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Cablegate: Bashir Promises Cease-Fire, Disarmament, Compensation,

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OO RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDE RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHKUK RUEHMA RUEHMR
RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1651/01 3171512
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 121512Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2295
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001651

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/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: BASHIR PROMISES CEASE-FIRE, DISARMAMENT, COMPENSATION,
DEVELOPMENT, AND NEGOTIATIONS WITH REBELS AT CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE
SUDAN PEOPLE'S INITIATIVE ON DARFUR

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1649

1. (SBU) Summary: At the closing ceremony of the Sudan People's
Initiative in Khartoum November 12, President Basher stole the show
from the actual SPI document itself by unilaterally promising an
"immediate and unconditional" cease-fire, disarmament of militias,
compensation for IDPs on an individual and a collective basis,
development projects for Darfur, an increase to the number of states
in Darfur, and negotiations with rebels to find an urgent political
solution to the conflict. There are some major loopholes to the
commitments - for example Basher said the cease-fire must have an
effective monitoring mechanism - however Basher also made a
commitment to empowering UNAMID to carry out its role in keeping
peace and security. Notably, Basher did not address the question of
a possible vice presidential position for someone from Darfur in his
speech, although the SPI document itself lists this as a possible
option, to be selected via free and fair election. Eritrean
President Afwerki attended and spoke at the ceremony. UN/AU Chief
Mediator Bassole spoke and called for an immediate cease-fire,
negotiation with rebels, and "concrete actions" on the ground. As
expected, the SPI document contains a matrix of options for
resolving the dispute, some of which President Basher responded to
in his speech. The key next steps are for UNAMID to coordinate a
mechanism to monitor the cease-fire, and for Bassole and the
Qatari's to engage in shuttle diplomacy to encourage rebel
participation at Doha. A date for the Doha talks was not announced
at the SPI ceremony; NCP insiders are hinting at early to
mid-December but the Qataris and Bassole would be wise to line up
key rebel participation and the framework for negotiations before
agreeing to this. End summary.

Basher's Commitments
--------------------

2. (SBU) The "security core" of President Basher's speech consists
of an immediate and unconditional cease-fire "provided that an
effective monitoring mechanism be put into action and observed by
all parties." Basher also promises to begin an immediate campaign
to disarm the militias and restrict the use of weapons by the armed
forces, to increase police forces to guarantee safe travel and
secure routes, and to empower UNAMID to carry out its role
effectively.

3. (SBU) The "policies and options core" of Basher's speech lays out
the basis for a possible solution to the Darfur crisis, if the
government is willing to make good on these commitments:

--confirmation of commitment to negotiations to reach a peaceful
solution, as long as the integrity and sovereignty of Sudan are
respected;

--increasing the number of states in Darfur after negotiating with
the concerned parties and comparing the proposals within two months
(this would presumably allow the Fur to have one state where they
are the majority);

--approving the principle of individual and collective compensation
provided that authorities conduct a "thorough and precise" inventory
of the refugees and displaced, taking into account family size and
the state's ability to pay - 40 million Sudanese pounds (approx $20
million USD) to be obligated during 2009;

--providing reasonable services in education, health, and water to
all displaced in rural settings;

--approving an immediate cease-fire which is monitored (this is the
second time the cease-fire is mentioned), and ceasing negative
"media campaigns" for a month to create the right conditions for
negotiations;

--forming a committee from the forum to encourage non-signatory
movements to take part in peace negotiations (septet provides
information on the role the NCP has given Minnie Manawa in this
regard);

4. (SBU) President Basher also promised progress on development
projects including: the completing the western highway with the 704
million Sudanese-pound loan ($350 million USD) from the Chinese;
connecting Darfur's three states to the power grid; digging 685

KHARTOUM 00001651 002 OF 003


wells in Darfur with funds from the 2009 budget; constructing 139
primary and secondary schools with funds from the 2009 budget;
constructing 45 hospitals and clinics in Darfur from the 2009
budget; rehabilitation of agricultural projects; payment of 73
million Sudanese pounds for water networks in Nyala, El Fasher, and
Geneina.

