3. (SBU) According to Hassan, the Sudanese Government now
understands that military operations in Darfur will only generate
international condemnation, and is therefore looking for a political
solution to the crisis. He expressed the view that the Darfur
rebels are likewise motivated to begin negotiations because a viable
peace process will reverse the growing perception that the rebel
movements are little more than bandits. He observed that average
Darfurians are fed up with both the GoS and the Darfur rebel
commanders. Hassan believes these factors will help lead to a peace
agreement, but he said it is necessary for the U.S. and other
international actors to engage more aggressively. Hassan noted that
a lasting peace deal in Darfur also involves a resolution of
hostilities between the NCP in Sudan and Deby in Chad. Hassan urged
that the U.S. engage with the NCP and Deby on this point as well.

4. (SBU) Once active in the NCP, Hassan said he no longer identifies
with the party or its leaders. When asked about the current concerns
of the NCP, Hassan stated that they are most afraid of the
International Criminal Court (ICC), viewing it as a legitimate
threat to their hold on power. Hassan said that while the NCP
"fears" the southern referendum in 2011, the NCP is preparing to
govern for the next twenty years - and Hassan believes they will
most likely do so.

--------
Bio Note
--------

5. (SBU) General Hassan served for 36 years in the Sudanese Armed
Forces (SAF), reaching the post of Minister of Defense. A native of
Darfur, Hassan returned to serve as Governor of North Darfur from
2001 to 2003. Although nationally well-respected, Hassan fell from
the upper echelon of the NCP after opposing military intervention in
Darfur. Notably, Hassan ordered the arrest of Janjaweed leader Musa
Hilal in 2002, and was nicknamed "the godfather of the rebels" by
goveQment-owned media after accusations of tacitly supporting the
armed movements in Darfur. Now in poor health, Hassan is inactive
within the NCP, and returned to Khartoum in November 2007 after four
months of surgery and recuperation in Cairo. CDA Fernandez met with
General Hassan in Cairo in 2007 (ref a).

-------
Comment
-------

6. (SBU) Though no longer an influential voice on Darfur affairs,
General Hassan knows a great deal about Darfur, Sudanese politics in
general, and the NCP in particular. He was not particularly
forthcoming about NCP party dynamics, presumably preferring not to
dwell too much on his former NCP affiliation. Hassan is correct
that the international community will need to engage more directly
to force the government and rebels toward a comprehensive peace
agreement in Darfur. Unfortunately with a dysfunctional JMST team
in place, there is currently a lack of leadership and vision on how
to engage the parties.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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