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Cablegate: Darfur: September 14 Au Ditf Briefing Reports Amis

VZCZCXRO4231
OO RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #2523/01 2581029
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151029Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2474
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ADDIS ABABA 002523

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/SPG AND AF/RSA
LONDON, PARIS, ROME FOR AFRICA WATCHER
CJTF-HOA FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS KPKO SU AU
SUBJECT: DARFUR: SEPTEMBER 14 AU DITF BRIEFING REPORTS AMIS
TROOP ROTATION ON HOLD


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: According to African Union officials, Sudan
has requested that AMIS suspend rotation of peacekeeping
troops to Darfur, pending the outcome of the September 18
ministerial-level PSC. The AU confirmed that the Rwandan
rotation is on hold, but suggested that the September 16
rotation of South African forces may continue. The AU
introduced the AMIS Force Commander, Major General Luke
Aprezi of Nigeria, who has previous experience in both UN and
African-led peacekeeping operations (UNPROFOR and ECOMOG);
Aprezi highlighted the need for intelligence to allow AMIS to
be more proactive. According to the AU, security in Darfur
deteriorated in the last week, particularly in the north; the
GOS continues its armed offensive, including aerial attacks.
Canada presented "lessons learned" from the August ambush of
a convoy of Rwandan peacekeepers. AU officials confirmed
that since that ambush, AMIS and GOS forces have shared
responsibility for escorting fuel convoys, despite possible
misperception of military collaboration. PAE's request for
prepayment should its contract for food services be extended,
has raised concern among some partners, and will likely be
raised by AU Commissioner Djinnit with the USG in New York.
END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On September 14, the African Union Darfur Integrated
Task Force (DITF) briefed selected AU partners (US, UK,
Canada, EC, NATO, and UN) on political, logistical, and
security developments of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS).

3. (SBU) AU Darfur Integrated Task Force (DITF) Political
Advisor Dr. Solomon Gomes began by noting that most DITF
officials had gone to New York, in anticipation of the
September 18 ministerial-level Peace and Security Council
(PSC) meeting on Darfur. Gomes said he hoped the PSC, which
had been "gentle" in the past, would take a strong position
against the Government of Sudan (GOS). AU Special
Representative for Sudan Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe would
attend the PSC; no replacement had been named despite the
announcement of his resignation. Commenting on a recent
statement issued from Sirte, Libya, that "African leaders"
opposed the UN going into Darfur, Gomes said that only
Egyptian President Mubarak and Libyan leader Qaddafi opposed
UN transition. There was no evidence that any other African
leaders had approved the statement; support for transition
had been expressed in numerous communiques issued by the AU
PSC, Gomes noted. Gomes said he had no information on
discussions at the ongoing NAM summit in Havana.

----------------------------------
SUDAN SEEKS STOP OF AMIS ROTATIONS
----------------------------------

4. (SBU) Gomes confirmed that the AU had received a note
verbale from the GOS that ""creates complications," as it
proposes that rotation of AMIS troops stop until after the
September 19 PSC. Both DITF Head Ambassador Ki Doulaye
Corentin and AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ambassador
Said Djinnit were "aware of the problem," which would be
raised at a higher level. Gomes said he would suggest that
the AMIS Deputy Head of Mission inform the Sudanese MFA that
the note verbale had been received but was "not acceptable."
"Serious problems" would result from Sudan continuing to
reject transition through December, or continuing to put its
own troops into Darfur, he added.

5. (SBU) Representing the AU DITF Military Component, J-5
Plans officer Lieutenant Colonel Fidelis Azinta reported that
rotation of the Nigerian battalion, now on the ground, had
been completed. The rotation of Rwandan troops, originally
scheduled for September 15 and to be conducted with the USG,
was now on hold, given the GOS note verbale, Azinta said;
Gomes added that the Rwandans awaited the outcome of the
September 18 PSC. On the other hand, Gomes said, South
Africans "haven't given up" on their anticipated September 16
self-deployment, which he said had "no link" to the September
18 PSC. Newly arrived South Africans could be withdrawn, if
AMIS were not extended, he added.

