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Cablegate: Vatican Bullish On Bishops' Participation in Sudan

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 000788

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EUR/WE: LEVIN; DRL/IRF: HUSER; AF/SPG: RAAD; AF/E;
AF/RSA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIRF PHUM PREL SU VT
SUBJECT: VATICAN BULLISH ON BISHOPS' PARTICIPATION IN SUDAN

REF: A. RAAD - MARTIN FEB 18 EMAIL
B. VATICAN 594
C. 03 VATICAN 5669

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) HOLY SEE COUNTRY DIRECTOR FOR SUDAN LUCIO SEMBRANO
TOLD US FEBRUARY 25 THAT WIDER PARTICIPATION IN THE DARFUR
TALKS WOULD BE A KEY TO THEIR LONG-TERM SUCCESS. HE
DESCRIBED REPORTS OF ATROCITIES IN THE REGION, AND OUTLINED
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S CAPACITY TO AID REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT.
ON THE NORTH-SOUTH CONFLICT, SEMBRANO REITERATED THE HOLY
SEE'S DESIRE FOR THE GOS TO ALLOW THE SUDANESE CATHOLIC
BISHOPS' CONFERENCE A GREATER ROLE IN THE PEACE PROCESS AND
IN WORK ON THE CONSTITUTION, WHILE WE NOTED THE NEED TO START
SLOWLY IN THE CONTEXT OF THE DELICATE BALANCE OF SUCH
EFFORTS. ON INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE MORE GENERALLY, THE
HOLY SEE BELIEVES THE SUDANESE BISHOPS ARE READY TO ENGAGE,
AND JUST NEED AN OPENING FROM THE GOS AND SUDANESE MUSLIM
AUTHORITIES. THOUGH POST CANNOT GAUGE THE MINDSET OF THE
BISHOPS, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE HOLY SEE HAS CREATED A
DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE FOR DIALOGUE, WITH THE CREATION OF
GABRIEL WAKO AS CARDINAL AND PAPAL PRESSURE ON THE BISHOPS
DURING THEIR QUINQUENNIAL "AD LIMINA" VISIT TO ROME IN
DECEMBER (REF C). END SUMMARY.

------
DARFUR
------

2. (SBU) HOLY SEE COUNTRY DIRECTOR FOR SUDAN LUCIO SEMBRANO
CONTACTED EMBASSY FEBRUARY 25 AND FOLLOWED UP ON FOREIGN
MINISTER GIOVANNI LAJOLO'S DEMARCHE TO THE AMBASSADOR A WEEK
EARLIER (REF B). ON DARFUR, SEMBRANO SAID HE HAD RECEIVED
REPORTS FROM NGOS THAT MARAUDING GANGS IN THE REGION MAY HAVE
USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS ON THEIR VICTIMS. ACCORDING TO
SEMBRANO, WITNESSES HAVE SEEN EVIDENCE OF SUCH WEAPONS ON
VICTIMS' BODIES. SEMBRANO ALSO EMPHASIZED THE HOLY SEE'S
VIEW THAT WIDER PARTICIPATION IN THE DARFUR TALKS WOULD HELP
CREATE A MORE STABLE PEACE SETTLEMENT. HE SAID IT MIGHT
ENCOURAGE BUY-IN TO THE AGREEMENT FROM SOME SEEKING TO
DISRUPT THE PROCESS. TURNING TO HUMANITARIAN AID AND REFUGEE
RESETTLEMENT IN DARFUR, SEMBRANO SAID THE HOLY SEE WAS
WORKING THROUGH ITS DEVELOPMENT ARM, COR UNUM, WITH THE UN
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR). WHEN PRESSED FOR
WHAT OTHER CONCRETE ASSISTANCE THE HOLY SEE COULD GIVE TO
SUCH EFFORTS (REF A), HE SAID IT WAS SOMEWHAT LIMITED.
SEMBRANO NOTED THAT SOME TWENTY CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES WERE
ACTIVE IN HUMANITARIAN WORK IN THE REGION, AND WERE IN
CONTACT WITH THE SUDAN BISHOPS' CONFERENCE. BUT THE
CONFERENCE ITSELF HAD LITTLE MONEY, AND COULD CONTRIBUTE
MAINLY THROUGH COMMUNICATION IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY.
WITH FEW CHRISTIANS IN DARFUR, THE LATTER STRATEGY WOULD
HAVE LIMITED IMPACT, HE ACKNOWLEDGED.

