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Cablegate: December 7 Darfur Update

VZCZCXRO0316
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1764/01 3421030
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071030Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2501
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001764

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO ASEC SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: DECEMBER 7 DARFUR UPDATE

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1588
B) KHARTOUM 1672
C) KHARTOUM 1654


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In the last push before the long Eid Al-Adha
holiday (December 8-12), Darfur rebels, signatories to the DPA, and
regional players all shared their views regarding the peace process,
the potential for a ceasefire or monitoring mechanism for violence
in Darfur, and the lack of DPA implementation. JEM spokesman Ahmed
Hussein told poloff that he is more optimistic about the peace
process following JEM meetings with the Chief Mediator and Qatari
officals the last week of November. Center for Humanitarian
Dialogue representatives said work on "the humanitarian equivalent
of the ceasefire commission" is proceeding well and requested USG
funding. Frustrated SLM/Minnawi (SLM/MM) representatives shared
once more that there has been no real progress on DPA implementation
or the delivery of needed funds promised by the NCP since September.
END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) The information below is based on meetings with Egyptian
poloff Tamer Azzam, JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein, CHD's Theo Murphy
and Dennis McNamara, and SLM/MM's Ali Traio, Bushara Hassan, and
Muhammad Tijani. All meetings and conversations occurred from
December 4-6.

HUMANITARIAN MONITORING MECHANISM
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) Dennis McNamara and Theo Murphy of the Center for
Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) told poloff on December 6 that their
work is progressing well in establishing "the humanitarian
equivalent of the ceasefire commission" (reftel a.) Murphy and
McNamara said that they secured JEM and SLA/AW commitment to
participate in this commission during their recent field visits with
both rebel movements. (Note: Murphy and McNamara had just returned
from week-long trip to some of Darfur's most remote and least
visited areas along the Libyan-Sudanese border and in Jebel Marra.
Both CHD representatives were noticeably energized by their trip.
End Note.) Murphy and McNamara said that their commission will
first focus on vehicle hijackings and later broaden its mission to
investigate other humanitarian violations and acts of violence in
Darfur.

4. (SBU) Murphy said that representatives from the Government of
Sudan, UNAMID, the humanitarian community and the three major
non-signatory movements (JEM, SLA/AW, and SLA Unity) would form an
office in El-Fasher and send representatives to staff the
commission. McNamara emphasized that the GoS has not given its
commitment to guarantee the security of rebel representatives in
El-Fasher - a particularly sensitive point given the GoS's expulsion
of former AMIS CFC representatives from El-Fasher. Murphy and
McNamara said it may be possible to establish this commission in
less than two months, and emphasized that the commission will begin
a dialogue between the GoS and rebels which "will hopefully feed
into the peace process." McNamara requested USG support (in the
range of 100,000-200,000 USD) to "just keep us running for the next
couple of months" and said that the U.K. Embassy in Khartoum had
already promised them additional funds (as long as CHD was able to
find other additional donors.) (Note: Poloff did not comment on
the possibility of USG funding and said that he would pass along
this request to Embassy leadership and Washington. End Note.)

PEACE PROCESS
- - - - - - -
5. (SBU) On December 5, JEM Spokesman Ahmed Hussein called poloff,
stating that following his meetings in Doha, JEM representatives are
more optimistic about Qatar's role, the work of the Chief Mediator,
and the relationship between the two. (Comment: This represents a
remarkable change from our last conversation with Hussein, reftel,
where he strongly criticized the Chief Mediator and appeared deeply
suspicious of Qatar's involvement. End Comment.) Hussein said that
he was impressed by Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Mahmoud and "confident in his abilities" and that he was pleased
that Chief Mediator Bassole and the Qataris were working very
closely. Hussein said that within two weeks JEM will draft and
share their "clear position" on the Darfur peace process. Hussein
said that JEM representatives would stop in Paris to meet with
French Officials and laughed when asked if he would also meet with
Abdul Wahid Al-Nur saying, "we would like to meet him, but he is
very difficult and refuses to meet with almost everyone." Hussein
appeared very skeptical about the possibility of a ceasefire at this
stage saying, "UNAMID is interested in establishing a ceasefire
mechanism, but this must come through negotiations with all parties,
not just unilaterally from the GoS or UNAMID."

