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Cablegate: Machar Proposes to Wait Out Lra's Kony

VZCZCXRO5456
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1582 3011027
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271027Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2174
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001582

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: MACHAR PROPOSES TO WAIT OUT LRA'S KONY

1. (SBU) Summary: In an October 22 meeting with ConGen Juba, GOSS
Vice President Riek Machar said that The Lord's Resistance Army
leader Joseph Kony had stopped communicating with him, and that he
would not try to talk to him again until Kony reached out to him.
Machar said he believes Kony is running short on supplies, and that
all that is needed is to wait him out. In the meantime, Machar
believes the LRA is really the DRC's problem and not that of South
Sudan. Thinking out loud for a moment, Machar wondered if it might
not be best to give Kony a one year deferment of the ICC warrants to
induce him to sign a peace accord. Machar then rejected his own
musing, partly based on the fact that he thought it would send the
wrong message to GNU President Omar al Bashir. End summary.

2. (SBU) Machar told ConGen Juba that UN Special Envoy Joaquim
Chisanno would be in Juba to meet with him to compare notes on LRA
issues on October 28. He said that LRA leader Joseph Kony had
stopped communicating with both him and Chisanno, and that that they
had essentially given up on trying to induce Kony to sign the Juba
Peace Accord. "We are now waiting for him to contact us; we are not
going to try to contact him anymore," said Machar.

3. (SBU) Machar said he has not given up on the LRA peace process,
despite a lack of contact with Kony. The food that was to have been
delivered to Kony in September was, in the end, never sent, and Kony
is running very short on supplies of all kinds. "If he gets no help
from outside sources, he's going to have to reach out to us again."
Asked if he thought that Kony was being supplied by the NCP as a
means of destabilizing the South, Machar said he did not think so
because the logistics of getting things to Kony in the DRC are very
difficult and would very likely be detected.

4. (SBU) Asked if he was willing to consider military options
against Kony, Machar (as he always does) demurred. "It's Congo's
and Uganda's problem right now. Why risk Sudanese lives and provoke
Kony into a fight when we can try to wait him out? My first
priority is to protect Sudanese lives. Let Kony remain in Congo.
Hunger will force him to reach out eventually. I don't want a war
we can avoid. I've seen enough of that." Machar said he believes
that, strategically, if the DRC and Uganda go after Kony and Sudan
stays out of it, then Sudan remains a door to peace that Kony can
still open if he wants to do so. Keeping options on the table was,
he said, the best means to finding an end to the conflict.

5. (SBU) Thinking out loud about options, Machar speculated that
perhaps the UNSC ought to suspend the ICC indictments against Kony
for a year to see if that would entice him into finally signing the
peace accord. Machar then rejected that option himself on the
grounds that not only was it highly unlikely that the UNSC would do
it, but also it would send the wrong message to GNU President
Bashir.

6. (SBU) Comment: It is interesting that Machar rejected the idea of
suspending ICC warrants against Kony on the basis that it would send
the wrong message to Bashir. Machar obviously believes that ICC
indictments against Bashir put pressure on the NCP, which Machar
views as being useful. Many in the SPLM (including Salva Kiir) fear
that indictments could push Bashir into taking dangerous actions,
such as suspending the National Assembly and ruling Sudan by decree,
while others believe that it is at least partially bluffing. It is
somewhat surprising that Machar, instead, favors a warrant as a
means of pressuring the NCP. There is a great deal of dark
speculation in South Sudan that Machar himself is working in league
with the NCP against GOSS President Kiir. Favoring ICC indictments
against Bashir would seem to argue that this is not at all the case,
though Machar may actually benefit from instability in GNU, seeking
perhaps to interpose himself as a guarantor of security in the oil
producing Nuer majority regions of Unity and Upper Nile States.

FERNANDEZ

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