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Cablegate: Egypt Plans to Nominate Replacement for Unamid Chief Of

VZCZCXRO3128
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0663 1221413
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011413Z MAY 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0693
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0189
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000663

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPKO UNSC SOCI AU SU
SUBJECT: EGYPT PLANS TO NOMINATE REPLACEMENT FOR UNAMID CHIEF OF
STAFF

REF: KHARTOUM 650

1. (SBU) Egyptian Pol/Mil Officer Tamer Azzam told poloff on April
29 that Egypt plans to nominate an Egyptian BG to replace BG Patrick
Davidson-Houston as UNAMID Chief of Staff. He said that Egypt hopes
to have their nominee in place as early as May 18, pending approval
by the UN.

2. (SBU) Separately, UNAMID Chief of Staff Davidson-Houston told
Fieldoff that the assumption of his own imminent departure is
premature. He said that the UN in New York plans to write a letter
to the Government of Sudan (GOS) stating that it is actively
recruiting a replacement for the COS but in the meantime it would be
appropriate to keep the COS in place until the end of May, the
half-way mark for his one year contract which ends in November. The
COS said the GOS could outright reject the UN proposal, ignore it,
or quietly go along with it.

3. (SBU) UNAMID leadership in El-Fasher told Fieldoff that they have
no plans to engage with the GoS to counter Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon's private agreement with the President Bashir at the Dakar
summit. In reftel, post noted that the SYG, without consultation
with DPKO or UNAMID, agreed with President Bashir to remove the COS
by the end of April and accept an additional battalion from Egypt
(making it the third largest TCC in the mission) and from Ethiopia.
The current COS said UNAMID has been recruiting a replacement for
him. He said he was unaware of the Egyptian proposal but unsurprised
as the Egyptians have been lobbying for both the FC and DFC
positions.

4. (SBU) Egyptian Pol/Miloff Azzam said he expected that the
130-troop Egyptian signals company would have its equipment in place
by May 19 and that the 120-troop Egyptian transport company would
have its equipment in place by May 12. He said that given the
complete lack of preparations for the Egyptians in the Northern
Sector, he doubted whether the infantry battalion would
realistically be able to deploy before 2009, in keeping with FC
Agwai's March agreement with the Egyptian MOD to deploy them at Um
Kadada.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The potential appointment of an Egyptian COS
requires careful consideration. First, many IDPs and Darfuris
consider the Egyptians as surrogates for the GOS and hence
untrustworthy. Appointing an Egyptian COS could severely damage
UNAMID's credibility in the eyes of most Darfuris if the candidate
is not an exceptional individual willing to correct this impression.
In addition, the current UNAMID leadership considers that the
quality of leadership and management provided by an Egyptian COS may
not be adequate.

6. (SBU) RECOMMENDATION: Given the likely negative reception of the
Egyptian troops, post suggests that the appointment of an Egyptian
COS should be avoided if possible. We recommend that USUN consider
discrete discussions with the SYG on his apparent unilateral
decisions on peacekeeping troops. The FC appears unable to stand up
to the SYG to pre-empt an Egyptian appointment that would hurt the
mission (rumor has it the FC is trying to secure his own appointment
as Military Advisor at UN HQ and is accordingly towing a
conservative line vis-`-vis the SYG and the GoS). Therefore, Post
suggests that the Friends of UNAMID could intervene with the SYG to
make sure he is properly consulting both UN HQ and UNAMID before
making decisions that could undermine the Darfur mission - and set a
bad precedent on TCC decisions for future peacekeeping missions.

FERNANDEZ

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