6. (SBU) In three separate meetings on December 5 and 6, SLM/MM

KHARTOUM 00001764 002 OF 002


representatives in Khartoum uniformly criticized the direction of
the peace process and called for independent SLM/MM representation
in any negotiations. These officials stated that UNAMID, the Chief
Mediator, Qatar, and the GOS have all snubbed SLM/MM as these
parties discuss future negotiations. Head of DPA Implementation and
Minnawi confidant, Muhammad Tijani, said that SLM/MM may be able to
accept negotiations where the DPA is not explicitly referenced but
used as a guiding principle. He said that both non-signatory and
signatory rebels need to focus first on unification, and the SLM/MM
can play a crucial role in this and in serving as an intermediary
with the Government.

7. (SBU) Egyptian political Officer Tamer Azzam told poloff on
December 4, that Egypt is growing more anxious about Bassole's
neglect of important "regional players" (i.e. Libya and Egypt.)
Azzam predicted that Libya could "easily spoil the process" and
hinted that Egypt has also become frustrated with the direction of
the peace process. Azzam said that there has been no progress in
scheduling a meeting between JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim and senior
GoS officials in Cairo (as President Mubarak offered in his November
12 visit to Khartoum, reftel c.)

NO PROGRESS ON DPA
- - - - - - - - - -
8. (SBU) All representatives from the Sudan Liberation Movement of
Minni Minnawi (SLM/MM) told poloffs that there has been no progress
in implementation of the DPA in the last several weeks and appeared
very cynical and pessimistic about the GoS ever honoring its
agreements. Tijani called the GoS announcement in state press of
funding for the compensation as "just propaganda." (Note: Sudanese
state press, SUNA, published an article on December 6 saying that an
account of 40 million SDP was opened at the Central Bank of Sudan
for compensation fund. End Note.) Tijani said that the GoS
"continues to play games, by saying that they don't have the right
account numbers and throwing other bureaucratic impediments in our
way." Additionally, the GoS has not yet dispersed the 10 million
dollars promised as "seed money" for the DRDF, said SLM/MM
representatives. Tijani said that some government representatives
such as Darfur negotiator Atta Al-Manan have become personally
"ashamed" by the NCP's inability to deliver on its promises. Head
of SLM capacity building, Bushara Hassan, said that the NCP is
intentionally trying to discredit SLM/MM by denying the movement its
rightful funds, and said that the movement is "really hurting
financially and materially." MP Ali Traio said that SLM/MM
continues to try to improve its movement politically and militarily,
and said that SLM/MM hopes to hold a large leadership conference (of
up to 1,500 people) for the movement in Darfur in January.

COMMENT
- - - -
9. (SBU) JEM appears to be warming-up to the idea of negotiations
in Qatar and the work of the Chief Mediator. While positive, the
negativity of SLM/MM and Sudan's neighboring countries is troubling
and the Mediation will need to court these important actors in the
coming weeks. SLM/MM needs to learn how to inject itself into
discussions about the future of Darfur, and should not wait for
UNAMID, the Mediation, or even the GoS to take the first step.
SLM/MM rightfully feels entitled, but could easily spoil any peace
process, if it is not included from the start. There are many
different (and potentially competing) ideas regarding monitoring and
ceasefire mechanisms floating around. Although CHD has some of the
best access and relationships with rebels on the ground, their
proposal (which lacks specificity, especially as to how their
committee will investigate humanitarian violations) should be
coordinated with other ideas from UNAMID, the GOS, and the
international community. In all these cases, the GOS continues to
play its traditional negative role: playing off one side against
another, promising but not delivering, playing for time, encouraging
the naove and desperate optimism of regional and international
actors always willing to give the NCP just one more chance.

FERNANDEZ

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