Cablegate: Splm Rolls Out Broad Darfur Plan and Requests Donor Funds

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1. (SBU) The SPLM has developed a multi-track plan to effect
resolution of the Darfur crisis. Though lacking in operational
detail, the plan includes having SPLM representatives visit rebel
groups and civil society in all three Darfur states, working with
the NCP to develop a GNU approach to the Darfur issue before the
next round of peace talks, engaging other countries in the region on
Darfur, and holding a negotiation capacity-building workshop in Juba
for Darfur rebel movements. The SPLM has requested donor funding
for outstanding bills from "Juba I" in the amount of USD 1.32
million and financing up-front for "Juba II" in the amount of USD
1.36 million. While the SPLM--with donor support-- should focus on
strengthening its ground operations and outreach in Darfur, the USG
should consider modest funding for a Juba II initiative if the SPLM
secures the participation of SLM/Abdulwahid and JEM representatives,
pending UN/AU plans to organize security consultations between Sudan
and the Darfur rebel movements. End summary.

Multi-Track Approach

2. (SBU) Minister for Presidential Affairs Luka Biong Deng and
Darfur Taskforce Member Dr. Priscilla Joseph briefed assembled
diplomats on the SPLM's ongoing Darfur rebel outreach and the
party's efforts with respect to the crisis in Darfur on April 3.
The SPLM is moving along a multi-track approach: a visit by the
Darfur Taskforce to rebel groups and civil society in all three
Darfur states; development of a GNU approach to the Darfur issue
before the next round of peace talks, in coordination with the NCP;
engagement with other countries in the region on the Darfur
conflict; and a negotiation capacity-building workshop in Juba for
Darfur rebel movements. "Juba II," tentatively slated for June or
July, will focus primarily on capacity building in advance of peace
talks. (Note: In the absence of a UN/AU timetable for resumption of
negotiations, it is unclear how the SPLM settled on this timing.
End note.)

3. (SBU) Per their strategy document, the SPLM's four-tiered
approach is as follows:

A. Mobilize civil society in Darfur and northern Sudan for peace
through meetings, rallies and workshops;

B. Hold consultations with the NCP to create a GNU "common
understanding" of the process that will bring peace to Darfur;

C. Engage in "diplomatic activity" on the Darfur problem by visiting
neighboring states (Egypt, Eritrea, Chad, and Libya); and

D. "Coordinate and facilitate all of the activities that are related
to the Darfur conflict and the quest for peace."

4. (SBU) In support of the first objective, SPLM Chairman Salva Kiir
Mayardit will visit Darfur to meet with IDPs, SPLM members, DPA
signatories, and other political parties to support this process,
according to the SPLM. Ten SPLM Darfur Taskforce Members will also
visit the three states of Darfur over a period of two weeks. The
Taskforce will later invite approximately 50 Darfur rebels to a
negotiation capacity-building workshop to be held in Juba over a
period of two weeks. The total estimated cost for all of these
activities is USD 1,362,000. Joseph, responding to a question from
UNAMID, noted that the Taskforce will provide the Juba-based
donor/diplomatic corps with a more detailed proposal the week of
April 7. (Note: The SPLM has discussed Kiir's visit to Darfur since
January of 2007. Post continues to urge the SPLM leadership to
organize such a visit, which would be Kiir's first, in order to
jump-start SPLM efforts to increase its credibility in the region.
End note.)

5. (SBU) According to the Taskforce, the NCP has agreed to the SPLM
request for Darfur to receive stand-alone treatment as a
sub-committee within the SPLM/NCP Executive Committee talks. The
"Darfur subcommittee" within the ExecComm talks includes six
individuals, with Deputy Secretary General (and Darfur Taskforce
Chairman) Abdelaziz Helou representing the SPLM and Presidential
Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie representing the NCP. The SPLM is pressing
for the development of a common position with the NCP on the Darfur
crisis before the next round of peace talks.

