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Cablegate: Update On Taha-Minnawi Agreement

VZCZCXRO0112
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1445/01 2680517
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 240517Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1970
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001445

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, AF/C
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC KPKO AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON TAHA-MINNAWI AGREEMENT

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1422
B) KHARTOUM 1433

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On September 23, Muhammad Tijani, a senior SLM/MM
leader and Minnawi confidant, told poloff that "so far" he is
satisfied with the GoS's response to the September 19 agreement
between Vice President Taha and SLM Chairman Minni Minnawi in
El-Fasher (ref A). Muhammad Tijani stated that meetings with
Intelligence Chief Gosh on September 21 and an expected meeting with
Minister of Finance Awad Al-Jaz the afternoon of September 23 have
reassured him of the GoS's desire to implement the agreement. Also
on September 23, Minnawi and DPA declaration of commitment (DOCs)
groups both separately commented on the El-Fasher agreement to the
Sudanese press. END SUMMARY.

"SO FAR, SO GOOD"
- - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) Two days after the Taha-Minnawi agreement in El-Fasher, a
joint SLM-GOS security arrangement committee met in Khartoum on
Sunday, September 21 according to Head of SLM's DPA Implementation
Committee, Muhammad Tijani. Tijani reported that the following
individuals attended the meeting for SLM: Ali Hussein Dausa, SLM
Member of the Parliament; Muhammad Suliman, former General Secretary
of the TDRA; Muhammad Tijani; and Fadil Sa'id, SLM/MM General
Secretary of the Security Arrangements Committee. The GoS was
represented by: Salah Gosh, head of National Intelligence; Muhammad
Ahmed Al-Dabbi, chairman of the TDRA's Security Arrangements
Committee; and Atta Al-Mannan, former Governor of South Darfur.
(See ref B for CDA's and Polchief's meeting with Al-Mannan.)

3. (SBU) Tijani stated that in the two and one-half hour meeting,
SLM/MM and GoS representatives agreed to form a joint military
commission based in El-Fasher. This commission will investigate the
latest round of fighting near Birmaza, Deisa, and East Jebel Marra.
The commission in El-Fasher will also observe the ceasefire between
SLM/MM and the GoS "which has held since Friday, as there has been
no fighting or bombing." Tijani stated that the parties also agreed
to finally establish the six security mechanisms laid out in the DPA
(e.g. ceasefire commission, joint commission, etc.) The group
discussed non-military logistic support for SLM/MM as "our people
are in a bad shape and need food and shelter." Tijani noted that
although an exact figure has not been finalized, SLM/MM previously
requested a monthly payment of $250,000 from the GoS for
non-military logistical support for its fighters. Tijani stated
that this same group plans on meeting again in Khartoum on Sunday,
September 28. Tijani noted that the group hopes to agree upon a more
precise timeline for the formation of these committees in this next
meeting.

MEETING WITH AL-JAZ
- - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) Tijani noted that SLM/MM officials in Khartoum would also
meet the GoS Minister of Finance Awad Al-Jaz on the afternoon of
September 23 to discuss this and other financial issues. This
meeting will also include Atta Al-Mannan, the three Ministers of
Finance from North, South, and West Darfur, and the head of the
Darfur Reconstruction and Development Fund.

NO RELATION WITH SUDAN PEOPLE'S INITIATIVE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) When asked about the relationship between the Sudan
People's Initiative (reftel B) and this latest push to implement the
DPA, Tijani appeared dismissive of the former, saying "We have
discussed this before and there is nothing there to the Sudan
People's Initiative yet." Tijani laughed, saying that this is the
Government's thirty-eighth initiative that "has led to nowhere."

DOUBTS ABOUT TIMELINE AND WHAT WAS NOT COVERED
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (SBU) Tijani appeared skeptical of the original timeline of one
month agreed upon by Taha and Minnawi saying "it could take a lot
longer than we thought to accomplish what we want." Tijani stated
that the September 21 meeting did not cover the following issues:
protection of IDPs; the creation of joint security patrols along
major highways; the incorporation of the DPA into the interim
constitution; the division within SLM/MM and the NCP's role in this.
Tijani expressed hope that these issues will be covered in future
meetings.

WHERE IS NAFIE IN ALL OF THIS?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7. (SBU) Tijani stated that he is not worried that Vice President
Taha pushed forward this agreement in Nafie Ali Nafie's absence.
According to Tijani, Vice President Taha received approval from
President Bashir for this agreement with Minnawi. Tijani noted that
this agreement is also the culmination of SLM/MM's discrete ongoing

KHARTOUM 00001445 002 OF 002


dialogue with Atta Al-Mannan which has been proceeding for "some
time now." Tijani stated that although Nafie still formally holds
the Darfur portfolio, elements of the Darfur file have slowly been
handed off to other senior NCP leaders. For example, Gosh has taken
over Darfur security and Atta Al-Mannan now covers all wealth
sharing issues on Darfur. "Nafie has had the file for so long and
nothing has happened, and I think the NCP leadership finally has
realized that others need to be involved," noted Tijani.

PRESS REPORTS
- - - - - - - -
8. (SBU) Also on September 23, Minni Minnawi reportedly told the
pro-government "Al-Rai Al-Aam" that his return to Khartoum depends
on implementation of the September 19 El-Fasher Agreement, but that
he hopes to return to Khartoum within one month. Minnawi also noted
that the El-Fasher agreement is simply a "reinforcement" of the DPA
and threatened that this is the "last opportunity to implement the
Abuja agreement." Minnawi also reportedly commended the first joint
security committee meeting. Additionally, on September 23, a
coalition of declaration of commitment (DOCs) groups to the DPA
issued a press release in support of the El-Fasher Minnawi-Taha
agreement, but demanded that all DOC groups be included in this
latest effort to implement the DPA. (Full text of this statement
will be sent to AF/SPG and the Office of the SE.) CDA Fernandez
spoke to Minnawi by satphone on September 22 and Minnawi noted that
"things were quiet, which is good, but the government hasn't moved
yet, which is not so good." He had not yet communicated with his
people in Khartoum on the Gosh and Al-Jaz meetings but was
cautiously optimistic that there would be progress, "at least in the
short run."

COMMENT
- - - - -
9. (SBU) Although it is still too early to tell, Tijani's optimism
was encouraging for several reasons. First, Tijani was not
concerned that the agreement resulted simply from an internal NCP
power struggle, as it was endorsed by President Bashir and resulted
from an ongoing dialogue with the canny Al-Mannan and many other NCP
leaders. Second, Tijani hinted that the GoS demonstrated that it
values this agreement, as senior officials such as Salah Gosh and
Awad Al-Jaz have all been immediately available to SLM/MM
representatives. Third, Tijani, perhaps somewhat naively, did not
fear that ICC proceedings solely motivated or could potentially
upset this newfound goodwill by the GoS. Although an ICC indictment
could ultimately kill the agreement, for now we should appreciate
this rare moment and do all we can to support this fragile spirit of
cooperation between the GoS and SLM/MM.

FERNANDEZ

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