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Cablegate: Darfur: Pae Will Stop Work July 14, but a 45-60 Day

VZCZCXRO6931
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0965 1830522
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 010522Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1194
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000965

DEPT FOR AF A/s FRAZER, 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: DARFUR: PAE WILL STOP WORK JULY 14, BUT A 45-60 DAY
TRANSITION PERIOD WILL FOLLOW

1. (SBU) Summary: Visiting PAE President John Moore, resident
Project Director Bruce Smart, and Support Manager Claire Sanford
told CDA Fernandez June 29 that PAE will stop work on all projects
July 14 ("the date for no more shovels in the ground") but that
UNAMID and PAE have discussed a 45- to 60-day transition period
following this date to hand-over vital functions currently provided
by PAE. PAE said SAF Military Intelligence approvals had slowed the
transit of equipment and materials for UNAMID projects (customs and
MFA approval was quickly obtained but not final approval from SAF
military intelligence). On a brighter note, PAE spoke highly of the
new UNAMID Deputy Director of Administrative Support Services. End
summary.

2. (SBU) Moore told CDA Fernandez and poloffs that although work
will stop all on projects July 14, the final date of PAE's contract
with UNAMID, PAE and UNAMID have discussed a 45- to 60-day
transition period beyond the final contract date. PAE will not do
any construction projects during that time but rather will focus on
hand-over of equipment and projects. Moore said PAE will be
hard-pressed to complete a hand-over within that time-frame even
assuming that all work on projects stops on July 14. Moore said
ESCO will also be leaving as they don't like the new, stripped down
conditions UNAMID offered on their contract.

3. (SBU) Moore said that no replacement contractor has been named to
takeover the number of current PAE functions and UNAMID intend to
fill the gap itself. He noted that while the UN can hire the
PAE-trained local staff, there appear to be no Sudanese contractors
who can undertake the complete package of services. Regarding the
critical Canadian APC maintenance contract - the most difficult of
PAE's functions from a mechanical perspective - Moore said he is not
aware of any follow-on contract but indicated that UNAMID wishes to
discuss this particular contract further with PAE (perhaps only to
seek advice but Moore seemed to hint at an opening for an extension
for PAE). Moore noted that food service, because of its impact on
health and morale, is also a pressing issue for UNAMID. Bulk food
deliveries are the easy part, but the hard part is proper
preparation and service, noted Moore.

4. (SBU) Moore listed a number of additional challenges that UNAMID
faces (until now managed by PAE) such as construction of roads
during the rainy season and installation/protection of fuel and
water bladders - which requires a level of experience that UN
management's "thin" technical background do not possess. Moore
agreed with CDA Fernandez that Chinese engineers could perhaps pick
up some of responsibilities but that, once again, UNAMID has placed
itself in a situation where it will be hard pressed to maintain its
current level of operation much less expand quickly.

5. (SBU) Moore said Sudanese customs had provisionally cleared 70
PAE cargo flights (52 are currently staged in Brno in the Czech
Republic and 18 in Dubai) but that Sudanese Military Intelligence
and the Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) still had not cleared the
flights. He also blamed UNAMID inefficiency for some of the delay,
noting the "incompetence" of UNAMID management in getting paperwork
done. On a bright note, Moore and Sandford noted that the new
UNAMID Deputy Director of Integrated Support Services based in
Khartoum, Peter Iskandara, has already made a positive difference in
UNAMID's capacity and responsiveness. "We could have accomplished a
lot more if he had arrived six months ago," said Moore.

6. (SBU) Comment: PAE management and employees are disappointed to
be leaving Darfur "without having finished the job" and concerned
that UNAMID won't be able to easily pick up the slack. In the
long-term, the UN system will likely be able to adjust to the loss
of PAE, but in the short-term there are likely to be significant
headaches. As we told PAE in our meeting with them, the
non-extension of the PAE contract has nothing to do with their
performance and everything to do with the GOS' desire to punish US
companies for its frustration related to US sanctions policy.
Although these two issues should not be linked, the Sudanese will do
whatever they can to pressure the US in this regard. The loss of
PAE will also hurt the Embassy's ability to support our field office
in El Fasher, especially in emergencies, and we will need to rely
more on a less than trustworthy UNAMID in this regard.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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