Search

 

Cablegate: Mixed Reviews From El Fasher On U.S. Special Envoy's Visit

VZCZCXRO7588
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0878/01 1641335
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121335Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1021
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 000878

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

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


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

SUBJECT: MIXED REVIEWS FROM EL FASHER ON U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY'S VISIT

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Reviews are mixed in parts of Darfur about Special
Envoy Williamson's June 3 suspension of bilateral talks with the
Government of Sudan (GoS). However, most people tend to agree that
the GoS will use this action as a pretext for further disingenuous
behavior in its dealings with the international community,
particularly on issues like UNAMID deployment. END SUMMARY.

REBEL MOVEMENTS REJOICE
-----------------------
2. (SBU) Anti-GoS armed opposition groups lauded the Special Envoy's
action. One JEM field commander, speaking from Tine in West Darfur,
proclaimed that "Now you are just like us" in our mutual mistrust of
the GoS. The JEM rep said his movement was happy with the outcome
of the talks, as they obviously opened the Special Envoy's eyes to
the disingenuousness of the GoS toward anything other than a
military solution to solve Sudan's problems.

3. (SBU) An El Fasher-based representative of Sudan Liberation
Movement/Minni Minawi saw the Special Envoy's "anger" with the GoS
as leading to positive action by the GoS with regard to Abyei,
albeit only after the Special Envoy's departure from Sudan. On this
Abyei agreement signed on June 8 between the NCP and the Sudan
People's Liberation Movement, the SLA/MM rep sniffed that as with
all things the GoS signed up to, the proof would be in the
implementation. He also pointed out how the media are spinning the
Special Envoy's suspension, using face-saving techniques to imply
that talks would re-start between the GoS and the USG and that deals
would be made.

UNAMID NOTICE NOTHING NOW
-------------------------
4. (SBU) Leadership of the United Nations-African Union Mission in
Darfur (UNAMID) reported that it has neither witnessed nor
experienced any backlash from the Special Envoy's walk-out. Force
Commander GEN Agwai predicted that there would likely be more
reaction in the weeks ahead, and he did not dispute the link between
the talks' suspension and the expulsion of PAE from Darfur. The
Chief of Planning agreed that the decision not to renew PAE's
contract is a by-product of the suspended talks and worried that
this departure would be disastrous for the peacekeeping mission.

5. (SBU) NOTE: On PAE's departure from Darfur, a lawyer for the UN
Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) told FieldOff on June 10 that the UN
Department of Field Support (DFS) wrote a letter on June 5 to UNAMID
informing that PAE's contract would expire July 14 and that the UN
has no intention of renewing it. The UNMIS lawyer confirmed that
the UN has no alternative in place to assume PAE's responsibilities,
which constitute the only viable engineering capabilities that
UNAMID has. Further, he reported that Mohamed Yonis as UNAMID
Director of Administration has done nothing to prepare for this
eventuality and is not directing the Mission support staff to find
alternatives. The UNMIS lawyer predicted it would be a year before
a substitute for PAE could be identified and put in place. Even
then it would have to start from scratch with regard to super-camp
construction, since things would have stood still until that point,
given the "immature" quality of local commercial contractors
available to do the job on an interim basis.

6. (SBU) The UNMIS lawyer expects UNAMID to appeal to UNMIS for this
kind of engineering assistance, which UNMIS is both unable and
unwilling to provide, given its own limited capacities and competing
mission priorities. He predicted that UNMIS will actively oppose
any campaign for this kind of assistance, a campaign likely to get
underway during negotiations for UNAMID's mandate renewal by July
31. END NOTE.

POLITICAL PARTIES
-----------------
7. (SBU) Khaleel Adam Mohammed Bakheet Tukras, spokesman of the
National Umma party in North Darfur, said that it was "smart" of the
Special Envoy to walk away from the talks with the GoS. In Tukras'
estimation, doing so showed the GoS that the U.S. would not accept
any insincerity or false statements regarding important matters like
Abyei.

8. (SBU) Ahmed Saeed Uthman, a member of Umma Reform and Renewal,
said that most fellow party members were disappointed with the
suspension of the bilateral talks. He said that the USG was always
criticizing Darfur faction leaders for refusing to negotiate,
violating as they were the USG's call for resolving disputes through
negotiations. What the U.S. Special Envoy did on June 3 in Khartoum
contradicted this stance, according to Uthman. "Leaving the
negotiation table was not diplomatic behavior," he charged, and
warned that having done so may create negative repercussions for
U.S. INGOs and personnel in Sudan.

9. (SBU) Fathiya Abdala Gad Al Kareem, a primary school teacher in
El Fasher and a member of the Democratic Unionist Party's Women's
Union, said that Darfurians had had high expectations for the
Special Envoy's visit, including expediting UNAMID deployment,
furthering protection of IDPs and civilians, and improving bilateral
relations. She considered that suspension of talks meant none of
the expected things is going to happen since the GoS now will "ruin
the U.S presence in the country", which, she speculated, could
extend to the closing of the U.S. El Fasher field presence.

10. (SBU) Opposition parties in the North Darfur Legislative Council
think that in general the U. S. Administration should be very tough
in dealing with the GoS, particularly with the National Congress
Party (NCP). They therefore regarded the Special Envoy's suspension
of talks as a good way to send a message to the GoS that while the
international community may not seem serious about issues concerning
Sudan, the U.S. is.

CIVIL SOCIETY
-------------
11. (SBU) Imam Umar, the organizer of youth sports activities in El
Fasher, discussed the issue with the youth in the town, and most of
the youth agreed that the GoS would consider the Special Envoy's
suspension of talks as an excuse to return the favor by refusing
future talks with the U.S. and any calls for the GoS to abide by
existing agreements which it has signed. Umar noted that
Presidential Advisor Nafie Al Nafie had already made a statement to
this effect on the national radio station: that walking away from a
meeting with senior GoS officials was behavior unbefitting for a
meeting with GoS officials and that the GoS has the full right to
respond. Umar predicted that the GoS would tighten regulations for
U.S staff in Sudan, particularly in Darfur [NOTE: As of this
writing, FieldOffs have experienced no backlash as a result of the
suspension of bilateral talks. END NOTE].

COMMENT
-------
12. (SBU) Justified or not, there is sentiment in Darfur that the
Special Envoy's suspension of bilateral talks with the GoS
contributed to the backlash against PAE, particularly since the
Sudanese PermRep's announcement of its expulsion came only two days
after the walk-out. However, it seems that DFS contributed much to
the decision not to keep PAE on, and an explanation for such a
poorly timed decision is more than merited. The UNMIS lawyer
recommended as a possible solution (bearing in mind that he does not
want UNMIS to assume UNAMID's burden) that the UN quietly allow PAE
to stay on through the end of the year, with the necessary political
heavy lifting done by the international community with the GoS to
convince it to keep quiet about PAE until UN contracting procedures
kick in. China could potentially be useful in this regard, since it
will not likely want its 140 under-equipped engineers in Nyala to
carry the whole engineering burden for the Mission. END COMMENT.

DATTA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC