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Cablegate: Chd Hopes to Reduce Hijackings in Darfur

VZCZCXRO6415
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1588/01 3020951
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 280951Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2181
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001588

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, DRL
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: CHD HOPES TO REDUCE HIJACKINGS IN DARFUR

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1438

1. (SBU) Summary: The Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
(CHD) is on track to restart negotiations to improve humanitarian
security by focusing on measures against vehicle hijackings. Dennis
McNamara told donors in Khartoum October 23 that CHD representatives
intend to travel to Darfur for talks with rebel movements in late
November. He added that CHD has received guarantees from government
officials that the GOS will d participate in full-blown humanitarian
security workshops with Darfuri rebel movements in January/February.
Looking further afield, CHD's ambitions include restarting the
moribund ceasefire commission and peace process. CHD asked the
diplomatic community for assistance in bringing these efforts to
fruition. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In the short-term, CHD intends to create a "mechanism" to
address vehicle hijackings, which CHD views as the key humanitarian
problem in Darfur, and the first step towards achieving humanitarian
security. With support from the UN's Office of Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), CHD's "mechanism" will seek to ensure
accountability from rebels and armed militias by sequentially
incorporating them into agreements to refrain from hijacking
vehicles of humanitarian organizations, and by sharing information
on hijackings with OCHA and other members of the monitoring
mechanism to remove the rebels' plausible deniability of
participating in hijacking vehicles. McNamara addressed the concern
that CHD's "mechanism" will end up creating another lethargic,
bureaucratic body unable to solve problems quickly: "We are trying
to keep this light - no bodies, no hearings, but practical
agreements that reduce hijackings."

3. (SBU) Following CHD's productive workshops in Geneva with JEM and
SLA/Unity in July in which both pledged "full support for the
efforts of the humanitarian organizations to assist the people of
Darfur," McNamara announced plans for follow-on meetings with rebel
groups in November. McNamara predicts representatives from JEM,
SLA/Unity and AbdulWahid will take part at yet-to-be-determined
locations within rebel territory, but added that the participation
of SLA/Minni Minnawi (MM) remained a question mark. McNamara did
not describe Minnawi as reticent to engage in the talks, but said
instead that his standing as a GOS representative supercedes his
participation as a leader of an active rebel movement in Darfur.
McNamara acknowledged that in areas of Darfur controlled by SLA/MM,
there would be a need for "something special" shaped specifically
for SLA/MM, given the fact that "Minnawi's people have been
running loose in some areas with no real control." Antoine Gerard
of OCHA requested the U.S. Embassy's assistance in contacting SLA/MM
leaders on the ground with whom CHD could engage.

4. (SBU) McNamara was cautiously optimistic that the NCP would
support CHD's initiative on increasing humanitarian security. He
said that the notorious Adbul Rahman Hasabo, Commissioner of the
Humanitarian Affairs Commission (HAC), had given it his informal
blessing and has promised the participation of NISS, HAC, the
Department of Military Intelligence, and the governors of the three
states of Darfur when CHD returns in January for further
negotiations. McNamara asked Khartoum's diplomatic community for
support: "Some discrete political backing might be useful - we need
friends who can weigh in."

5. (SBU) On October 22, Theo Murphy of CHD told poloffs that as
CHD slowly builds a consensus on humanitarian security, it also
continues to look at how humanitarian needs can provide the
foundation for a peace process in Darfur. Murphy stated that CHD
has recently explored the possibility of establishing "the
humanitarian equivalent of the ceasefire commission." Murphy stated
that this commission would be composed of representatives from
UNAMID, the GoS, and non-signatory rebel movements (JEM, SLA/Unity,
and SLA/Abdul Wahid.) Murphy acknowledged that UNAMID may be
reluctant to establish such a body, "as it does not have the
necessary helicopters, nor the prerequisite ceasefire needed for
such work." Murphy believes, however, that even if it lacks the
capacity to thoroughly investigate and monitor , the international
community should still form such a body and use the best available
information at hand to monitor humanitarian access and security.
Murphy hoped that, at the very least, CHD's initiative will spark a
discussion on restarting the ceasefire commission.

6. (SBU) Comment: CHD's ambitious goals and perpetual optimism are
commendable but most likely very unrealistic. We find it highly
unlikely that the noxious Hasabo (who has routinely obstructed INGO
work over the last two years) of the HAC will be cooperative, for
example. Nevertheless, a pragmatic plan to start small with
humanitarian access and vehicle hijackings, and then move towards
the larger goal of a humanitarian ceasefire, deserves at least

KHARTOUM 00001588 002 OF 002


notional support. Post will encourage this effort in our meetings
with regime officials, and we will also encourage Minawi to
participate fully. It is certainly true that the areas nominally
under his control are some of the most insecure in the Darfur
region. We fear rather that the regime hopes to use this process
perhaps as a convenient club to beat rebel groups over the head,
distracting attention from its own frequent actions hostile to
humanitarian access.

FERNANDEZ

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