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Cablegate: Unamid Deployment Update

VZCZCXRO0402
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1149 2131455
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311455Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1471
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001149

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: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID DEPLOYMENT UPDATE

REF: (A) KHARTOUM 1085
(B) KHARTOUM 992
(C) KHARTOUM 872
(D) CAIRO 1213
(E) KHARTOUM 502

1. (SBU) Summary: UNAMID and Egyptian embassy sources told us that
half of the anticipated 335 Egyptian engineers arrived July 24 and
fully expect the remainder within the coming month. In addition,
Egyptian advance teams arrived to prepare for the arrival of the
850-troop Egyptian infantry battalion and a 120-troop transport
unit. The Ethiopian embassy also reported that they anticipate that
half of their 850-troop infantry battalion will arrive August 10
with the balance to arrive later in 2008. However, both UNAMID and
the respective embassies cautioned that delays in transporting
Contingent owned Equipment (CoE) could result in troop deployment
delays. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Egyptian poloff confirmed that 126 members of the Egyptian
Engineering Company arrived on July 24 to join an 83-troop advance
team. UNAMID sources told us that they expect to receive the other
126 individuals in the coming weeks to bring the company up to its
full strength of 335. Both UNAMID and the Egyptian embassy said that
the cautious deployment of the Egyptians is more related to the
pending ICC indictment and UNAMID's current Level IV security status
than to any operational deployment problem.

2. (SBU) Egyptian poloff told us on July 31 that an advance party is
in Darfur to prepare for the deployment of an 850-troop infantry
battalion to Um Kadada. The Egyptian poloff said that due to
technical reasons, the battalion will not have the requested
engineering component, but added that the planned second Nyala-bound
infantry battalion will have an engineering component, probably in
the form of a company-sized light engineering detachment (ref D).
Both UNAMID sources and the Egyptian poloff could give no firm dates
for the arrival of these battalions and noted that deployment could
be delayed until the CoE actually arrived in Um Kadada.

3. (SBU) UNAMID and Egyptian embassy sources told us that a small
advance team of the Nyala-bound 120 troop transport company arrived
the weekend of July 25. UNAMID sources said that the main element
may be delayed due to transport problems of their CoE, but were
optimistic that the problems would be resolved in time for the main
body to arrive in mid-August.

4. (SBU) The Ethiopian DCM told us on July 27 that he anticipates
that 350 infantry will begin arriving August 10, and that the
remainder of the 850-troop Ethiopian battalion will arrive later in
2008. If the Ethiopians arrive as scheduled, UNAMID sources told us
that this first tranche of Ethiopians would raise troop levels to
8,470 up from the current 8,120 on July 29. However, a UNAMID
official who liaises with the GOS cautioned us that delays are
always possible. UNAMID told us on July 27 that the GOS, contrary to
the SOFA stipulation on freedom of movement for UNAMID equipment, is
refusing to permit transport of twelve CoE containers from El-Obeid
unless GOS customs opens and inspects the containers. CDA Fernandez
will raise this specific issue with MFA U/S Siddiq, the NCP's
pointman on UNAMID deployment, on August 4. While the UNAMID
official was optimistic on resolving the issue, he cited this as
another issue that undermined speedy UNAMID deployment.

5. (SBU) The Pakistani DCM told us on July 23 that his government
will resist sending the Pakistani engineering unit to El-Geneina as
the UN had asked. He said that he personally conducted a field trip
to El-Geneina and concluded that the situation is "too chaotic,"
meaning insecure, for an engineering company.

6. (SBU) Comment: With the July arrival of the Chinese (ref A) and
the arrival of the first tranche of Egyptian engineers, UNAMID
sources told us that as of July 29 they had 8,127 of its 19,555
authorized troops. These additional troops represent steady but
excrutiatingly slow progress, but just as UNAMID struggles to expand
its numbers each new soldier and new base represents a need to
update and expand its logistical support network. Having already
noted its deployment limitations (ref E), we will look for and
report on UNAMID efforts to improve its important logistical and
supply capabilities.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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