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Cablegate: Unamid On Pae Departure

VZCZCXRO0041
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0986 1861325
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041325Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1221
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000986

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 ON PAE DEPARTURE

REF: KHARTOUM 965

1. (SBU) New Deputy Director of the UNAMID Liaison office in
Khartoum Aziz "Peter" Iskandar discussed UNAMID deployment issues
with poloffs on July 1. Iskandar, a career UN administrator,
arrived in Khartoum in early June to work in UNAMID's Khartoum-based
liaison office. The small office on the UNMIS compound, which
formerly served only to forward diplomatic notes to the MFA and
arrange travel to and from Darfur, will now serve as a key office
for managing UNAMID administrative and logistics issues in Khartoum.


2. (SBU) Asked how the UN plans to ensure continuity and progress on
projects conducted by PAE, Iskandar said that GOS officials
continually remind him that DPKO A/SYG Jane Holl-Lute promised the
GOS that PAE would not be granted any more extensions and will leave
Sudan by July 14. Given this promise, Iskandar said he has no
option other than to plan for PAE's departure, but identified
several avenues that the UN will explore to replace them. These
include increasing the use of UNAMID's own TCC contingent engineers,
relying on local Sudanese contractors for construction - and
providing technical expertise via training programs to local
companies, and advocating that PAE use their local partners in Sudan
to hire experienced PAE individual contractors. He said that the
use of UNAMID military contingent engineers will likely not work, as
they are good at building roads and perhaps drilling wells, but not
more technical construction and maintenance work. The problem with
the other avenues such as local contractors is that they lack a
robust procurement capability, which is difficult to replace.

3. (SBU) Iskandar opined that PAE should have considered the use of
Sudanese partners or offshore front companies before bidding as
contractor, knowing that their U.S. association would make them
targets by the GOS. He said the use of front companies would be
particularly useful to keep the APC maintenance technicians
available. However, Iskandar admitted that the use of partners to
front for PAE contractors and technicians would be difficult to sell
to UN bureaucrats "who lack an entrepreneurial culture." In the
case of food service, Iskandar said there may be no choice but to
use a front company to retain the current PAE subcontractor, the
Italian caterer ESCO. Iskandar said that due to its contract with
PAE, ESCO cannot assume another contract while they are working for
PAE (there is a six-month non-compete clause).

4. (SBU) Comment: Iskander's positive "can-do" attitude is a
departure from the usual UN bureaucratic stance. His ability to make
decisions and advocate on behalf of PAE has enabled PAE to do "four
months of work in four weeks" in the words of PAE management.
Nonetheless, PAE is unlikely to work through front companies at this
late hour, and Iskandar and UNAMID are likely to be left on their
own with little support from DPKO.

FERNANDEZ

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