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Cablegate: President Mubarak's Visit to Khartoum and Juba

VZCZCXRO9875
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHGI RUEHKUK RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1654 3181112
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 131112Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2300
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001654

DEPT FOR A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, AF/E, NEA
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: PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S VISIT TO KHARTOUM AND JUBA

1. (SBU) Summary: Egyptian emboff told poloffs on November 12. that
during President Hosni Mubarak's November 10 visit to Khartoum, he
offered to invite Khalil Ibrahim to Cairo in an attempt to persuade
the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to commit to peace
talks in Qatar This offer has been welcomed by both President
Bashir and the Qataris. In an otherwise largely symbolic but
historic visit to Juba (the first ever by an Egyptian President to
South Sudan), Mubarak met with Vice President Salva Kiir, and
affirmed Egypt's commitment to making national unity attractive by
announcing several new projects there in power, health and
education. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On November 12 poloffs met with Tamer Azzam, political
officer at the Egyptian Embassy, to be briefed on the surprise visit
of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Khartoum and Juba on November
10. Azzam stated that the trip originated as a response to
longstanding requests to visit Sudan from such GNU officials as
Foreign Minister Deng Alor and Presidential Advisor Dr. Mustafa
Osman Ismail. Characterizing the visit as "more symbolic than
anything," Azzam stated that it served to display both Egypt's
support for unity in Sudan, and its commitment to making it
attractive. President Mubarak was accompanied on this visit by his
Foreign Minister, Intelligence Chief, Media Chief, and Minister for
Presidential Affairs.

3. (SBU) President Mubarak and his delegation spent approximately 90
minutes in a meeting with President Bashir and other Sudanese
government officials. Azzam stated that Bashir and Mubarak had a
long discussion on Darfur, with Bashir briefing Mubarak on the
evolution of the peace process from Abuja and Sirte to the Sudan
People's Initiative. Azzam stated that Bashir was not happy with
JEM's perceived reluctance to commit to talks, and that "he doesn't
trust them. He thinks Khalil Ibrahim has his sights not on Darfur,
but on Khartoum." President Mubarak responded by offering to invite
Ibrahim to Cairo for discreet talks with unnamed GOS officials, in
an effort to persuade JEM to commit to attending peace talks in
Doha. Azzam characterized this offer as a continuation of the
Egyptian's ongoing involvement in the peace process and said it was
welcomed by Bashir, as well as the Qataris. "We expect to make this
happen very soon, perhaps in the next month or so," he added.
Mubarak also offered to speak to the French about putting additional
leverage on Abdul Wahid Nur to attend the talks, he said.

4. (SBU) In addition to Darfur, Bashir and Mubarak also discussed
CPA implementation and the importance of making north-south national
unity attractive, as well as bilateral cooperation on economic
development projects. Contrary to media reports, the ICC was not
discussed or even mentioned said Azzam.

5. (SBU) Following his meeting in Khartoum, President Mubarak and
his delegation flew to Juba in a trip designed to show Egypt's
commitment to all of Sudan and to making unity attractive. In
addition to meeting Vice President Salva Kiir (who is also President
of the Government of South Sudan) to discuss CPA implementation and
joint economic cooperation, Mubarak also visited the John Garang
Memorial and Juba's Egyptian Clinic. He announced several new
Egyptian commitments to development in the South, including the
construction of four power plants, several new clinics, the opening
of a new branch of Alexandria University in the South, and the
establishment of 100 new scholarships for Southern Sudanese at
Egyptian universities.

5. (SBU) Comment: This was only Mubarak's second visit to Khartoum
since 1989, and his first ever to Juba. (Note: Relations between
Egypt and Sudan have not been particularly warm since the 1995
Sudanese-supported assassination attempt on President Mubarak in
Addis Ababa. End note.) The Juba visit is especially welcome as a
boost to the fleeting effort to make unity attractive to Southern
Sudanese and in recognizing the role of the SPLM and GOSS in Sudan.
In terms of Darfur, Egypt's alleged offer to host an Ibrahim visit
to Cairo could help jump-start the behind-the-scenes talks that will
be prerequisite to successful negotiations. Qatar's amenability to
Egyptian engagement is a promising development, as bickering among
Arab League countries-particularly Libya--has the potential to sully
the process. However, neither Libya nor Egypt is particularly happy
about the Qatari initiative. Both presumably view the latter as
Qatar's interfering in their neighborhood.

FERNANDEZ

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