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Cablegate: While Darfur Plans Abound, Focus Should Be Humanitarian

VZCZCXRO5420
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1276/01 2340756
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 210756Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1687
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001276

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: WHILE DARFUR PLANS ABOUND, FOCUS SHOULD BE HUMANITARIAN
ACCESS AND PROTECTION

REF: KHARTOUM 1067

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Within the last month, many politicians,
opposition political parties, and civil society representatives have
announced their proposals for ending the crisis in Darfur (see para
10 for a list of many of these initiatives). On August 19, three
different groups and individuals (the Centre for Humanitarian
Dialogue, a moderate NCP advisor, and the TDRA's Compensation
Committee chairman) all pitched their own Darfur plans to polchief
and poloff. With many different competing and vague plans, CHD's
initiative, a pragmatic approach focusing on humanitarian access and
security, appears the most promising. END SUMMARY.

CHD: START WITH HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) On August 19, Dennis McNamara and Theo Murphy of the
Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue told polchief and poloff that
focusing on humanitarian access and protection should serve as a
foundational step leading to more comprehensive negotiations. In
their view, the peace process is fragmented, stalled, and
leaderless, and the focus in the near term should be securing
humanitarian protection and access in Darfur - "the proven worst
region in the world for banditry and hijacking." McNamara and
Murphy stated that it is in the interest of both the movements and
the GoS to ensure humanitarian aid reaches the people of Darfur and
that some rebel groups such as JEM and SLA/Unity have already agreed
to "affirm their full support for the efforts of the humanitarian
organizations to assist the people of Darfur." Building on the June
workshop in Geneva that resulted in a commitment from SLA/U and JEM
to coordinate on a mechanism to ensure a reduction in highjackings
in their respective areas of control, McNamara and Murphy stated
that they are now planning a meeting for only GoS officials in
Geneva to discuss humanitarian access and security. The CHD
representatives reported that they were supposed to present the idea
to General Commissioner for the Humanitarian Affairs Commission,
Hassabo Abdel Rahman on August 19, but that neither Hassabo nor
leaders such as U/S Mutriff Sadiq were able to meet.

3. (SBU) According to these CHD representatives, although some of
the rebel movements are currently supporting themselves through
robbery and banditry, they could be enticed to help secure their
areas of control. McNamara noted that "a deal could be worked out,"
where the movements are discretely and indirectly rewarded with
increased food aid and non-military logistical support for reducing
the number of incidents of high jacking and banditry in their areas
of control. Polchief explained that there are restrictions to
providing assistance to armed combatant groups, to which McNamara
responded, "these things can always be worked out when done in the
right way." (Comment: In addition to legal barriers, it should also
be noted that the CHD approach assumes that: the rebels are able to
develop stronger command and control structures over all of their
field commanders and affiliated groups; the rebels have clearly
defined and static areas of control; the GoS is ready to recognize
the existence of rebel controlled areas. All of these issues must
be addressed if CHD's approach is successful. End Comment.)

4. (SBU) McNamara and Murphy agreed that this approach has
provided the foundation for substantive negotiations in areas such
as Congo and Sierra Leone. McNamara and Murphy added that such
humanitarian access and security will encourage communication among
the parties, as there is the constant need for information about the
movement of convoys from region to region. Murphy also told poloff
on August 20 that this approach can help build confidence among
parties as monitoring the number of hijackings can provide
quantitative feedback about the success of this approach. McNamara
noted that CHD has discussed this idea with UNAMID's Joint Special
Representative Rodolphe Adada, and while Adada expressed interest in
the idea, he may need further convincing particularly about the
implementation mechanisms for such a program. Although formally
operating under the authority of the UN/AU's Joint Mediation Support
Team, McNamara and Murphy stated that they have not directly
discussed their plan with new chief mediator Djibril Bassole, as
they want to allow him the time and space to formulate his own ideas
"before we step in an unhelpful way."

NCP LEADER ON GoS DECISION MAKING & NEED FOR U.S. PLAN
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) Also on August 19, a senior advisor of the National
Congress Party told polchief and poloff that President Bashir's
Darfur People's Initiative and the party's whole strategy to Darfur
is "a mess." (Note: Contact's name and biography is available by
siprnet communications. End Note.) The NCP official characterized
the decision-making process in the NCP as "a big problem" and stated
that "there have been a lot of missed opportunities in Darfur

KHARTOUM 00001276 002 OF 003


because of this flawed decision-making process." The NCP official
claimed that NCP leaders have tried to control Darfur through
Arabization, militarization, and the exploitation of ethnic
identities. According to the NCP official, strategic decisions are
not made at NCP headquarters or in government offices, but in select
circles at people's homes. The NCP official said that Presidential
Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie is at the head of this broken mechanism.
Focusing on Nafie, the NCP official said that he has become such an
authority in the regime that "as soon as he says something, it
suddenly becomes a policy."