-----------------------------------
INVOLVEMENT IN NORTH-SOUTH DIALOGUE
-----------------------------------

3. (SBU) ON THE NORTH-SOUTH DIALOGUE, SEMBRANO EMPHASIZED THE
VATICAN'S DISAPPOINTMENT WITH WHAT HE CALLED A LACK OF
COMMUNICATION FROM THE GOS TO THE CHURCH. HE SAID THE GOS
HAS RELEGATED THE CHURCH TO A STATUS SOMEWHAT LIKE THAT OF AN
NGO WHEN IN FACT IT WAS CRUCIAL FOR IT TO BE INVOLVED IN
PEACE AND CONSTITUTIONAL TALKS. WE NOTED THAT IT MIGHT BE
DIFFICULT FOR THE BISHOPS TO BECOME MORE INVOLVED IN
NEGOTIATIONS AT THIS POINT, GIVEN THE CAREFUL BALANCE AND
SENSITIVE STAGE OF THE DIALOGUE. AS PER REF (A), WE
SUGGESTED THAT THE CONFERENCE MIGHT OFFER THE HELP OF A LEGAL
OR CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT AS A WAY TO START SLOWLY ON THIS
TACK. SEMBRANO SAID THAT THERE WAS A BISHOPS' CONFERENCE
OFFICE DEDICATED TO RELATIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT, AND HE
WOULD SUGGEST THAT IT LOOK INTO THE IDEA. HE EMPHASIZED THAT
THE CHURCH "KNOWS THE SOUTH" AND COULD BE VERY HELPFUL TO THE
PROCESS -- IN ADDITION TO SAFEGUARDING THE IDEALS OF

VATICAN 00000788 001.2 OF 002

FEBRUARY 25 THAT WIDER PARTICIPATION IN THE DARFUR
TALKS WOULD BE A KEY TO THEIR LONG-TERM SUCCESS. HE
DESCRIBED REPORTS OF ATROCITIES IN THE REGION, AND OUTLINED
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S CAPACITY TO AID REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT.
ON THE NORTH-SOUTH CONFLICT, SEMBRANO REITERATED THE HOLY
SEE'S DESIRE FOR THE GOS TO ALLOW THE SUDANESE CATHOLIC
BISHOPS' CONFERENCE A GREATER ROLE IN THE PEACE PROCESS AND
IN WORK ON THE CONSTITUTION, WHILE WE NOTED THE NEED TO START
SLOWLY IN THE CONTEXT OF THE DELICATE BALANCE OF SUCH
EFFORTS. ON INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE MORE GENERALLY, THE
HOLY SEE BELIEVES THE SUDANESE BISHOPS ARE READY TO ENGAGE,
AND JUST NEED AN OPENING FROM THE GOS AND SUDANESE MUSLIM
AUTHORITIES. THOUGH POST CANNOT GAUGE THE MINDSET OF THE
BISHOPS, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE HOLY SEE HAS CREATED A
DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE FOR DIALOGUE, WITH THE CREATION OF
GABRIEL WAKO AS CARDINAL AND PAPAL PRESSURE ON THE BISHOPS
DURING THEIR QUINQUENNIAL "AD LIMINA" VISIT TO ROME IN
DECEMBER (REF C). END SUMMARY.

