Cablegate: Syg Ban and Unsc Members Discuss Somalia, Sudan,

DE RUCNDT #0559/01 1762316
O 242316Z JUN 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary. As President of the UN Security Council
for June, Amb Khalilzad hosted SYG Ban Ki-Moon for the
monthly lunch with UNSC Ambassadors on June 23, for a
discussion that focused mostly on Zimbabwe, Somalia, Sudan,
and Burma. Based on his conversations with African leaders,
Ban said it was no longer possible to hold a fair and
credible election in Zimbabwe and that the upcoming run-off
elections should be postponed for at least month. He
strongly welcomed the agreement recently reached in Djibouti
between Somali factions and urged the creation of a new
self-deploying multi-national force to Somalia led by a
strong "anchor" country that could create the conditions for
a peacekeeping operations. On Sudan, Ban said he had
selected as joint UN-AU mediator for Darfur the current
Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, Djibril Bassole. He
outlined a plan to achieve 80 percent UNAMID deployment by
the end of the year, but said he would need more cooperation
from Sudan and flexibility from troop contributors --
including provision of helicopters and heavy equipment -- to
meet that goal. Ban shared concerns about the failure of
UNMIS to protect civilians in Abyei and pledged that DPKO
would investigate and take "corrective action." Ban said he
was "cautiously optimistic" about improvements in relief
operations in Burma, and said he would dispatch Special Envoy
Gambari "as soon as possible" to the region to resume talks
on the political process. Ban also appealed to member states
for support in making sure the UN mission in Afghanistan gets
the necessary resources to attract qualified staff.

2. (SBU) Summary, cont'd. Amb Khalilzad and European
PermReps welcomed Ban's comments on Zimbabwe, but China and
others argued the UNSC should support regional efforts to
resolve the situation and refrain from "taking sides."
Several member states wondered whether any country would
volunteer to lead a new multi-national force in Somalia. Amb
Khalilzad argued for immediate steps to improve the
humanitarian and security situation in Sudan, while China
urged the international community to focus on supporting the
political process and ensuring that Sudan does not split
apart. Amb Khalilzad and the UK also welcomed Ban's pledge
to investigate UNMIS's response to the recent violence in
Abyei. On Burma, delegations generally welcomed the recent
improvement in the humanitarian situation, but were split on
the future of the political process and the role of the
Security Council. Amb Khalilzad argued there had been no
progress on the political track and that the referendum on
the constitution was deeply flawed. China urged the UNSC to
be "very cautious" about engaging on the political process
and to focus on supporting Ban and Gambari's efforts. On
Afghanistan, member states welcomed pledges made at the
recent Paris conference and committed their full support for
Kai Eide and UNAMA. End Summary.

Zimbabwe: Situation Unacceptable

3. (SBU) SYG Ban emphasized that it is no longer possible to
hold a fair and credible election in Zimbabwe, given the
climate of violence and intimidation over the past few weeks,
and that the best way forward would be to postpone the
election for one month or so. He said he would release a
statement to the press to this effect following the lunch and
that he planned to increase his personal engagement on the
issue and encourage African leaders to do the same. Ban
reported that in the past week, he had consulted with several
African leaders about Zimbabwe, including the Zambian and
Kenyan Presidents, former SYG Kofi Annan, and AU Commission
Chair Jean Ping. He was also trying to reach the Angolan
President and had received a message from South African
PermRep Kumalo on behalf of SAG President Mbeki. All African
leaders had agreed that the situation in Zimbabwe was

4. (SBU) Amb Khalilzad argued that while the international
community had to focus on the violence in Zimbabwe and the
effect on the political process, it was also important to
focus on the dire humanitarian situation in the country. It
is unacceptable that the Zimbabwean Government blocked NGOs
from distributing aid to the needy. France expressed hope
that UNSC members who had objected to its invocation of the
"responsibility to protect" with regard to Burma -- because
that situation involved a natural disaster -- would not shirk
from applying the principle in Zimbabwe given that events
there are entirely man-made. China agreed that the situation

USUN NEW Y 00000559 002 OF 004

in Zimbabwe was "very difficult," but urged support for
regional efforts through SADC to mediate between the two
sides, and cautioned against "taking sides." Vietnam urged
the UNSC not to politicize the issue but instead to focus on
helping the Zimbabwean people.