6. (SBU) Although they are focused primarily on matters impacting
CPA implementation, the SPLM increasingly regards Darfur as an

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impediment to the CPA's consolidation, and deteriorating Chad/Sudan
relations have become "a new front setting the SPLM back." While the
SPLM's efforts were viewed warily by the NCP initially, Deng said
"they now understand that our agenda is peace." Moreover, Joseph
noted, including Darfur on the Executive Committee agenda keeps the
issue at the forefront of talks between the parties. "Anticipation
and uncertainty surrounding the upcoming census, as well as the SPLM
and NCP's ongoing discussions on border demarcation have also put
the issue of Darfur on the backburner at the Presidency," said

Abdulwahid Shift?

7. (SBU) Minister Deng claimed that the SPLM Deputy Secretaries
General Yasser Arman and Helou's March visit to Paris to speak with
Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) leader Abdulwahid al Nur was a
breakthrough for two reasons: Abdulwahid is now open to allowing
his people to discuss unification with other movements in Juba, and
there is a shift in his thinking that minimum security, as opposed
to maximum security, must be in place in Darfur before he will
participate in peace talks. Deng said that the SPLM was committed
to continuing the dialogue with Abdulwahid in order to bring him
closer to the negotiating table. (Note: Abdulwahid first revealed
his position on minimum versus maximum security as a prerequisite to
negotiations during a meeting with UN Envoy Jan Eliasson in January.
Post has no independent confirmation that Abdulwahid has agreed to
send representatives to Juba, though two of his key field commanders
have denied this assertion. End note.)

Donor Funding Request

8. (SBU) The SPLM representatives discussed the party's outstanding
bill for "Juba I." According to Joseph, they anticipated hosting 50
rebels for two weeks, but 250 rebel representatives ultimately
joined in the talks and spent over four months in Juba. At least
eight Darfur rebels remain in Juba. Joseph said the outstanding
costs are due to lengthy hotel stays, movement of rebels from the
diaspora to Juba, rebels' medical bills, rebels' communication in
the field through the use of satellite phones, and the
transportation of rebels to meetings. Outstanding costs from Juba
II total USD 1,326,488. (Note: The mushrooming of rebels in Juba
during Juba I resulted from inadequate coordination within the SPLM
on invitations to the Darfur movements. End note.)

9. (SBU) Dutch and Norwegian donors were critical of the SPLM's
over-expenditures. The Dutch said that they cannot assist with past
activities but could contribute to future activities. The
Norwegians urged the SPLM to negotiate hotel bills in advance for
the second round of workshops to be held in Juba. Poloff asked if
the SPLM had shared its new strategy document and outstanding and
future financial requests with the UN/AU. Joseph responded that the
SPLM had not spoken with the UN/AU about the strategy document or
the estimated costs of USD 1,362,000 but would set up a meeting with
the UN/AU in the next week to discuss. Minister Deng asked the
donors to share the strategy and financial requests with their host
capitals and "see what they could do with it (the financial


10. (SBU) Comment: The main success of the Juba I discussions was
the consolidation of several rebel movements under a
Zaghawa-dominated umbrella group, the United Revolutionary Front
(URF), announced on April 8. The other major rebel
movements--SLA/Unity, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and
SLA/Abdulwahid-have expressed limited interest in participating in
"Juba II" discussions hosted by the SPLM. Given the upcoming
elections, the SPLM should focus on strengthening its ground
operation in Darfur to reach out to the people of the region and
build momentum for its message of transformation in Sudan (Reftel)
and the bulk of donor funding to the SPLM on Darfur should support
this effort. However, if the SPLM is able to convince
representatives from SLA/Abdulwahid and JEM to attend a meeting in
Southern Sudan, the USG should consider funding for a limited number
of key Darfur rebel leaders to convene in Juba, in coordination with
UN/AU plans to hold consultations with Sudan and the rebel movements
on security arrangements in late April or early May.


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