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Cablegate: Abu Shouk Tribal Leaders Provide Views On Security, Dpa

VZCZCXRO8672
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1764/01 2041457
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231457Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3848
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001764

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KPKO SOCI AU UN US SU
SUBJECT: ABU SHOUK TRIBAL LEADERS PROVIDE VIEWS ON SECURITY, DPA

1. SUMMARY: Tribal leaders from Abu Shouk IDP camp pointed out
shortcomings in the DPA, but many also noted their support for the
document and desire to learn more about it. The group emphasized
the need for rapid implementation of the agreement and unanimously
favored a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur. END SUMMARY.

2. ARC Officer, accompanied by two USAID colleagues, met July 18
for three hours with a group of 22 tribal leaders, omdas and sheiks
from Abu Shouk internally displaced persons (IDP) camp to discuss
the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), security, and general conditions
in the camp. Several leaders opined on the inadequacies of the DPA,
including its lack of buy-in from all the rebel movements, absence
of individual compensation, and shortcomings in providing for the
disarmament of Janjaweed. ARC Officer countered that while not all
parties signed the agreement, efforts continued to persuade the JEM
and SLA-Abdel Wahid to lend their support to the DPA, and the
international community clearly recognized the need to expand
popular support for the accord. ARC Officer also noted the specific
DPA articles relating to compensation, which provide for individual
compensation, and acknowledged the pressing need to operationalize
and publicize the compensation committees called for in the DPA.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
SOME RECOGNITION THAT DPA MAY BE NEXT BEST ALTERNATIVE
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. Despite the reservations conveyed by several omdas regarding the
DPA, many of the tribal leaders expressed the need for a pragmatic
approach and even outright support for the agreement. One sheik
commented that there was a growing recognition that the DPA, while
imperfect, was a reality that could lead to amelioration of the
situation in Darfur. He stated that much of the initial resistance
to the document was the result of misinformation and, in part, AMIS'
failure to sufficiently explain the accord and its provisions, which
many Darfurians find confusing. The sheik emphasized that IDPs at
Abu Shouk want and need to learn about the DPA. He urged the
international community to take steps to provide such information
quickly in a way that would be easily understandable to the
predominantly illiterate camp population. Like other leaders, he
highlighted the importance of expeditiously establishing the various
DPA committees, particularly on compensation, to tangibly
demonstrate implementation of the agreement.

4. ARC officer explained the importance of the Darfur-Darfur
Dialogue and Consultation (DDDC) as a mechanism to resolve many of
the "gaps" in the DPA, and emphasized that the DPA is not the final
answer to Darfur's problems but rather a framework for a process.
Tribal leaders expressed appreciation for this clarification, but
noted it would have been useful for the AU to have made this more
clear to months ago. However, they articulated their fear that
without proactive organization by the AU and UNMIS, the GNU would
quickly hijack the dialogue. Many of sheiks and omdas stressed the
necessity of genuine inclusiveness in any regional dialogue -
meaning that non-signatories to the DPA must be encouraged to
participate and provided some political incentive in so doing.
(NOTE: One tribal leader held that closing the door on the
possibility of non-signatory political participation effectively
excluded those groups and made them more likely to play spoiler
roles. He echoed the sentiment of others that a Darfurian should
hold a vice president position in the GNU. END NOTE.)

-------------------------------
FRUSTRATION WITH AMIS CONTINUES
-------------------------------

5. Numerous tribal leaders underscored their frustration with AMIS.
They remarked that not only did the force lack the capacity to
ensure security, but that it also was increasingly viewed as a party
to the conflict rather than as an impartial body. Nonetheless,
several sheiks and omdas urged their peers to take a more balanced
and realistic view of the peace process and AMIS, given its mandate
and resource constraints. "After three years of war, we cannot have
peace in only three months," one participant observed. The group
unanimously expressed its support for UN peacekeepers in Darfur and
urged the United States and other members of the international
community to continue pressuring the GNU to accept such a force.

6. The group offered little specifics on the impact of recent
fighting in North Darfur, except to note the increase in the IDP
population and reluctance to return to home villages. Responding to
Field Officer's query about the means of transmitting news, leaders
related that most information was conveyed by word of mouth and
little stock was put into either the local radio or newspapers,
which are government controlled. None of the participants were
willing to offer opinions or perspectives on the G-19 or National
Redemption Front.

7. COMMENT: The tribal leaders appreciated airing their views to
USG officials -- an opportunity, they claim, they have not fully had

KHARTOUM 00001764 002 OF 002


with AMIS. Their cautiously supportive comments on the DPA could
represent a shift from earlier positions that were anti-DPA.
Contrary to many anecdotal accounts, the sheiks and omdas were
clearly interested in better understanding the DPA and the plan for
implementation. Furthermore, they understood the importance of
educating the IDP population about the accord and, when offered a
few copies of the USAID-translated Arabic summary of the DPA, they
snapped them up without hesitation. They even requested additional
copies, which were later provided, to disseminate at the Abu Shouk
IDP camp, encouraged a structured DPA education campaign in the IDP
camps. The lack of credible information in the camps should serve
as additional impetus to launch a "DPA outreach" campaign focused on
the IDP population. While many tribal leaders' guardedly positive
attitude on the DPA might be reason for some optimism, this
perspective will undoubtedly reverse direction if concrete actions
to implement the agreement and demonstrate peace dividends are not
taken in the near-term. END COMMENT.

STEINFELD

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