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Cablegate: Jmst Briefing Focuses On Security and Consultations With

VZCZCXRO3080
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0614/01 1120813
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 210813Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0612
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0174
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000614

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
SUBJECT: JMST BRIEFING FOCUSES ON SECURITY AND CONSULTATIONS WITH
JEM AND ABDUL WAHID


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In an April 19 briefing to Khartoum's
Ambassadors, Salim Ahmed Salim and Jan Eliasson (the African Union
and United Nations Special Envoys for Darfur) stated that their most
recent visit to Sudan focused on security concerns. According to
Salim and Eliasson, consultations with representatives from the
Government of Sudan (GoS), opposition political parties, the Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM), and the Sudan Liberation Army faction
led by Abdul Wahid Al-Nur (SLA/AW) revealed that almost all parties
agree that security considerations should take precedence and that
this focus could serve as a starting place for future negotiations.
Eliasson and Salim stated that SLA/AW continues to set a "minimal
level of security" as a condition for talks, while JEM continues to
entertain grandiose and dangerous dreams of military options and
believe that "it is the only group in town." END SUMMARY.


SECURITY FIRST
- - - - - - -
2. (SBU) Salim started the briefing saying that the situation in
Darfur has deteriorated significantly in recent months and that the
focus of the JMST and peace process should be on security. He
stated that violence has taken different forms in the recent months
including: fighting between the GOS and rebel movements; clashes
between rebel groups; and banditry and other criminal (including the
recent Arab militia/janjaweed violence against Government forces.)


3. (SBU) Eliasson said that that he is hopeful that this focus on
security will eventually lead to a cessation of hostilities and a
discussion of other issues. He said that SLA/AW is particularly
keen on this focus on security, as "they have consistently stated
that they have wanted this." According to Salim, SLA/AW commanders
stated that attaining a minimal level of security is a condition for
all negotiations.

3. (SBU) Eliasson supported Salim's introductory remarks, saying
that it is essential to bring down the level of hostility and
violence and create a suitable environment before any future talks.
He called this period before the raining season "crucial" and stated
that all international partners present at the briefing must exert
their influence on all parties involved in the conflict, especially
those who have special pull with Chad and Sudan. He emphasized that
the World Food Program will be forced to reduce rations by 50% in
May due to banditry and that this will have a "major impact on
security and become a major problem for all of us."

4. (SBU) Eliasson said that there are three major elements of
security that merit scrutiny: building a framework for the cessation
of hostilities; improving humanitarian access and reducing the
levels of banditry and crime; and supporting the relationship
between UNAMID and the GoS. Regarding the lattermost point,
Eliasson said that there needs to be better cooperation between
UNAMID and the GoS, and that senior Sudanese officials have
indicated that they value UNAMID's work in Darfur. UNAMID also needs
to coordinate better with rebel groups, who "are feeling ignored" by
UNAMID.

5. (SBU) Salim also emphasized that he is concerned about UNAMID's
overall deployment saying that "we hope that there will be more
urgent work in the UNSCR to implement that which has been agreed
upon." He questioned, "Why can't we get 26 helicopters and more
troops on the ground now?" The Dutch Ambassador to Khartoum later
inquired whether UNAMID was prepared to monitor a cessation of
hostilities agreement, noting that this had been a problem at
previous negotiations. Eliasson stated that "we knew we did not
have the capacity to monitor the cessation of hostilities at Sirte,
but we will work to build up this capacity." He noted that given
the size of Darfur and delays in deployment, it will be tough to
develop a reliable monitoring body.

SLA/AW'S and JEM'S CONDITIONS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (SBU) Eliasson said that the two major rebel movements both
have set conditions for future talks. He stated that SLA/AW
continues to insist that before negotiations begin a "minimum level
of security be met." He stated that JEM "will be more difficult to
work with" as it still entertains military options and considers
itself the only real rebel group in Darfur. Salim also emphasized
that discussions with representatives from the Justice and Equality
Movement (JEM) were "constructive but with some difficulties."
According to Salim, JEM believes that it is "the only force in town
and that we should forget about all others." Salim urged the
international community to encourage JEM to continue to work with
UNAMID.

