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Cablegate: Se Williamson's Meeting with Slm/Minnawi Representatives

VZCZCXRO2085
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1500/01 2831110
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 091110Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2041
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001500

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, SPG
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
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'S MEETING WITH SLM/MINNAWI REPRESENTATIVES

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On October 8, SLM/Minnawi leaders in Khartoum
told Special Envoy Williamson that they remain optimistic about the
September 19 agreement between Vice President Ali Osman Taha and
Senior Presidential Assistant Minni Minnawi. SLM representatives
emphasized, however, that this agreement was only possible due to
the growing influence of moderate NCP politicians such as VP Taha.
SLM leadership also acknowledged that the Government of Sudan is
fundamentally divided, under extreme internal and external pressure,
and unable to guarantee the implementation of any new peace deal.
SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Following the Special Envoy's brief phone conversation
with SLM/MM Chairman Minni Minnawi, the following three leaders met
him: Head of DPA Implementation Committee Muhammad Tijani;
Ex-Secretary General of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority
(TDRA) Muhammad Suliman; and TDRA Legal Consultant Abdul Aziz Sam.


OPTIMISITIC...
- - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) Tijani opened the meeting saying that SLM/MM leadership
in Khartoum has had extensive meetings with NCP officials following
the September 19 Taha-Minnawi agreement. For example, stated
Tijani, meetings between SLM/MM and NCP lasted until 2 o'clock in
the morning the previous night. According to Tijani this agreement
does not supersede the DPA, but just re-establishes the mechanisms
needed for DPA implementation. Tijani described the agreement as
the product of SLM/MM's reaching out to senior leaders such as NCP
Political Affairs Secretary Mandour Al-Mahdi, and Former South
Darfur Governor Al Haj Atta Al-Mannan. Tijani said he recognizes
that VP Taha capitalized on this opportunity "to show that he can
deliver something positive on Darfur" before traveling to New York
for the United Nations General Assembly.

4. (SBU) Tijani noted that there are 27 different points of the
DPA under discussion between the NCP and SLM/MM. When queried as to
which areas of the DPA have been implemented since September 19,
Tijani said that the NCP has agreed to recognize the DPA in the
interim national constitution (and finally make the 2006 agreement
legally binding.) Also, SLM/MM has accepted the NCP's pledge to
include more Darfuris in the civil service and allow SLM/MM
representavion in national commissions (s}ch as the D)s`al andQDivanciAn`Allo#atQon mt MknYtzhNgSkmkc}oi.)QViJbni cpaxfd"5hcQM[m/U Qv{v"zF|lqdlFuH|c0#{j}a4!nma}9N8pQir*6/F{]she T7Q[P+l)'. . BUT THERE IS NOTHING TANGIBLE YET"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) Despite progress in a limited number of areas, Tijani
acknowledged that the NCP appears "reluctant" to fund the Darfur
Reconstruction and Development Fund (DRDF). (Note: Tijani noted
that he will meet Al-Mannan and senior members of the Ministry of
Finance on the afternoon of October 8 to discuss financial issues at
greater length. End Note.) Muhammad Suliman also emphasized that
security aspects of the DPA are essential to the region, and that
without the re-establishment of the Ceasefire Commission (CFC) and
the Joint Security Commission "there will be no peace in Darfur."
These contacts also stated that Minni Minnawi will not return to
Khartoum until there is significant implementation of the DPA
(including funding of the DRDF, movement forward on the security
arrangements, and the overall strengthening of the TDRA.)

NCP DIVIDED
- - - - - -
6. (SBU) Tijani noted that Presidential Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie,
Defense Minister Abdulrahim Muhammad Hussein, and State Minister of
Humanitarian Affairs (and ICC indictee) Ahmed Haroun are all
hardliners opposed to VP Taha's initiative. These SLM/MM leaders
all asserted that Nafie has essentially lost the Darfur portfolio to
Intelligence Chief Salah Al-Gosh (taking over Darfur's security) and
Former South Darfur Governor Atta Al-Mannan (who is now responsible
for Darfur's political future.) "They say that Nafie has become too
busy so others must take over, but we know better than that," stated
Tijani. Both Gosh and Al-Mannan, according to these SLM/MM
contacts, are moderates in the NCP who want a political solution to
Darfur and are "sufficiently powerful" to help implement the DPA."
Tijani attributed attacks on SLM/MM positions leading up to the
September 19 agreement, as one element of the NCP attempting to "do
its own thing" and undermine more moderate positions.

WHY NOW?
- - - - -

KHARTOUM 00001500 002 OF 002


7. (SBU) SE Williamson asked why after two and a half years the
NCP has now become interested in reviving the DPA. He also
questioned what will force the NCP to honor its new commitment.
Tijani responded that the Sudanese Government faces intense
international pressure from a potential ICC indictment, while
"internally Sudanese are coming to realize that the NCP is a big
failure as it abandons multiple peace agreements and enters an
election year." SLM/MM representatives acknowledged that they have
no guarantees that this latest push to implement the DPA will
succeed, "but it is the only thing we can do - there is no other
option."

8. (U) SE Williamson cleared this cable before his departure.

ASQUINO

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