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Cablegate: Rome Bilateral Meeting Trumpeted in Pro-Regime Khartoum

VZCZCXRO0540
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0598 1080955
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170955Z APR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0585
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000598

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, 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: ROME BILATERAL MEETING TRUMPETED IN PRO-REGIME KHARTOUM
DAILY


1. (SBU) Khartoum pro-regime daily Akhbar al Youm headlined April 17
on page one the Sudan-US talks in Rome, prominently announcing
"details of the talks on Sudanese-US relations on their first day."
The article states that "today the two sides will conclude important
talks for developing bilateral relations." Sudanese Ambassador in
Rome Rabie Hassan Ahmed is quoted saying that the two sides have
"tabled their proposals in regard to pending issues." The
Ambassador underlines the importance of the talks to tackle "all
joint and pending issues" and "to enhance and develop bilateral
relations." Photographs of FM Alor and party chief Nafie
accompanying the article graphically demonstrated the high level of
Sudanese participation in the talks.

2. (SBU) Comment: Although the article is in fact very thin on
details (especially in comparison to the NY Times article datelined
in Washington of the same day based on the leaked non-paper
"received from an American official critical of the administration's
position") the overall tone of the article is overwhelmingly
optimistic and sets high expectations for a breakthrough in Sudan-US
relations. This will likely frame the way that any result (positive
or negative) from Rome is received. If there is no breakthrough or
at least some tangible progress in Rome, we expect disappointment
not just from the Government but also from many quarters of Sudanese
society. This will of course frame our relationships going forward,
with the GOS more intransigent than ever on the things are important
to us in Darfur and on the CPA (not to mention the NEC), and some of
the Sudanese population (especially in Khartoum) frustrated by a
perceived rigidity in US policy toward Sudan while others in the
country with their own special agenda will breathe a sigh of relief
at a lack of progress.

FERNANDEZ

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