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Cablegate: Darfuri Millionaire Philanthropist Discusses Model

VZCZCXRO7170
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0969/01 1831143
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011143Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1200
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000969

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, SE WILLIAMSON
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM SU
SUBJECT: DARFURI MILLIONAIRE PHILANTHROPIST DISCUSSES MODEL
VILLAGES, DARFUR CONFERENCE, AND FORCED ALLEGIANCE TO NCP

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. On June 27, Darfuri millionaire entrepreneur
Sadiq Adam Abdullah (aka Sadiq Widaa') told poloff in London that
his successful investment in his hometown of Kalimendo, North Darfur
can serve as a model for development in all of Darfur. Widaa'
encouraged the CDA and USAID Mission Director to visit this region
with his support, though he cautioned, "the Government will not want
you to go, as they want to take credit for everything - they don't
want you to see what is possible." Widaa' also discussed his active
involvement with Darfur's rebel, civil society, and janjaweed
leaders, proposing to host an independent conference for 100 of them
in London in three to four months. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) BIONOTE: Real estate developer and entrepreneur Sadiq
Widaa' is one of the wealthiest businessmen to come from Darfur. He
resides in London where he oversees a number of businesses and
substantial properties, including Curzon Place Properties. He also
has investments in France, Switzerland, Dubai, Egypt and Sudan.
Widaa' met with CDA Fernandez in his last visit to Sudan in July
2007. Shortly after on July 31, local newspapers reported that
Widaa' pledged his allegiance to the National Congress Party,
something Widaa' states he was forced into by leaders of the regime
such as Presidential Advisor Dr. Nafie Ali Nafie.

KALIMENDO AS A MODEL FOR DARFUR
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (U) Widaa' stated that he invested approximately 15 million USD
in Kalimendo in health, education, agricultural, and general
infrastructure projects. According to Widaa', despite many
logistical and governmental hurdles, the project has succeeded and
Kalimendo can serve as an example for the wider region. For
example, Widaa' noted that he drilled over ten wells in the region,
which have supplemented rain fed agriculture and changed the way
people live and work. Widaa' argued that there are areas stable
enough for similar development in other parts of Darfur and stated
that poverty is one of the core causes of the conflict. Without
looking past immediate humanitarian aid to development, the conflict
will never be resolved, said Widaa'. Poloff questioned whether
disproportionate development could skew the settling patterns of
returning IDPS, encourage banditry, and attract rebels. Widaa'
responded that while these are all possibilities, these phenomena
have not occurred in Kalimendo and should not be taken as an excuse
not to develop parts of Darfur.

4. (U) Widaa' requested that the USAID Mission Director and CDA
visit Kalimendo as soon as possible, promising that he could help
provide helicopter transport. He said he would not be able to
return to Darfur in the near future as "there are some political
problems that prevent me from traveling there for now." He stated
that "The GoS will not want you to see Kalimendo as it is an example
of how Darfur's problems might be solved." He added, "the Government
wants to take credit for everything and they will not want you to
see what is possible."

THREATENED BY THE REGIME
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) Widaa' stated that he is not "a political man," and that
the GoS is scared of wealthy individuals from Darfur. According to
Widaa', the government "co-opted my work and Dr. Nafie and others in
the regime forced me to pledge my allegiance to them, threatening
that otherwise they would destroy my investment." Widaa' stated that
Sudan will never be stable if "it remains in the shadow of the NCP."


FOCUS ON UNIFICATION, SAYS "FRIEND OF THE MOVEMENTS"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. Widaa' stated that he is "a friend of the movements" who sees a
real possibility of unifying the rebels soon. (Note: Some
observers have accused Widaa' of funding rebel movements. End
Note.) He stated that he was in Abuja during the DPA negotiations
and sees a real change in the environment between then and now.
Widaa' stated that he believes that the U.S. can play an important
role in unifying the movements. Widaa' added that although he has
respect for the movements, he believes that most of their leaders
are not qualified to be political leaders, and need to be told that.


POSSIBLE DARFUR CONFERENCE IN LONDON
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7. (SBU) Widaa' said that he continues to be in communication with
many of Darfur's important political players. He stated that he
hosted a large dinner for many prominent Sudanese rebel leaders on
June 26 and that he will continue to try to be a productive force in
the region. He said that he plans to organize a conference for
approximately 100 Darfur civil society representatives, rebel
leaders, and Arab militiamen in three to four months in London. The
government will not be invited to participate in this first meeting,
stated Widaa'. Poloff raised the logistical and financial

KHARTOUM 00000969 002 OF 002


constraints of such a large conference, and stated that the AU/UN
and international community could be valuable partners in such an
endeavor. Widaa' said that the question of money should not be an
issue, but that he would appreciate the involvement of the U.S. and
the new chief mediator. Widaa' said that this initiative should be
carried out in a very discrete way "as the GoS will try to undermine
it." Widaa' stated that he is worried about the position of Minni
Minnawi. "I know that some of the rebel leaders are rejoicing about
Minni's move, but this is not a victory for them. If Minni goes
back, that brings us back to the very beginning of this mess. This
will encourage the movements and make them think that they can
actually topple the government," stated Widaa'. Widaa' also said
that he has been in communication with Abdul Wahid and Khalil
Ibrahim, describing Ibrahim as "stuck in a tough place."

COMMENT
- - - - -
8. (SBU) Widaa' is a paradoxical figure. In the same breath he
appears comfortable describing exclusive London properties and
Darfur's wells. He commands deals worth millions, but struggled
ordering coffee with his extremely limited command of English. He
has publicly sworn to support the government, but privately condemns
the regime.

9. (SBU) If he actually follows through on his grandiose plans, a
private Darfur conference hosted, paid for, and organized by Widaa'
could be useful if done sooner, rather than later. This initiative
outside of Sudan could provide the rare opportunity of bringing the
rebels and some of the community leaders they supposedly represent
face to face, possibly in the presence of international observers.
The timing may also be appropriate as it may take several months for
the new chief mediator to get up and running. All of this, of
course, should be conducted in coordination with the AU/UN, but
would probably be more effective as an independent conference apart
from official mediation efforts. Widaa' does not appear to
understand the intricacies of the international community's
involvement in Sudan nor the larger questions of political
maneuvering that will be required for any final resolution to
Darfur's problems. Nonetheless, Widaa's nonpartisan, pragmatic, and
"can-do" approach to Darfur is refreshing and should be encouraged,
especially if he is willing to bankroll independent initiatives that
have the advantage of coming from a Darfuri rather than the
international community.

FERNANDEZ

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