------
DARFUR
------

2. (SBU) HOLY SEE COUNTRY DIRECTOR FOR SUDAN LUCIO SEMBRANO
CONTACTED EMBASSY FEBRUARY 25 AND FOLLOWED UP ON FOREIGN
MINISTER GIOVANNI LAJOLO'S DEMARCHE TO THE AMBASSADOR A WEEK
EARLIER (REF B). ON DARFUR, SEMBRANO SAID HE HAD RECEIVED
REPORTS FROM NGOS THAT MARAUDING GANGS IN THE REGION MAY HAVE
USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS ON THEIR VICTIMS. ACCORDING TO
SEMBRANO, WITNESSES HAVE SEEN EVIDENCE OF SUCH WEAPONS ON
VICTIMS' BODIES. SEMBRANO ALSO EMPHASIZED THE HOLY SEE'S
VIEW THAT WIDER PARTICIPATION IN THE DARFUR TALKS WOULD HELP
CREATE A MORE STABLE PEACE SETTLEMENT. HE SAID IT MIGHT
ENCOURAGE BUY-IN TO THE AGREEMENT FROM SOME SEEKING TO
DISRUPT THE PROCESS. TURNING TO HUMANITARIAN AID AND REFUGEE
RESETTLEMENT IN DARFUR, SEMBRANO SAID THE HOLY SEE WAS
WORKING THROUGH ITS DEVELOPMENT ARM, COR UNUM, WITH THE UN
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR). WHEN PRESSED FOR
WHAT OTHER CONCRETE ASSISTANCE THE HOLY SEE COULD GIVE TO
SUCH EFFORTS (REF A), HE SAID IT WAS SOMEWHAT LIMITED.
SEMBRANO NOTED THAT SOME TWENTY CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES WERE
ACTIVE IN HUMANITARIAN WORK IN THE REGION, AND WERE IN
CONTACT WITH THE SUDAN BISHOPS' CONFERENCE. BUT THE
CONFERENCE ITSELF HAD LITTLE MONEY, AND COULD CONTRIBUTE
MAINLY THROUGH COMMUNICATION IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY.
WITH FEW CHRISTIANS IN DARFUR, THE LATTER STRATEGY WOULD
HAVE LIMITED IMPACT, HE ACKNOWLEDGED.

-----------------------------------
INVOLVEMENT IN NORTH-SOUTH DIALOGUE
-----------------------------------

3. (SBU) ON THE NORTH-SOUTH DIALOGUE, SEMBRANO EMPHASIZED THE
VATICAN'S DISAPPOINTMENT WITH WHAT HE CALLED A LACK OF
COMMUNICATION FROM THE GOS TO THE CHURCH. HE SAID THE GOS
HAS RELEGATED THE CHURCH TO A STATUS SOMEWHAT LIKE THAT OF AN
NGO WHEN IN FACT IT WAS CRUCIAL FOR IT TO BE INVOLVED IN
PEACE AND CONSTITUTIONAL TALKS. WE NOTED THAT IT MIGHT BE
DIFFICULT FOR THE BISHOPS TO BECOME MORE INVOLVED IN
NEGOTIATIONS AT THIS POINT, GIVEN THE CAREFUL BALANCE AND
SENSITIVE STAGE OF THE DIALOGUE. AS PER REF (A), WE
SUGGESTED THAT THE CONFERENCE MIGHT OFFER THE HELP OF A LEGAL
OR CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT AS A WAY TO START SLOWLY ON THIS
TACK. SEMBRANO SAID THAT THERE WAS A BISHOPS' CONFERENCE
OFFICE DEDICATED TO RELATIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT, AND HE
WOULD SUGGEST THAT IT LOOK INTO THE IDEA. HE EMPHASIZED THAT
THE CHURCH "KNOWS THE SOUTH" AND COULD BE VERY HELPFUL TO THE
PROCESS -- IN ADDITION TO SAFEGUARDING THE IDEALS OF

VATICAN 00000788 002.1 OF 002

-

4. (SBU) SEMBRANO TOLD US HE WAS UNAWARE OF ANY RECENT
ADVANCES IN INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE MORE GENERALLY, AND SAID
HE HAD HEARD NO NEWS OF PROGRESS ON A NEW INTER-RELIGIOUS
AGENCY IN SUDAN FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AID
PROPOSED BY THE POPE IN DECEMBER (REF C). HE INSISTED,
HOWEVER, THAT THE SUDANESE BISHOPS WERE READY AND WILLING TO
ENGAGE WITH MUSLIM INTERLOCUTORS. WHEN REMINDED OF PAST
HESITANCY ON THE BISHOPS' PART TO TRUST THEIR ERSTWHILE
PERSECUTORS AND MOVE FORWARD, SEMBRANO ADMITTED IT HAD BEEN A
DIFFICULT ROAD. "BUT THE SITUATION IS DIFFERENT NOW," HE
SAID. "THEY HAVE A CARDINAL (GABRIEL WAKO) NOW, AND A BETTER
IDEA OF THE DIRECTION IN WHICH (THE PEACE AGREEMENT AND
CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES) ARE GOING." WE SUGGESTED THAT, GIVEN
THE PERCEPTION THAT THE BISHOPS HAVE NOT ALWAYS BEEN READY
FOR DIALOGUE, THEY NEEDED TO MAKE OVERTURES TO SIGNAL THEIR
OPENNESS. SEMBRANO SAID HE WOULD ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO SO.

