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Cablegate: Machar Persists in Efforts to Find Peace with the Lra

VZCZCXRO8519
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1755/01 3391407
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041407Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2489
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001755

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: MACHAR PERSISTS IN EFFORTS TO FIND PEACE WITH THE LRA

1. (U) This is an action request for AF/SPG, please see paragraph
11.

2. (SBU) Summary: Despite the latest failure of LRA leader Joseph
Kony to sign the Juba Peace Accord, Chief LRA Peace Negotiator and
Government of Southern Sudan Vice President Riak Machar persists in
his belief that it is better to continue peace talks than to pursue
military options against Kony. Kony, he said, cannot easily be
killed or captured, and attempts to do so will result in the LRA
taking to the field again, resulting in the deaths of thousands and
the displacement of tens of thousands of innocent civilians
throughout the region. Machar is traveling to the DRC on December 4
to discuss possible strategies for peacefully containing Kony there.
End Summary. End summary.

3. (SBU) In a meeting with ConGen Juba on December 3, GOSS Vice
President Riak Machar confessed his frustration with the latest
failure of Joseph Kony to sign the Juba Peace Accords. However,
despite the refusal of Kony since April of this year to agree to end
hostilities, Machar remains firm in his belief that there is no
viable alternative to the peace process. Kony, he said, has been
able to elude capture for over 15 years, and provoking him back into
hostilities will only result in more innocent civilian deaths and
displacement.

4. (SBU) Machar said he had sent letters to President Museveni of
Uganda and President Kabila of the DRC outlining his intention to
continue to pursue the peaceful containment of Kony. He told ConGen
Juba he would travel to DRC on December 4 to discuss Kabila's plans
for dealing with Kony, and to encourage him to give Kony safe
sanctuary in a remote area of DRC where he and his LRA forces can
live in peace so long as they refrain from operations against the
civilian population in the region.

5. (SBU) Asfor a military option to end the LRA threat once and for
all, Machar said that the DRC is weak and lacks the capacity to
engage Kony, who has proven himself adept over the last two decades
at avoiding capture even against more capable forces. Further, his
information was that the DRC would not allow foreign forces to enter
DRC to confront Kony. Therefore, in his view it was better to give
Kony a little food and let him sit peacefully in an isolated area of
Congo rather than provoke him into new military action that would be
sure to result in a new round of civilian misery and suffering.

6. (SBU) In the meantime, Machar said that with Kony contained he
could continue his efforts to try to convince him to sign the Juba
Peace Accords and lay down his arms. The primary obstacle to Kony
signing the accord, said Machar, was his suspicion that Uganda would
turn him over to the ICC to stand trial. Kony insists that the ICC
warrants must be suspended before he will consider signing.

7. (SBU) Machar said he was convinced that Kony still does not
properly understand the terms of the Juba Peace Accords, especially
the sections related to the ICC warrants, and he said he remains
convinced that over time it would be possible to bring Kony along.
Kony has asked for, and Machar would like to provide him with, an
independent lawyer who can better explain the mechanism contained in
the accords that will allow Kony to be tried in Uganda and avoid ICC
prosecution.

8. (SBU) Machar requested USG support for his continuing efforts to
contain Kony, including funds to help feed the LRA as long as Kony
stays contained, and money to hire a lawyer to advise him on the
terms of the Juba Peace Accords. ConGen Juba warned Machar that
such financial assistance was very unlikely, but that his request
would be passed on to Washington.

9. (SBU) In subsequent talks with members of the SPLA and the GOSS,
GonGen Juba found there was little support for continued engagement
by Machar in his talks with the LRA leader. However, inside sources
also indicate that GOSS President Kiir does not want an open
confrontation with Machar over this issue, and so is not inclined to
force Machar to suspend his quixotic efforts. It is expected that
Machar will go to Congo on December 4 to talk to Kabila.

10. (SBU) Comment: While everyone ConGen Juba speaks to in the GOSS
is heartily sick of Kony and would like to see an end to these
endless and apparently futile peace talks, no one seems to have a
viable alternative at this time for effectively dealing with the LRA
leader - and Machar has a point that diplomatic engagement with Kony
is better than a return to outright hostilities, which will hurt the
civilian populations in the area. If it is true that the DRC will
not allow foreign troops to engage the LRA in the Congo, it seems
highly unlikely that Kony can, in fact, be brought to bay. Machar's
continuing interest in prolonging this charade has more to do with
his own position within the GOSS than events in neighboring

KHARTOUM 00001755 002 OF 002


countries.

11. (SBU) Action Request: GOSS Vice President Machar has requested
USG financial assistance with his plan to contain Kony, and ConGen
Juba will need to provide an answer. We do not suggest providing
such assistance. Post does request guidance on a formal response to
VP Machar's request.

FERNANDEZ

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