Somalia: Need a New Multi-National Force

5. (SBU) Ban strongly welcomed the agreement recently reached
in Djibouti between Somali factions and urged the
international community to move quickly to support it. He
reported that during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, King
Abdullah voiced strong support for the Djibouti Agreement,
and pledged his full cooperation to implement it. Ban said
the task before the international community now is to send a
self-deploying multi-national force (MNF) led by a capable
"anchor" country to Somalia, and once that force has
established basic conditions of security, a UN peacekeeping
operation could take its place. The nature and composition
of such an MNF are not yet clear, Ban said. DPKO U/SYG
Guehenno acknowledged that there was yet "no sign" of a
country coming forward to serve as an "anchor" for this
force, but he expressed hope the international community
would meet its obligations in Somalia. Before the MNF is
assembled, Ban argued to strengthen the African Mission in
Somalia (AMISOM), including by increasing planning and
technical support to the African Union. He said he planned
to co-host a donors conference with the AU to increase
support for AMISOM.

6. (SBU) Several member states expressed skepticism about
Ban's suggestion to send a multi-national force (MNF) to
Somalia. The UK sought advice from DPKO in framing the
options before the Council -- has security on the ground
improved to the point that an MNF would be able to deploy?
Russian PermRep Churkin, noting Guehenno's admission that no
country had yet volunteered troops, suggested that the
Secretariat's proposal for an MNF might be "wishful
thinking." Italian PermRep Spatafora asked why the
Secretariat was proposing a new MNF when AMISOM was
originally supposed to be a stabilization force that would
pave the way for a UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia.
Turning away from AMISOM towards a new MNF, Spatafora argued,
could be seen as a setback for the AU. Ban replied that
AMISOM was intended to be a stabilization force, but because
of a lack of support from the international community, it had
not been able to be effective. Of the 8,000 troops mandated
for AMISOM, he complained, only 2,000 had been provided.
Financial assistance to AMISOM from the EU and others was
uneven, despite the Secretariat's repeated requests. Given
AMISOM's limitations, therefore, a new MNF would eventually
be needed.

Sudan: Disappointed with UNMIS in Abyei

7. (SBU) Ban informed Council members that he had selected a
joint UN-AU mediator for Darfur, the current Foreign Minister
of Burkina Faso, Djibril Bassole. Both the President of
Burkina Faso and AU Commission Chair Ping had welcomed the
selection. Once the Secretariat had informed the Darfur
rebels, Ban said, Bassole would depart as soon as possible
for the region and remain there on a full-time basis (which
Ban made clear would mean Bassole would relinquish his duties
as Foreign Minister). Noting that the selection was not yet
official, Ban asked Council members to keep the appointment
confidential until the UN made its announcement.

8. (SBU) Turning to UNAMID, Ban said he has a plan to achieve
80 percent deployment by the end of the year. But achieving
this goal would require "active support" from the Government
of Sudan, which heretofore had maintained an "inflexible"
attitude, as well as "increased flexibility" from troop
contributors. The focus of the effort would be the six new
UNAMID battalions, including two from Egypt, one from
Senegal, and one from Thailand. Ban urged UNSC members to
press Sudan to support this plan and said that he planned to
convene troop contributors to discuss the needed helicopters
and heavy ground transport equipment. Ban complained that
all TCCs say their assets are otherwise occupied, but in
order to improve the situation in Darfur, they must fulfill
their collective responsibility to support UNAMID deployment.

USUN NEW Y 00000559 003 OF 004

9. (SBU) On North-South issues, Ban said the situation in
Abyei was "serious" and threatened to unravel the entire
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). He said he "shares
concerns" regarding UNMIS's response to the recent violence
in Abyei, and suggested that the peacekeepers may have failed
to fulfill their mandate to protect civilians from harm. Ban
pledged that DPKO would investigate the incident and take
"corrective action." The focus now should be on restoring
security in Abyei and "robust action" to support the Abyei
roadmap. He predicted that the situation would remain
volatile until progress was achieved on the boundary issues,
DDR, and elections.