6. (SBU) Contingency plans for withdrawal were now being
finalized and would be shared with partners, Gomes said,
depending on the outcome of the September 18 PSC. The PSC

ADDIS ABAB 00002523 002 OF 004


would also be briefed on the new concept of operations
(CONOPs) for enhancing AMIS through the addition of two
additional battalions (from Rwanda and Nigeria), he added.

---------------------------------------
NEW FORCE COMMANDER CITE NEED FOR INTEL
---------------------------------------

7. (SBU) Gomes introduced the new AMIS Force Commander (FC),
Major General Luke Aprezi, who previously served with both
UNPROFOR and ECOMOG and most recently served as Chief of
Operations, Nigerian Armed Forces. In brief remarks, Aprezi
said he had some idea of what he was facing, following
briefings at AU Headquarters, but wanted to wait until
arriving on the ground before making further observations.
Aprezi underscored the need to seek cooperation and
harmonious relations to move the force forwards.

8. (SBU) Aprezi also highlighted the need for intelligence in
order to allow AMIS to be proactive, so as "not to let anyone
take the force for granted." Dr. Gomes commented that while
other peacekeeping missions had made contingencies for
obtaining or purchasing intelligence, AMIS had not, due to
budgetary reasons. AMIS now faced a critical need for
intelligence, Gomes said, noting that it had a cell within
its Joint Operations Center (JOC). Citing reports from
Yaounde that Cameroon's military had encountered rebels from
Chad and the Central African Republic, Gomes expressed
concern that conflict was spreading from Darfur.

9. (SBU) The retired Zambian general appointed to serve as
Chief of Staff of the AMIS Forward Joint Mission Headquarters
(FJMHQ) should arrive by the weekend, Gomes said. USG
advisor to the AMIS J-2 noted that the formation of the Joint
Operations Center (JOC) had been blocked by the outgoing
Force Commander, as 16 AMIS officers taken from the sector
level for the JOC had been returned to the sectors. Gomes
said the arrival of the new FC should address this issue.

--------------------------------
SECURITY UPDATE: "DETERIORATION"
--------------------------------

10. (SBU) Colonel Azinta reported a "deterioration" of
security in the last seven days. The GOS had a large force
on the ground, especially in northern Darfur, to carry out
its "security stabilization program," which was "unacceptable
to the AU and the international community," Azinta said. AU
situation reports reflected that the GOS had launched
offensive actions, including air attacks, he added.

11. (SBU) Azinta said incidents reported by AMIS MILOB group
sites included the following:

-- September 10, Tawila: GOS troops conducted an air attack
on Korma, killing or injuring civilians (including two
children) and killing 135 animals.

-- September 11, Tawila: GOS offensive action resulted in an
influx of new IDPs to Tawila IDP camp, from an area in the
north under attack.

-- September 12, Tawila: Janjaweed attacked Tawila IDP camp
and stole cattle. Locals alerted the MILOB group site; the
AMIS protection force pursued trucks, exchanged fire, killed
two attackers, and recovered the stolen livestock.

-- September 13: at 1950, a lone gunman fired on an AMIS
vehicle at Kutum airstrip, injuring an AMIS sergeant (struck
in the leg); protection force could not react, as the gunman
disappeared into a crowd.

-- September 13, Shingeil Tobayi (Sector 1): Locals reported
armed raiding of homes, possibly by Janjaweed, following the
distribution of food.

12. (SBU) Azinta concluded that the situation was neither
stable nor calm in northern Darfur (Sectors 1 and 6); other
sectors "generally remain calm." Azinta acknowledged that
the Jebel Marra slope "sits astride" Sectors 1 and 6, but

ADDIS ABAB 00002523 003 OF 004


said he could not confirm whether capturing Jebel Marra from
the National Redemption Front (NRF) was the GOS's objective.
Many attacks had been directed against unarmed civilians, he
said, although AMIS could not provide an estimate of civilian
casualties. Asked the NRF's reaction, Azinta said the NRF
had recaptured a village on September 13 and that SLM forces
not associated with Abdel Wahid had joined forces to counter
the GOS offensive.