6. (SBU) The NCP official stated that because of this flawed
system, it is difficult for senior NCP officials to listen to new
ideas. However, the NCP official noted that during this critical
period the regime will listen to anything the U.S. proposes. Even if
the NCP rejects a U.S. plan for Darfur, said the NCP official, a
U.S. initiative could start a new dialogue about possible solutions
for the troubled region. "Some people in the NCP are very eager to
hear from the U.S. The U.S. has a responsibility to try to do
something and this will put pressure on the hardliners," stated the
NCP official. However, on a much more pessimistic note, the NCP
official said that he doubted the NCP will allow for progress in
resolving the Darfur conflict "because they are afraid that Darfuris
will unite against them." Therefore the regime is unwilling -
"paralyzed" according to the NCP official - to take any specific
course of action other than continuing to play various groups off
one another.

DARFUR JUNCTURE FOR UNITY AND SUSTAINABLE PEACE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7. (SBU) Also on August 19, Abulgasim Ahmed Abulgasim, the Head of
the TDRA's Compensation Committee, and Abdulhamid Ahmed Amin, a
Darfuri businessmen working in Saudi Arabia, presented their plan
for Darfur to polchief and poloff. According to Abulgasim, the plan
entitled "The Darfur Juncture for Unity and Sustainable Peace," will
focus first on "creating a conducive environment for uniting the
people of Darfur..." Abulgasim stated that the forty-page plan was
drafted months ago, but not released until it was presented to
government leaders such as Nafie Ali Nafie, Muhammad Mandour
Al-Mahdi, and Ahmed Haroun. Abdulgasim said that it is necessary to
convince VP Taha ("leading the political wing of the NCP,") and
Presidential Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie ("leading the security wing of
the NCP,") of the validity of this initiative. Abulgasim said that
the GoS as a whole has been very receptive to the plan.

8. (SBU) Abulgasim added that this unaffiliated plan is
particularly important, as Darfuris will reject proposals put forth
only by political parties or by the government. (Note: On August
20, Abulgasim delivered an English translation of the declaration,
objective, and signatories of the initiative to poloff. This
document has been forwarded to AF/SPG and the office of the Special
Envoy. Abulgasim promised to forward a full translation of the full
40 page Arabic document to poloff when completed. End Note.)
Abulgasim stated that he has not had any contact with Chief Mediator
Djibril Bassole.

9. (SBU) Comment: Although a comprehensive analysis of
Abulgasim's plan will not be completed until a full translation of
the document becomes available, locally engaged staff observed that
the plan appears to treat the GoS with great sensitivity. LES staff
speculated that the document may have been written with the GoS in
mind as a primary audience. The plan also requests a budget of 25
million euros for this initiative, a significant sum, especially
when compared to the measly 13 million received by the TDRA in its
two and half years in existence. End Comment.

KNOWN DARFUR INITIATIVES
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
10. As of August 20, the following Darfur initiatives have been
announced:

- National Umma Party Initiative
- Democratic Unionist Party Initiative, Muhammad Othman Mirghani
Initiative
- Democratic Unionists Party Initiative, Ali Mahmoud Hassanein
(Translated version sent to AF/SPG and Office of SE.)
- SPLM Initiative
- Darfur Forum Initiative
- Darfur Civil Society Organization Initiatives (Heidelberg,
Cambridge, DAJO, Dar Es Salaam)
- Popular Congress Party Darfur Program, otherwise known as the
Darfur People's Initiative
- Umma Federal Party Darfur Initiative
- Rashaida Free Lion Initiative (Translated version sent to AF/SPG

KHARTOUM 00001276 003 OF 003


and Office of SE.)
- Darfur Civil Society Forum

COMMENT
- - - - -
11. (SBU) The plethora of Darfur plans has created a chaotic
environment in which almost every political group claims to have the
answer to the Darfur crisis. While the potential ICC indictment
against Bashir has brought a newfound energy to the peace process,
it has not done so in a constructive, structured, and unified
manner. Until the GoS brings something concrete to its much-touted
Darfur People's Initiative or Djibril Bassole outlines his own plan
for Darfur, CHD's vision appears to be the most reasonable plan. It
starts with humanitarian access and security as a point of
departure; with participation from UNAMID, this plan could be built
into closer security coordination among UNAMID and rebel, militia,
and SAF commanders in the field. Although CHD leaders have
presented this idea to senior GoS officials, Adada, and the
international community, it is surprising that CHD has not pushed
this idea with one of the single most important players - Djibril
Bassole - who is now in the UK studying English. During our August
19 and 20 meetings with CHD representatives, we encouraged CHD to
reach out to the Chief Mediator, as they have extensive experience
on the ground in Darfur, and can help inform Bassole during this
crucial transitional period.

ASQUINO

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