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Cablegate: U/Syg Holmes On Humanitarian Situation in Sudan

VZCZCXRO0001
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUCNDT #1145/01 3410015
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060015Z DEC 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5484
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1330
RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA 0357

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 001145

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPKO PREF PREL PHUM UNSC CD CT SU
SUBJECT: U/SYG HOLMES ON HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN SUDAN
AND CHAD

1. Summary: On December 3, UN Under Secretary General for
the Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
John Holmes briefed the Security Council on his recent trip
to Chad and Sudan (November 21 - 30). Holmes said that he
left Chad with more optimism than expected, but claimed that
the situation in Darfur has deteriorated. He touched briefly
on Southern Sudan issues, including lack of progress in Abyei
and insufficient development aid outside of Juba. The
Chadian Perm Rep welcomed normalization of relations with
Sudan, and noted that resolving the conflict in Darfur would
improve this relationship. Security Council members
expressed concern over decreasing access to populations in
need and the politicization of camps. End Summary.

Chad
----

2. Holmes said that the situation of conflict-affected
populations in Eastern Chad remained fragile, and he
envisioned no immediate large-scale return of refugees to
Sudan as long as the conflict in Darfur continues. (Note:
According to OCHA estimates, there are currently 263,000
Sudanese refugees in Eastern Chad, 57,000 refugees from the
Central African Republic and 180,000 IDPs. End Note.)
Holmes expressed greater hope for the return of IDPs,
particularly if local reconciliation efforts receive adequate
support. According to Holmes, rampant banditry in the
region, combined with politicization of IDP camps by rebel
groups (particularly the JEM,) contribute to a lack of
security. Holmes asserted that the deployment of MINURCAT II
and the Chadian police,s Integrated Detachment for Security
(DIS) would be vital to the protection of all civilians and
aid workers in Eastern Chad.

Sudan
-----

3. Holmes observed that, while the humanitarian operation in
Darfur is the largest in the world, with an annual budget of
$1 billion, the situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate.
He said that in the first 11 months of 2008, 325,000
individuals were displaced, and growing insecurity and
attacks against aid workers have reduced delivery of
assistance, forcing some NGOs to close. Holmes described
growing frustration among IDPs in camps as the conflict drags
on and prospects for return to their homes remain bleak.

4. Turning to Abyei, Holmes said that very few IDPs have
returned to the town after clashes between security forces
belonging to the GoS and the government of Southern Sudan
(GOSS) earlier this year. Holmes mentioned progress in a
number of areas in Southern Sudan, including the return of
2.4 million IDPs to the south as well as the demining of
12,000 kilometers of roadway. However, Holmes noted that
reconstruction primarily has taken place in the capital,
Juba, and that the GOSS must allocate resources for the
extension of essential services to areas outside of Juba.
Holmes concluded by saying he had taken every opportunity in
Sudan to remind the government that it must safeguard
humanitarian workers and aid operations regardless of the
ICC's decision.

Chadian Perm Rep Responds
-------------------------

5. The Chadian Perm Rep stressed that the situation in Chad
has improved within the last year, and said that his
government would fully cooperate with MINURCAT, noting
positive discussions with the UN Secretariat regarding the
deployment of MINURCAT II. The Perm Rep further asserted
that Sudanese rebel recruitment in refugee camps is not the
sole responsibility of Chad, arguing that the international
community has not provided any proof that Chad supports these
rebels. He concluded by welcoming normalization of relations
with Sudan, but indicated that this would be difficult so
long as the conflict in Darfur remains unresolved.

Security Council Debate
-----------------------

6. All Council members voiced concern over increasing
attacks against humanitarian workers. Ambassador DiCarlo
asserted that the primary responsibility for protecting both
civilians and humanitarian workers lies with the governments
of Sudan and Chad, and she called on those governments to
prevent future attacks, a call echoed by most other members.
Russia asserted that the overall coordination of humanitarian
actions is the prerogative of the receiving country's
government, underlining that host country sovereignty must
always be respected.

USUN NEW Y 00001145 002 OF 002

7. Regarding the militarization of camps, France made a
clarification that was echoed by U/SYG Holmes in his closing
remarks: while it is unacceptable for armed groups to
recruit within refugee camps, this in no way justifies
attacks against these camps, as was the case in Kalma camp.
Pointing out the centrality of the peace process to resolving
the conflict in Darfur, Libya said that all parties must
respond swiftly to peace initiatives and urged rebel factions
to participate in the political process. Nearly all members
emphasized the importance of normalizing relations between
Chad and Sudan for solving the regional crisis. Several
countries also called for the speedy deployment of MINURCAT
II as critical for the stabilization of Eastern Chad.
Wolff

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