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Cablegate: Un Staffer's Proposal On Darfur Negotiations

VZCZCXRO5690
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0626/01 1141259
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231259Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0634
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0176
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000626

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UN STAFFER'S PROPOSAL ON DARFUR NEGOTIATIONS


1. (SBU) On April 22, Gerry McHugh, UN Envoy Jan Eliasson's chief
strategist, told poloffs that the Darfur peace process needs strong
U.S. leadership, not more large, multi-lateral meetings. McHugh
offered a number of uncharacteristic UN ideas including: 1) Any
deal will be brokered behind the scenes, most likely with US
intervention, starting with JEM and focusing completely on power
sharing; other movements and areas of negotiations will follow. 2)
The U.S. and France should make it clear to Chadian President Idriss
Deby that continued (and possibly increased) Western support for his
administration is contingent on his decision to cut ties with JEM.
3) With the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, there is a limited
window of opportunity (of at most two or three months) in which the
peace process has a chance for serious progress, especially given
the US initiative to engage with the GOS. 4) The U.S. should put
more pressure on the rebel movements, and if they continue to be
uncooperative, the UN Security Council should issue a resolution
expelling rebel leaders from Western states.

SQUEEZING CHAD AND JEM
- - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) According to McHugh, in its recent consultations with the
UNAMID's Joint Mediation Support Team (JMST), the Justice and
Equality Movement (JEM) made it very clear that its main priority is
to continue to receive support from the Government of Chad and to
give reciprocal military support back to President Deby while
seeking to escalate violence in Darfur and beyond (into Kordofan).
McHugh said that UNAMID and the international community should make
Chad choose between continued (and perhaps augmented) Western
support and the GoC's backing of JEM. According to McHugh, Deby is
a very logical and tactical thinker. He realizes that he cannot
rely on the support of Darfur rebels indefinitely, and may be
persuaded to cut his ties with JEM. McHugh added that President
Deby wants U.S. support, and that the U.S. could use its influence
on both Chad and France to make Deby more cooperative. McHugh
stated that it is untenable to continue the peace process while the
Governments of Chad and Sudan use militias and rebel groups to do
their dirty work. He stated that it may be better to bring JEM into
the Chadian government and make their relationship official, or cut
them off completely. McHugh stated that it is even worth
brainstorming on some "crazy ideas" such as offering JEM's Khalil
Ibrahim a position as the Chadian Minister of Defense, if JEM is
brought officially into the GoC.

3. (SBU) According to McHugh, it may be possible to cut a
bilateral deal between JEM and the Government of Sudan in the next
six months. He stated that JEM claims that they are willing to
engage politically, but that it is apparent that they take the
military option more seriously. The U.S. should pressure JEM, Chad,
and other countries with influence in Chad (i.e. France) to convince
JEM to take negotiations more seriously, stated McHugh. Continuing,
he said that the majority of JEM's leadership works and resides in
Europe. He said that Western countries should use this to their
advantage. They should tell JEM and other rebel movements that they
should cooperate with the international community or the Security
Council will issue a resolution expelling rebel leadership from
Europe. According to McHugh, it would "not cost the U.S. much" to
convince Britain and even France, and it could be very significant
in moving the peace process along. He stated that many JEM and
SLA-Abdel Wahid leaders have strong ties to Europe's institutions
and leaders and that this expulsion would deal a significant blow to
uncooperative rebel actors.

BIGGER THAN THE DPA
- - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) McHugh stated that while the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA)
is the starting place for negotiations, any deal will have to be
much larger than the DPA. He said that the focus of negotiations
should be on a serious power sharing arrangement, and other issues
such as wealth-sharing will follow. He said that the weakness of
the DPA is its power sharing arrangements, saying that the number of
seats given to DPA signatories at the state legislature and
presidency is insufficient.

"AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE U.S."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) McHugh stated that greater U.S. involvement in the peace
process presents an opportunity to the U.S. He added that Darfur is
a significant foreign policy objective that the Bush administration
might realistically achieve in the next six months. He said he
realizes that if the U.S. embarks upon this approach, individuals
within the U.S. Government must be recognized for their key
contributions in bringing the rebels to the table. McHugh stated
that he will continue to present these ideas to the British, French,
and other capitals. He said that Jan Eliasson is ready to push some
of these ideas in the coming months, but only if they are met with
initial reception by the U.K., U.S., and France. McHugh noted that
while Eliasson's term is due to end in June, there may be the

KHARTOUM 00000626 002 OF 002


opportunity to renew his term - something that, in McHugh's view,
looks more likely given the lack of viable replacements and delays
in the appointment of other leadership positions. (Note: McHugh
also stated that Taye-Brook Zerihoun, the Principal Deputy Special
Representative of the Secretary-General in Sudan, will soon be
leaving his position to become the SRSG in Cyprus. End Note.)

COMMENT
- - - -
6. (SBU) McHugh is the most advanced in his thinking among the UN's
JMST team and if he can sell these ideas to Eliasson (who he claims
is open to them) it may be possible for a joint JMST-US-UK-France
initiative to push the parties forward behind the scenes in the
coming months. Without the strategic behind-the-scenes approach
that McHugh describes, nothing very positive is likely to happen on
the Darfur peace process for at least another year, leaving UNAMID
exposed and vulnerable. Notably, this meeting is the third this
week where JMST and UNAMID leadership have asked for an injection of
American leadership into the foundering UNAMID peace process, a
clear sign of desperation on their part.

7. (SBU) The news that Eliasson intends to stay on past June is
troubling, given his lack of a coherent vision and the limited time
he spends in Darfur. The peace process is at a stage that requires
more sophistication and energy than the current Eliasson-Salim team
has previously exhibited. The U.S. has called on the UN Secretariat
to appoint a chief mediator since June 2007, and we should make
clear to the UN Secretariat that the delay--whether due to the
dearth of good candidates, complications with the AU, or UN
inefficiency--is neither acceptable nor a justification to continue
Eliasson's weak leadership of the peace process.

8. (SBU) McHugh overestimates the willingness of European countries
to support punitive measures against Darfur's rebel movements;
France and other European governments have rebuffed every suggestion
to expel rebel leaders over the last 18 months. In this context, a
discrete, multi-track approach to the peace process--that includes
separate, sustained, and focused discussions with JEM and SLA-Abdel
Wahid--led by either a more agile UN/AU team or by the U.S. (but
with at least the tacit involvement of key European governments,
such as France) is the best way forward. If the bilateral process
with the GOS continues, it is also worth seeing how this may be
linked to the Darfur peace process. Of course we need to recognize
that securing an agreement from both Abdel Wahid and Khalil Ibrahim
is a long-shot (although the former may prove more flexible than the
latter), but it's worth a try and this strategic behind-the scenes
approach is the best plan we have heard from anyone on the JMST team
in a long time.

FERNANDEZ

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