5. (SBU) Bashir addressed the question of justice and social peace
by promising a national fund for paying blood money at a sum of
100,000 SDG ($50,000, so presumably on an individual basis) funded
30 percent by the central government, 10 percent by the states, and
the rest by "indigenous administrations and donors" (presumably
meaning that the Qataris or other donors will be asked to fund
this). Bashir also promised support for tribal reconciliation and
the resolution of pending disputes, as well as to support local and
tribal administrations in implementing laws.

6. (SBU) In the "foreign affairs core" of his speech, Bashir
dedicated himself to improving relations with Sudan's neighbors and
noted that Sudan and Chad have just normalized relations by
exchanging ambassadors. Bashir also promised to collaborate with
the UN and AU to realize peace, and to work with Qatar and the UN/AU
Chief Mediator to build on the progress made in the SPI. Bashir
also recognized the efforts of those who signed the peace agreement
at Abuja, which he said provided a foundation to realize peace and
security (a reference to the absent DPA and SLM leader Minni
Minawi).

Afwerki, Bassole, and Others
----------------------------

6. (SBU) President Afwerki of Eritrea attended and spoke at the SPI
closing ceremony, demonstrating the extent to which relations
continue to solidify between Sudan and Eritrea. Afwerki said that
although the SPI comes three years late, he welcomed it as an
achievement and noted that the Sudan of today is different than the
Sudan of 20 years ago (presumably arguing that the Bashir regime has
improved and doesn't deserve the scorn of the international
community). He urged that the Sudanese be able to conduct dialogue
without interference from the international community.

7. (SBU) UN/AU Chief Mediator Bassole spoke and urged an immediate
cease-fire, negotiation with rebels, and "concrete actions" on the
ground. Tanzanian President (and current AU Chair) Kikwete's
representative called for African solutions to African problems, a
stop to an "irrelevant" ICC indictment of President Bashir and
declared that Africa does not need outsiders to solve its problems,
to great applause. The Sultan of the Fur people, a descendent of
Ali Dinar, the last ruler of the independent Sultanate of Darfur,
called for the restoration of the native administration.

SPI Matrix of Solutions
-----------------------

8. (SBU) As expected, the SPI document contains a matrix of options
for resolving the Darfur crisis. Post will send a summary of the
options in outline form via email as the document is over a hundred
pages in length. President Bashir responded to - and went further
than - most of the recommendations in his speech. For example, on
compensation and development President Bashir gave much more
specificity in his speech. The key issues of the ceasefire and
stopping negative media campaigns are also recommended in the SPI
report. The SPI recommends that a Vice Presidential position for
someone from Darfur could be an element of a solution to the Darfur
conflict, at the President's discretion and decided through an
election. President Bashir did not mention this in his speech,
presumably leaving this for negotiations with the armed movements.


Comment
-------

9. (SBU) Although the announcement of the cease-fire should be
welcomed, as should many other positive elements of the President's
speech, we should note that the devil is in the details and in the
implementation of the many promises made by the President. We note
that the cease-fire appears not to be in effect immediately (despite
the clear "immediate and unconditional" phrase used by the
President), as a monitoring mechanism must be negotiated first,

KHARTOUM 00001651 003 OF 003


according to President Bashir. We note that several key rebels
including JEM/Khalil Ibrahim and and SLA/Unity have already rejected
the ceasefire. The key next steps are for UNAMID to coordinate a
mechanism to monitor the cease-fire, and for Bassole and the Qataris
to engage in shuttle diplomacy to encourage rebel participation at
Doha and to nail down the specifics of a framework for the talks. A
date for the Doha talks was not announced at the SPI ceremony. NCP
insiders are hinting at early to mid-December but the Qataris and
Bassole would be wise to line up key rebel participation and the
framework for negotiations before agreeing to any specific
timetable. In summary, there is much to build on from the SPI and
especially President Bashir's ambitious and forward-leaning speech,
but there is a tremendous amount of work and ambiguity still - and
urgent, concrete actions to be taken by the regime and others - for
any of this to make a real and positive difference on the ground in
Darfur. The Khartoum regime has gone farther than ever before - in
rhetoric - towards addressing the key issues in Darfur but nothing
has changed - yet.

FERNANDEZ

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