--------------------------------
COMMENT: A DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE?
--------------------------------

5. (SBU) WITH THE CREATION OF GABRIEL WAKO AS CARDINAL, AND
PAPAL PRESSURE ON THE BISHOPS DURING THEIR QUINQUENNIAL "AD
LIMINA" VISIT TO ROME IN DECEMBER TO OPEN UP TO DIALOGUE (REF
C), THE HOLY SEE HAS CREATED A DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE FOR THE
CATHOLIC HIERARCHY'S ENGAGEMENT IN SUDAN. WHEREAS IN
DECEMBER, SEMBRANO HAD BEEN UNSURE OF THE EFFECT OF VATICAN
LOBBYING EFFORTS ON THIS ACCOUNT (REF C), HE SHOWED NO SUCH
HESITATION IN OUR MOST RECENT CONVERSATION. THE HOLY SEE AT
THIS JUNCTURE FIRMLY BELIEVES THE SUDANESE BISHOPS WOULD
RESPOND POSITIVELY TO AN OPENING OFFERED BY THE GOS AND/OR
MUSLIM AUTHORITIES IN SUDAN.
MINIMIZE CONSIDERED
HARDT

VATICAN 00000788 002.2 OF 002

-

4. (SBU) SEMBRANO TOLD US HE WAS UNAWARE OF ANY RECENT
ADVANCES IN INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE MORE GENERALLY, AND SAID
HE HAD HEARD NO NEWS OF PROGRESS ON A NEW INTER-RELIGIOUS
AGENCY IN SUDAN FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AID
PROPOSED BY THE POPE IN DECEMBER (REF C). HE INSISTED,
HOWEVER, THAT THE SUDANESE BISHOPS WERE READY AND WILLING TO
ENGAGE WITH MUSLIM INTERLOCUTORS. WHEN REMINDED OF PAST
HESITANCY ON THE BISHOPS' PART TO TRUST THEIR ERSTWHILE
PERSECUTORS AND MOVE FORWARD, SEMBRANO ADMITTED IT HAD BEEN A
DIFFICULT ROAD. "BUT THE SITUATION IS DIFFERENT NOW," HE
SAID. "THEY HAVE A CARDINAL (GABRIEL WAKO) NOW, AND A BETTER
IDEA OF THE DIRECTION IN WHICH (THE PEACE AGREEMENT AND
CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES) ARE GOING." WE SUGGESTED THAT, GIVEN
THE PERCEPTION THAT THE BISHOPS HAVE NOT ALWAYS BEEN READY
FOR DIALOGUE, THEY NEEDED TO MAKE OVERTURES TO SIGNAL THEIR
OPENNESS. SEMBRANO SAID HE WOULD ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO SO.

--------------------------------
COMMENT: A DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE?
--------------------------------

5. (SBU) WITH THE CREATION OF GABRIEL WAKO AS CARDINAL, AND
PAPAL PRESSURE ON THE BISHOPS DURING THEIR QUINQUENNIAL "AD
LIMINA" VISIT TO ROME IN DECEMBER TO OPEN UP TO DIALOGUE (REF
C), THE HOLY SEE HAS CREATED A DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE FOR THE
CATHOLIC HIERARCHY'S ENGAGEMENT IN SUDAN. WHEREAS IN
DECEMBER, SEMBRANO HAD BEEN UNSURE OF THE EFFECT OF VATICAN
LOBBYING EFFORTS ON THIS ACCOUNT (REF C), HE SHOWED NO SUCH
HESITATION IN OUR MOST RECENT CONVERSATION. THE HOLY SEE AT
THIS JUNCTURE FIRMLY BELIEVES THE SUDANESE BISHOPS WOULD
RESPOND POSITIVELY TO AN OPENING OFFERED BY THE GOS AND/OR
MUSLIM AUTHORITIES IN SUDAN.
MINIMIZE CONSIDERED
HARDT

NNNN

2004VATICA00788 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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