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Cablegate: When One Unamid Deployment Door Opens, Another Closes

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0872 1631034
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111034Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1011

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000872

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO UNSC AU ET SU

SUBJECT: WHEN ONE UNAMID DEPLOYMENT DOOR OPENS, ANOTHER CLOSES

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Deployment "progress" made during the June 5
United Nations Security Council visit to El Fasher, North Darfur,
appears to be illusory, according to United Nations-African Union
Mission in Darfur Force Commander GEN Agwai. While the Government
of Sudan promised to allow Thai and Nepalese elements to deploy
following the Ethiopian and Egyptian elements, it now seems that the
Government of Ethiopia is imposing its own preconditions to
deployment of its battalion, prompting a June 13 visit by GEN Agwai
and new Planning Chief Noddy Stafford to Addis Ababa to re-negotiate
with the Ethiopian Ministry of Defense. On the basis of this and
other logistical impediments, Agwai remains pessimistic that any
significant UNAMID deployment will occur before spring 2009. END
SUMMARY.

ETHIOPIA ONCE AGAIN ON THE FENCE
--------------------------------
2. (SBU) In a June 8 meeting with FieldOff, United Nations-African
Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Force Commander GEN Martin Luther
Agwai discussed the June 5 visit by the United Nations Security
Council delegation (UNSC) to Sudan, including its meeting with
Presidential Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie. According to GEN Agwai,
UNAMID Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada advised the UNSC
to raise UNAMID deployment as the number one priority when it met
with Nafie. Agwai said he understood that during the course of this
meeting, Nafie said that after the first Ethiopian and Egyptian
battalions deploy, the Government of Sudan (GoS) will accept the
Thai and Nepalese elements.

3. (SBU) However, on the same day that the UNSC visited El Fasher
(June 5), the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) sent a Note Verbale to
UNAMID saying it would deploy its battalion to Sector North first,
then later re-locate it to Sector West. This contradicts a prior
arrangement between the GoE and UNAMID, in which the Ethiopians
would deploy to Kulbus in Sector West, according to Agwai's
priorities. GEN Agwai said he and the new Chief of Planning Noddy
Stafford (who replaced COL Murdo Urquhart; Urquhart departs Sudan on
June 19 but is in El Fasher at the moment) will travel to Addis
Ababa on June 13 to discuss this revised deployment plan with the
Ethiopian Ministry of Defense.

OBSTACLES NEW AND OLD PERSIST
-----------------------------
4. (U) Both GEN Agwai and COL Urquhart, in separate conversations
with FieldOff, expressed concern that too much time has passed
between when Thailand and Nepal made their initial UNAMID pledges
and the GoS' acceptance of these elements, and that the Thai and
Nepalese Governments likely will have to be re-approached for these
units. COL Urquhart reported that he had been told last week by a
Nepalese commander, who had been on the original UNAMID
reconnaissance last fall, that the Special Forces unit pledged then
has since been committed elsewhere. GEN Agwai confessed he was not
surprised by such news and expected that Thailand has done the same.


5. (SBU) GEN Agwai reiterated concerns about issues that continue to
plague UNAMID deployment, including lack of land in Kulbus, which
would prevent the Ethiopian battalion from eventually deploying
there. He said UNAMID is pushing hard for land in Um Kadada, Kulbus
and Korma required for Ethiopian and Rwandan deployments. He added
that Tine and Um Barru have yet to be expanded to accommodate
Senegalese elements and troop increases to the 800-man level. "If
there is no expansion," Agwai reminded, "then we cannot plus-up to
800 and Formed Police Units cannot deploy."

6. (SBU) COL Urquhart told FieldOff that his biggest concern for
UNAMID is the July 14 departure of PAE, the contractor responsible
for building transit camps and super-camps, which could serve as
"placeholders" for incoming forces while new camps are being built
and existing camps expanded by commercial contractors [NOTE: Acting
Chief of Integrated Support Services Wolfgang Weiszegger told
FieldOff on June 8 that while PAE is in reality not doing much for
incoming troops, the commercial contractors on whom UNAMID would be
forced to rely for camp expansion are not impressive. END NOTE].

7. (SBU) In addition to the problems associated with expanding
existing camps and building new ones, GEN Agwai reiterated the need
to find a faster way to transport contingent-owned equipment from El
Obeid into Darfur. He pointed out that it will take the Nepalese 90
days from their eventual deployment date to the date they receive
their equipment, since they only order their equipment on the day
they receive final deployment authorization. Finally, GEN Agwai
noted he is discussing with UN Headquarters in New York which
battalions would not enter the mission, since current pledges exceed
UNAMID's mandated troop ceiling. Given these factors, as well as
the advent of the rainy season in Darfur (July and August, when
Agwai predicted UNAMID would "stand still"), Agwai did not expect
UNAMID to be stood up in any viable way before spring 2009.

DATTA

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