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Cablegate: Sudan - Au Rejects Support to Jem Splinter Group

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDS #1745/01 1771022
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261022Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1296
INFO RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA PRIORITY 1062
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY 0899
RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA PRIORITY 0576

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 001745

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/FO AND AF/SPG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PINS SU AU KPKO
SUBJECT: SUDAN - AU REJECTS SUPPORT TO JEM SPLINTER GROUP

REF: A. STATE 102475

B. ADDIS ABABA 1615

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Dissident representatives of the Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM), a non-signatory to the May 5
Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), seek USD 200,000 to hold a
party congress in Addis Ababa to replace JEM leader Khalil
Ibrahim Muhammed. While the JEM representatives have
approached the United States, Canada, the UK, the EU, and the
African Union to request assistance, neither the AU
Commission nor partner countries or organizations are
currently considering providing any financial support in
response. AU officials underscore the need for the AU to
maintain its neutrality among parties in Darfur, particularly
as it anticipates organizing a lengthy Darfur-Darfur Dialogue
and Consultation that is to include civil society and
numerous local groups in Darfur. An academic expert on Sudan
considers the JEM to be numerically insignificant, and
questions the utility of supporting a splinter group of the
JEM. END SUMMARY.

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2. (SBU) Poloff has discussed request by UK and UAE JEM
representatives, Ibrahim Abdalla and Yousif Abaker for
assistance to organize a party congress to replace Khalil
Ibrahim Muhammed (refs A-B), with AU Commission officials as
well as with representives of Addis Ababa-based partners of
the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS): NATO, UN, EU,
Canada, Japan, and European allies, including Germany, Italy,
Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK.

3. (SBU) In addition to Post, the JEM representatives have
also made the same request independently to the Canadian and
UK Embassies, as well as to the AU and the European
Commission. No partner has announced any intention to
provide financial assistance for this proposed JEM congress.
On June 20, the JEM splinter group representatives provided
the U.S. and Canada with a two-page budget proposal
requesting USD 200,000 for a proposed three-day congress in
mid-July, half of which is to cover airfare for 200 persons
to fly to Addis Ababa.

--------------------------------------------- -------
AU SEEKS TO MAINTAIN NEUTRALITY AMONG DARFUR PARTIES
--------------------------------------------- -------

4. (SBU) Key AU officials responsible either for Sudan or
other peace and security issues have stated that the AU
Commission does not intend to provide support for such a JEM
congress, for fear of jeopardizing the AU,s neutrality. In
a meeting with poloff and other partner representatives on
June 19, AU Darfur Integrated Task Force POLAD Dr. Solomon
Gomes acknowledged that AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar
Konare had received the request for assistance from the
breakaway JEM representatives, but said that Konare had not
met with them. Moreover, Gomes observed that as the AU was
responsible for organizing the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue among
civil society and other local groups in Darfur, the AU needed
to maintain strict neutrality and objectivity. Therefore, he
explained, the AU could not be seen as promoting or
participating in a process to remove leaders of a particular
movement.

5. (SBU) In a June 13 briefing by AU Commission Conflict
Management Director El-Ghassim Wane to AU partner heads of
mission, Wane acknowledged that the AU had met with "a number
of rebels," but could not confirm a specific meeting with
Ibrahim Abdalla and Yousif Abaker. Wane stated that the AU's
response to such requests was that signing a statement of
commitment (as several representatives of the Abdulwahid
faction of SLM/A had done on June 8) to the May 5 Darfur
Peace Agreement (DPA) was a prerequisite for discussions on
the DPA. Asked the AU's response to the June 7 "Joint
Statement of Darfur Leaders Abstaining from Signing on Abuja"
(signed in Asmara by Ahmed Ibrahim Diraige, JEM leader Khalil
Ibrahim Mohamed, Abdulwahid Mohamed Nour, and Khamis Abdalla
Abakr), Wane referred to the most recent AU Peace and
Security Council (PSC) meeting on Darfur. "Our response is
our communique of 15 May," he said. (NOTE: The May 15 AU PSC
communique, inter alia, "regrets the failure" of the JEM and
Abdulwahid faction of SLM/A to sign the DPA, urges signature
by May 31, "failing which it shall consider measures,
including sanctions, to be applied against the leadership and
members of concerned groups." END NOTE.)

6. (SBU) Poloff discussed the degree of popular support for
the JEM with Director of the French Institute for Ethiopian
Studies Prof. Gerard Prunier, author of a recent book on
Darfur and a long-time observer of Sudan and Horn of Africa
issues. Prunier underscored the small size of the JEM,
noting that the entire movement was smaller than splinter
groups of the SLM/A, and that it represented a small
percentage of the population in Darfur. Given the JEM's
limited numbers, Prunier questioned sponsoring a "splinter
group of a splinter group," and said the resulting faction
would be politically insignificant.

7. (SBU) As instructed by ref A, Post will underscore AU's
lead on Darfur and possible sanctions against DPA
non-signatories in any future discussions with the JEM
representatives. The AU will discuss the DPA at a June 23
meeting of the Joint Commission in Addis Ababa convened by AU
Special Representative for Sudan Amb. Baba Gana Kingibe; a
ministerial-level AU PSC is expected to address next steps
against DPA non-signatories at the AU Summit on June 27.
HUDDLESTON

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