10. (SBU) Council members generally welcomed Ban's comments
on Sudan. China said the political process remains
fundamental to successful implementation of the CPA and DPA
and to ensuring Sudan does not split apart. China also
welcomed Ban's appointment of a joint UN-AU mediator. Amb
Khalilzad agreed the political process remains important, but
he argued it is essential in the meantime to improve the
humanitarian situation in Sudan and ensure security, because
the political process will take time to resolve itself. He
and UK PermRep Sawers also welcomed Ban's comments about
UNMIS's performance in Abyei and said they would look forward
to the results of DPKO's investigation. Italy asked whether
UNMIS's failure to act was a result of the inadequacy of its
mandate or its rules of engagement (Note: Ban did not respond
specifically to Italy's question. End Note.).

Burma: Cautious Optimism on Aid

11. (SBU) Ban said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the
humanitarian situation in Burma, given the recent increase in
relief operations there. He reported that relief workers
were now able to stay in the country longer because the
regime had issued longer-duration visas, that helicopters are
now reaching the most vulnerable, and that the tripartite
UN-ASEAN-GOB mechanism was functioning well. Ban said the UN
would launch a revised humanitarian appeal for Burma in early
July and that he would remain personally involved through his
Special Envoy Gambari, who would travel back to the region
"as soon as possible." He cautioned member states that it is
"not time to politicize" the issue of humanitarian access,
but underscored his commitment to use his good offices to
bring an early democratization of Burma, including the
release of ASSK. He said he had raised ASSK's fate with
Senior General Than Shwe, but Shwe declined to comment. Ban
said specifically that the regime's seven-step plan offered
an opportunity to move forward, but that the process must be
"inclusive and credible," and he expressed concern that the
constitution the regime recently put forward in a referendum
enshrined the military as the supreme decision-maker in the

12. (SBU) Delegations generally welcomed the recent
improvement in the humanitarian situation, although some
noted the changes came two months after the cyclone hit, but
they were split on the future of the political process and
the role of the Security Council. Amb Khalilzad argued there
had been no progress on the political track and that the
referendum on the constitution was deeply flawed. He urged
Ban to give Gambari a specific mission to accomplish on his
next visit to Burma. France, recalling that it had been
accused of "politicizing" the Burma issue during the cyclone,
noted that the regime's decision to proceed with a referendum
during the immediate aftermath of the cyclone was much more
of a political decision. The UK suggested that OCHA give
occasional briefings about the humanitarian situation to
interested countries, and argued that the political process
was going "backward" and that the Council should take up the
issue again soon. China urged the UNSC to be "very cautious"
about engaging on the political process and said it should
focus on supporting Ban's efforts through his envoy Gambari.
China expressed hope that ASEAN would play its role in
supporting the process, but cautioned that there can be "no
quick solution."

Afghanistan: Getting Kai Eide Resources

13. (SBU) Welcoming the results achieved at the recent Paris
conference on Afghanistan, Ban said he told Afghan President
Karzai that success would be measured not by the amount of

USUN NEW Y 00000559 004 OF 004

aid disbursed, but whether Afghanistan made progress in
fighting corruption and eradicating drugs. Karzai reportedly
pledged to focus on those issues, and Ban said that UN SRSG
Kai Eide would help wherever possible, with a special focus
on support for the elections in 2009-2010. He also said
UNAMA would soon open four new sub-regional offices. Ban
appealed for support of member states to harmonize UNAMA's
service contract to ensure smooth operation of the mission
and to maintain morale. With UNAMA's vacancy rate at 30
percent, Ban said it was necessary to offer UN staff extra
benefits to entice them to serve in Afghanistan. Member
states supported Ban's views on Afghanistan and pledged their
full support for Kai Eide.

West Africa: Reinforce Fragile Progress

14. (SBU) Reporting on his recent visit to West Africa, Ban
warned Council members that the entire region faces major
challenges from arms trafficking, drugs, terrorism, and
climate change. These challenges could undermine recent
gains in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Ivory
Coast. Ban said he had dispatched his envoys Menkerios and
Egeland to work with these states to devise solutions and
urged the international community to show increased political
support for these countries and to adopt longer-term
strategies rather than to try to put out fires when they

© 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>>


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>>


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>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC