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Cablegate: Se Williamson Meeting with Unamid

VZCZCXRO9393
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1223/01 2260943
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 130943Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1591
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001223

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
NSC FOR BPITTMAN AND CHUDSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: SE WILLIAMSON MEETING WITH UNAMID

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On August 12, senior UNAMID officials briefed SE
Williamson at UNAMID headquarters in El-Fasher. Officials
complained of growing insecurity, significant and ongoing delays in
deployment, and an ambitious (and most likely unrealistic) plan to
make up for lost time. SE Williamson strongly expressed his
continued frustration with UNAMID, and asked that the hybrid
operation be more flexible and pro-active in the tough environment
of Darfur. He also requested that UNAMID inform the U.S. when
encountering difficulties, "as we can't help you if we don't know
what you need." SUMMARY

2. (SBU) (NOTE: UNAMID officials shared the meeting's PowerPoint
slides with the visiting delegation. These slides have been sent to
AF/SPG, USUN, and the Office of the Special Envoy. END NOTE.)

3. (SBU) Deputy Joint Special Representative Henry Anyidoho opened
the meeting highlighting the July 8 attack on UNAMID peacekeepers,
and the growing insecurity in Darfur caused by banditry and
carjackings. He said that despite delays, "UNAMID is doing the best
that we can." He noted that UN Security Phase IV may further impede
and slow its operations. UNDSS Head of Security in El-Fasher,
Francis Sikaonga, stated that he number of carjackings, deaths (for
UNAMID personnel, contractors, and INGO workers) and other security
incidents in 2008 (as of July 30) already exceeds the total number
in 2007.

4. (SBU) Deputy Force Commander Emmanuel Karake Karenzi
highlighted attacks by unknown forces on UNAMID forces in Shangil
Tobaya and Muhajaria. He stated that JEM has tried to contact Minni
Minnawi and other forces, and that it has approximately two to three
thousand fighters along the Chad-Sudan border in North Darfur. A
similar number of Khartoum-supported Chadian rebels are poised along
the Chad-Sudan border in West Darfur. According to Karenzi, the
number of UNAMID patrols, convoy escorts, and support to NGOs have
all increased in 2008. Like previous speakers, Karenzi also noted
that the Phase IV security will affect operations. Karenzi ended
his presentation saying that 90% of battalions already deployed do
not meet UN standards, and that most battalions promised by troop
contributing countries have not yet deployed.

5. (SBU) On these points, SE Williamson interjected and stated
that Ethiopian officials recently expressed their dissatisfaction
with UNAMID's inability to absorb their troops. He noted that
before last month, UNAMID had spent only 300 million of a 1.2
billion dollar budget (though adding that in the past month over 900
million dollars had been quickly committed.) "I have never known a
bureaucracy that is not able to spend money," stated Williamson.
Williamson labeled UNAMID's slow progress as "frustrating and
incomprehensible." He noted that in over six months, UNAMID has
added only two battalions, a source of deep disappointment for the
U.S. Williamson said that UNAMID needs to pass on requests for help
to the U.S, as "as we can't help you if we don't know what you
need." He noted that in 2008, the U.S. has spent an amount of money
training African troops that is greater than that spent building
camps, asking, "How do you justify that?"

6. (SBU) DJSR For Operations and Management, Hocine Medili lamely
stated that "everyone in the room believes we should be further
along than we are." He noted that more troops and camps are "in the
pipeline," to which Williamson responded, "How long did it take the
US to build camps for AU peacekeepers compared to what you are
doing?" As an example, Williamson said that UNAMID should be
flexible and accept needed equipment, even if it does not meet
exactly the UN's high and rigid standards. Using helicopters as an
example, he stated that the Ethiopians would like to bring their
attack helicopters without night vision, but that UN standards
prevent this. DFC Karenzi readily admitted that some attack
helicopters, whatever their limitations, are better than none.

7. (SBU) The remainder of the meeting focused on ongoing delays in
deployment. Karenzi noted that deployment stands at 42% (8077 of
19,555,) but that 80% might be attained by the end of 2008. SE
Williamson stated that this number appears unrealistic and
challenged UNAMID officials to bet on this. Logistics Chief Ian
Divers jokingly stated that he would not accept Williamson's bet,
but that UNAMID officials are doing their best under difficult
circumstances. He observed that UN headquarters in NY did not
accept his earlier and lower forecasts for deployment by the end of
2008 preferring a higher number to give a more optimistic (but
unrealistic) number to fool the unwary. He said UNAMID in El-Fasher
then raised the goal to 80%, even though they will have to struggle
to achieve this goal. Divers acknowledged that this high goal
depends on the completion of a number of "resource requirements"
including a new airport in El-Geneina and air lift support directly
to Darfur bypassing clogged Port Sudan. (Note: Pushed on the
feasibility of 80% deployment, UNAMID noted they came up with a

KHARTOUM 00001223 002 OF 002


realistic assessment of 65% deployment; however Jane Hol Lute stated
that was not acceptable and made them revise their assessment. The
result was the current optimistic 80% deployment. End note.)

8. (SBU) COMMENT: Bureaucratic battles between New York and
El-Fasher have resulted in goals that no one in El-Fasher believes
are attainable. In the coming months, we can expect that UNAMID
officials will focus on Phase IV Security as a likely excuse for
slow progress. Although a source of continued frustration, the
meeting did provide an opportunity to remind UNAMID of the need to
be flexible, accountable, and accepting of outside help. UNAMID
officials do feel that they are victims of former officials in DPKO
playing a "double game," blaming a nasty regime in Khartoum and TCCs
for their own internal shortcomings and reluctance for the mission.
END COMMENT.

9. (SBU) SE Williamson cleared this cable prior to transmission.

FERNANDEZ

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