13. (SBU) Azinta said morale among AMIS forces was "generally
high." AMIS was now responding to challenges and sending a
message to the GOS by being proactive and by defending both
themselves and local IDPs, he said. Gomes said the
preliminary lessons learned report on the August ambush that
killed two Rwandan peacekeepers was awaiting review by
Commissioner Djinnit, and would be given to FC Aprezi.

---------------------------------------
LESSONS LEARNED FROM AMBUSH OF RWANDANS
---------------------------------------

14. (SBU) Canada presented an overview of the September 8
report prepared for the AU on "lessons learned" from the
August 19 ambush of Rwandan AMIS peacekeepers at Kouma.
Among its findings:
-- When attacked, 30 fuel trucks had been protected only by 4
soft vehicles; better to use armored personnel carriers
(APCs) to escort convoys;
-- AMIS needs to conduct risk assessments;
-- Better communications is needed: the convoy attacked set
off with 7 additional vehicles added at the last moment.
Dr. Gomes noted that rebel representatives attended AMIS
briefings at which AMIS convoy movements were discussed;
their inclusion in such briefings may have to be revisited,
he said.

-----------------------------------
GOS AND AMIS ESCORT OF FUEL CONVOYS
-----------------------------------

15. (SBU) Questioned about allegations of AMIS assistance to
the GOS, Azinta said AMIS had protested the GOS taking an
AMIS fuel tanker by force. The EC noted that the same fuel
contractor (Matthews) supplied both AMIS and the GOS, giving
rise to possible misperceptions. Gomes said 12 fuel tankers
had been emptied of fuel, and were likely in Chad. Gomes
added that following the August ambush of the Rwandans, the
GOS and the AU had made arrangements so that GOS provided
force protection for fuel convoys to El Fasher, and AMIS
provided security from El Fasher to three hubs. While he had
informed Commissioner Djinnit that this created the
impression that AMIS and GOS forces were cooperating, it was
operationally necessary and the practice continued.

---------------------------------------
DARFUR-DARFUR DIALOGUE AND CONSULTATION
---------------------------------------

16. (SBU) Gomes could not confirm whether the AU had
appointed a chairman for the DDDC preparatory committee, nor
could he provide information on security arrangements for the
DDDC, but he said a budget for the dialogue had been
prepared. Canada underscored the importance of DDDC
participants feeling secure, particularly as the dialogue was
one of the last mechanisms available to engage
non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). Gomes
said parties "will have to show something before they earn
the right to attend" the DDDC; the dialogue would not be
automatically open to all participants. He explained that
parties that did not want to sign the DPA nevertheless should
honor the cease-fire.

17. (SBU) Highlighting the AU's political role in Darfur,
Gomes said that coordination between the AU and the UN needed
to be discussed in New York. The UN Secretary-General's
report and UNSCR 1706 both gave the impression that the AU
mission in Sudan ended upon transition to the UN, Gomes said.
While the AU's peace-keeping role would end, the AU's
political role would not, he noted.


ADDIS ABAB 00002523 004 OF 004


----------------------------------
LOGISTICS: FOOD CONTRACT A CONCERN
----------------------------------

18. (SBU) The EC observed that while Italy had offered a
single flight to transport MREs to Khartoum, additional MREs
remained in France.

19. (SBU) Asked about a note from U.S. contractor PAE to the
AU, regarding arrears owed by the AU on a food contract for
AMIS, and requesting prepayment should the contract be
extended, Gomes said that Commissioner Djinnit was aware of
the issue and would raise it with the USG. (NOTE: Djinnit
and other senior AU principals are in New York, and have not
yet raised this issue with post. END NOTE.) Azinta said
DITF Administration Control and Management Center Chief
Commodore Binega Mesfin had observed that any proposed rate
increase would be subject to negotiation.

20. (SBU) COMMENT: No official explanation was given for the
replacement of the AMIS Force Commander, but this was a key
recommendation of a recent assessment of AMIS conducted by
Canada and the USG, and shared with AU DITF. Major General
Aprezi is expected to arrive at AMIS Headquarters by
September 17, on the eve of the AU PSC decision on Darfur,
suggesting that DITF officials are prepared to maintain the
presence of AMIS in Darfur. END COMMENT.
WILGUS

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