7. (SBU) CDA Fernandez asked whether Salim and Eliasson emphasized

KHARTOUM 00000614 002 OF 002


to JEM and the GoS the importance of avoiding a cycle of destructive
fighting similar to that which occurred in early 2008. Eliasson
responded that he raised the issue of the GoS's "excessive use of
force" two times with senior GoS officials. He said he also raised
this point with JEM and added that there are "dangerous signs"
coming from JEM, especially as it attempts to link the crisis in
Darfur with neighboring Kordofan. Salim agreed, stating "JEM is
trying to bring Kordofan into the mix and that is complicating
things."
BRITISH INITIATIVE
- - - - - - - - - -
8. (SBU) Asked about the British initiative, Salim responded that
he was not consulted prior to Prime Minister Gordon Brown's
announcement, but that he considers it to be a sign of support for
the peace process and symbolic of Britain's good will and intention.
The UK's Ambassador stated that the UK is "ready to host talks if
that would be useful" and that the Prime Minister's remarks
demonstrate his "strong personal commitment to this issue."
POLITICAL PARTIES, CIVIL SOCIETY, AND SUDAN CONSORTIUM
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9. (SBU) Salim and Eliasson were also asked about their
consultations with political parties. Eliasson stated that they met
with all the major parties, and that it is obvious that the majority
of these opposition groups view the Darfur crisis as inseparable
from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Sudan as a whole.
Eliasson said that he agrees that there is "mutual dependence"
between Darfur and the rest of Sudan and that future negotiations
require a holistic approach, but that UNAMID's mandate is restricted
to Darfur. Eliasson stated that although the focus of this trip was
on security, that UNAMID Civil Affairs continues its important work.
He said that there is "rough agreement" regarding the role and
participation of tribal leaders in future talks, but that there is
"unease" regarding the selection and representation of IDP leaders.


10. (SBU) The Norwegian Ambassador reminded attendees that the
Sudan Consortium will be held in Oslo from May 5-7. He said that
there will be a special session on Darfur on May 5 that both the
GoSS and GNU have accepted this meeting. He said that this is an
opportunity to address the Government of Sudan and its senior
leaders such as Salva Kiir and Ali Osman Taha, and that the
international community should send appropriate high-level
representatives to the meeting. Eliasson said that this was the
first he had heard of this invitation, and although it is unlikely
that he will be present, other JMST representatives will try to
attend.

NO PROGRESS ON CHIEF MEDIATOR
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11. (SBU) Salim stated that there has been no progress on
selecting an individual for the chief mediator position. He said
that there "is no rush to volunteer for the job" and that the
individual they had identified for the position did not accept it.
He said they need someone who is sufficiently sensitive,
sufficiently high profile, and ready to spend a lot of time on the
ground ("even someone who will eat breakfast with the rebels
everyday for six months.") He stated that selecting a chief
mediator will not be a magical cure for the peace process.

COMMENT
- - - -
12. COMMENT: Unfortunately, the most significant pieces of
Eliasson's and Salim's briefing were all negative: rations to IDPs
will be cut by half; UNAMID views JEM as uncooperative and inclined
to aggressive military action, including into Kordofan; and SLA/AW
continues to set the vaguely-defined condition of minimal security
as a condition for talks. Salim and Eliasson appeared content to
talk in generalities, avoiding defining what "minimal security"
would mean, or exactly how JEM sees itself leading negotiations.
Salim, Eliasson, and the JMST also appear to be passively waiting
for a joint mediator, more UNAMID troops on the ground, and the
"suitable environment for negotiations." They appear disconnected
from international initiatives such as the Sudan Consortium and the
UK's willingness to host talks. All these things, along with their
return to what went wrong at Sirte (e.g. "it was out of our hands"),
leaves one with little faith for progress in the peace process in
the coming months with this current, part-time team of dilettantes.
Additional meetings with the JMST and suggested next steps will be
reported septel.

FERNANDEZ

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