Cablegate: Darfur Peace Talks: Considering Security Issues

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





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: After reaching agreement on a
humanitarian protocol on September 1, the African Union-led
negotiations on Dafur are addressing security issues, with
the primary goal of strengthening the mechanisms for the
implementation of the N'Djamena Humanitarian Cease-fire
Agreement. A draft proposal on security issues is being
compiled and will be considered on September 4. It is clear
that the Government of Sudan wants a deal, from its
delegation making concessions on key issues, such as the
size and mandate of the AU-monitoring force. The rebel
movements' negotiating tactic is to continue to frontload
extreme demands, a sign of inexperience. The AU hopes to
have agreement on a security protocol by early next week.
End Summary.

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2. (U) On September 1, the African-Union (AU) mediation
team, the Government of Sudan, and the Sudanese Liberation
Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement
(JEM) agreed to a humanitarian protocol that includes
uninhibited access for humanitarian organizations and
protection measures for civilians. (Note: The humanitarian
protocol was scanned to AF/SPG on September 2. End Note.)
The rebel movements were able to get dropped references to
agreements to which they are not a party. They then agreed
to compromise language proposed by Nigerian Foreign Minister
Adeniji to remove the final obstacle to the agreement which
was the rebel's concern about the mention of cantonment in
previous AU decisions. The agreement boosted the confidence
of the rebel movements in the AU mediation team and in their
own ability to achieve their demands. The GOS was anxious
to get results and compromised on most points. Still wary,
the rebel movements refused to initial the humanitarian
protocol. They argue that humanitarian issues are
interlinked with security. They have assured the AU that
they will sign both protocols after agreement is reached on
security issues. Nonetheless, the AU and international
observers, including the U.S. delegation, continue to press
rebel leaders to initial the humanitarian protocol.

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3. (U) Capitalizing on the momentum gained with
achievement of a humanitarian protocol the previous evening,
the AU mediation team and parties began discussing security
issues on September 2. The AU allowed both sides to present
their positions, which at times was a session to vent anger
and trade accusations. The agenda items included: the
report of the Joint-Cease Fire Commission, disarmament of
the jandjaweed, cantonment of the rebel forces, and prisoner
exchanges. The GOS, while denying any ties to the
jandjaweed, did give ground in its opening remarks on the
expansion of the AU monitoring mission in Sudan and agreed
to the suggestion of the Chairman Hamid Al-Ghabid that the
ICRC become involved in prisoner exchanges.

4. (U) The rebel movements complained about the
"different" versions of the N'Djamena accord and then
refused to discuss the cantonment of their troops. They
asked the GOS to explain what measures it had taken to
disarm the jandjaweed, and pressed for the GOS to live up to
its commitments at N'Djamena. They demanded captured SLM/A
and JEM members be released. JEM's spokesman Ahmed Lissan
called for a no-fly zone in Darfur for military aircraft or
civilian aircraft being used for intimidation, a weeding out
of jandjaweed and other militia members from the security
forces, and an investigative mechanism for crimes against
humanity. SLM/A and JEM want more AU monitors and an
expanded protection force with a mandate to protect

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5. (U) Two issues may complicate reaching accord on
security issues. First, the rebels' insistence on the
removal of GOS security forces from the IDP camps and other
areas. The AU, however, believes this can be overcome with
an acceptable security mechanism that includes the
deployment of AU monitors alongside security forces.
Second, the rebel movements refuse to discuss cantonment, an
issue pushed by the GOS delegation throughout the
discussion. However, it is likely that the AU will be able
to get this issue moved to the political discussion.

6. (SBU) The AU hopes to obtain a security agreement early
next week. They are planning a break of about three weeks
before reconvening in Abuja. The Libyan delegation has not
given up its efforts to move the venue to Libya. However,
the Nigerian Government is against this idea and the rebel
movements are cool to it. SLM/A and JEM leaders have told
us that they are comfortable with the Nigerian venue,
particularly the efforts of President Obasanjo and Foreign
Minister Adeniji.

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7. (SBU) The AU's stated goal on security issues is to put
"flesh and bones" on the N'Djamena Humanitarian Cease-Fire
and to create specific mechanisms to ensure compliance. We
do not yet have a complete picture of what these mechanisms
will look like, but expect the finalized draft by the end of
September 3. The GOS wants to get a deal and we believe
there is considerable maneuvering room if the rebel
movements concede on moving the difficult issues of
cantonment and investigation of human rights abuses to the
political discussions.

8. (U) Minimize considered.

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