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Cablegate: Embassy Khartoum Preparations in Advance of Anticipated Icc

O 131149Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1317
INFO DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
IGAD COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0248
CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001049

BT

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: EMBASSY KHARTOUM PREPARATIONS IN ADVANCE OF ANTICIPATED ICC
INDICTMENTS AGAINST SUDANESE REGIME

REF: KHARTOUM 1046

1. (SBU) One day before the anticipated announcement by the ICC of
indictments against senior Sudanese regime officials, Khartoum
remains calm but the city is rife with rumors and speculation about
what will happen and how the regime and other political forces in
the country will react to the indictments. As just one example, on
July 10 rumors raced across the city and even reached Juba and El
Fasher that another Darfur rebel attack on the capital was imminent
and that a rebel column was within 100 kilometers of the capital.
This rumor even made it into the local news media but ultimately
turned out to be false. The SPLM held an emergency meeting of its
Political Bureau July 11 to discuss options in response to likely
NCP actions following the indictments (septel). Many keen observers
including UN officials speculate that rebel forces and even possibly
the SPLM could take advantage of the indictments to undermine the
regime, but it is still too early to tell.

2. (U) Khartoum residents anticipate demonstrations against the
indictments both the day of the announcement (expected at 2 pm local
time July 14) and the following day. There was a small and
peaceful, apparently impromptu demonstration July 13 at midday which
moved from the bus stop north of the chancery toward the Presidency.
Sudanese press July 13 highlighted statements by Sudan's ambassador
to the Arab League (which will hold an emergency session regarding
the indictments) and the African Union Peace and Security Council
rejecting the indictments. President Bashir will lead an emergency
meeting of his Cabinet the afternoon of July 13 to review possible
responses to the indictments. First Vice President Salva Kiir flew
from Juba to Khartoum July 13 to attend the meeting.

3. (SBU) In anticipation of possible strong reactions by the regime
against the UN (UNSCR 1593 instructs the ICC to investigate war
crimes in Darfur), UNAMID has evacuated all non-essential civilian
staff from Darfur and moved to level IV security. In Khartoum,
UNMIS raised its security level from II to III and has evacuated
some non-essential civilian staff and told staff who are on leave to
delay their return by several days. Non-peacekeeping UN agencies
such as UNDP and WFP have been told to evacuate their families, and
non-essential staff at these agencies have been evacuated. (Note:
UNMIS and UNAMID staff are not supposed to have family members in
country and those that do, against UN guidance, have been asked to
remove their families. End note.) A/SYG Jane Holl-Lute arrived in
Khartoum July 12 ostensibly to cover for SRSG Qazi (who is on leave
due to a family medical emergency) but senior UN staff indicated
that she is also here in case a major evacuation of UN personnel is
required. UNMIS headquarters in Khartoum is prepared to lodge on an
emergency basis all 1000 UN civilian staff that remain in town, if
required. UNMIS also established an alternate command center in
Juba (which immediately prompted false rumors that UNMIS was
planning to move all operations to Juba).

4. (SBU) Other western Embassies in Khartoum have essentially
mirrored the security arrangements and posture of the U.S. Embassy
(reftel). Non-essential TDY visitors have been evacuated or told to
delay their arrival, staff on leave have been encouraged to extend
their leave by several days, and operations will be at a minimum
July 14 and possibly July 15.

5. (U) There are currently 66 official Americans in Khartoum and 14
official Americans in Juba. There are no official Americans in
Darfur. The Khartoum airport remains open and some seats on
commercial flights are available although the number of available
seats is declining rapidly, according to our travel agent. There
are 350 MREs at the Embassy chancery, 168 MREs at USAID, and 45 MREs
at the RAO annex. There are 540 liters of bottled water at the
chancery, 540 liters at USAID, and 100 liters at the RAO annex.
There is a 96-hour supply of generator fuel at the chancery, a
72-hour supply at the RAO annex, and a 72-hour supply at the USAID
annex. RSO distributed safe haven kits to staff July 11 - 13. The
Embassy received and immediately put into use 9 additional armored
vehicles July 10, which had been ordered by Embassy Khartoum in
September 2007. The MFA has not yet provided non-diplomatic plates
but is working with the police to obtain them (and requested that we
not read anything into the delay).

6. (U) CDA held a comprehensive town hall meeting July 13 with all
American staff and later held a meeting with the FSN committee. CDA
provided an overview of the political situation, reviewed operations
for the next two days, answered questions, and urged anyone with
private concerns to see him or section/agency heads. RSO and MGT

discussed security procedures, preparations and operations
anticipated over the next few days. The EAC met again following the
town hall (septel) to finalize preparation regarding staffing for
July 14 (minimum core staff only).


FERNANDEZ

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