Search

 

Cablegate: Darfur Forum Promotes Dialogue Across Political Spectrum

VZCZCXRO0112
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2360/01 2690655
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260655Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4725
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 002360

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

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: DARFUR FORUM PROMOTES DIALOGUE ACROSS POLITICAL SPECTRUM

REF: Khartoum 1594

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

1. (U) The Darfur Forum convened a "town hall" meeting on September
16 in El Fasher to promote dialogue and peaceful co-existence among
all ethnic and political groupings in Darfur. More than four
hundred persons attended the gathering, including prominent
government officials, community leaders and native administrators.
While many of the speeches covered familiar ground regarding the
aims of the Forum and the challenges facing the Darfur Peace
Agreement, the event was notable for its broad grass-roots
participation and ability of speakers to air opposing views.

------------------------------------
THE DARFUR FORUM'S PURPOSE AND GOALS
------------------------------------

2. (U) Active Response Corps (ARC) Officer attended a September 16
meeting convened by the Darfur Forum (DF) in El Fasher to promote
dialogue on the challenges faced in Darfur and to encourage
cooperation across the entire spectrum of Darfurian society. More
than four hundred persons comprised the gathering, including student
groups, religious and tribal leaders, women's associations, Sudanese
Liberation Movement (SLM) members, state legislators, internally
displaced persons (IDP) representatives, National Congress Party
(NCP) and other political party officials, native administrators and
ordinary citizens. Several prominent government and community
leaders - cutting across the political spectrum - participated,
including the Wali of North Darfur, former Governor of Darfur Region
General Ibrahim Suleiman and Head of DF Ismaeil Kitir.

3. (SBU) General Ibrahim Suleiman opened the discussion by
describing the purpose, goals and progress to date of the Darfur
Forum. He underscored that the DF is not a political entity, but
rather a body devoted to cutting across political, tribal and gender
lines to promote reconciliation and practical steps to rebuild
Darfur's social fabric. He illustrated his point by remarking that
participants at the meeting included groups both supportive and
critical of the government's policies in Darfur. Suleiman explained
that the DF was open to all stakeholders in Darfur, though it would
not condone armed solutions on any group's part to solve the
region's problems. He further remarked that one specific objective
of the DF's senior leadership in El Fasher was to help ease tribal
frictions exacerbated following the September 3 police shooting of a
student at El Fasher University. (Note: In sidebar discussions with
ARC Officer, senior Darfur Forum members noted that, contrary to the
government's claims, no apparent investigation was being conducted
into the student's death. The lack of follow-up continues to
inflame the underlying tensions between student groups and GoS
security services, which have maintained a visible presence on the
grounds of El Fasher University. End Note.)

4. (U) General Suleiman later provided his insights to the crowd on
the genesis of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) and the current
challenges facing its implementation. He held that, based on his
personal involvement in the negotiations in Abuja, the agreement
contained many positive elements, but that its fundamental flaw was
the lack of broad Darfurian buy-in. In particular, he criticized
the pressure exerted by the international community to have the
parties sign the agreement before they had fully addressed all of
their reservations. Notwithstanding the DPA's shortcomings,
Suleiman underscored the importance of continued dialogue with those
outside the agreement, especially Abdel Wahid's SLA faction. He
added that the Darfur Forum is using its influence with senior
Sudanese Government officials to encourage them to address
non-signatory demands.

5. (U) The Head of the Darfur Forum Ismaeil Kitir and Secretary
General Siddiq Mohammed Ismaeil further expounded on the role and
objectives of the forum. They affirmed the political and ethnic
independence of the organization and its openness to all Darfurians,
both inside and outside of Sudan. Ismaeil articulated that the
Forum's principal objective is to unite Darfurians and advocate for
their fair representation and rights within Sudan. They noted their
agreement in principle with the demands of the SLA but exhorted
against the use of force to accomplish political objectives.

6. (U) Senior Darfur Forum representative Zedan Abdul Rahama
reiterated many of the same points as his predecessors regarding the
negotiating environment in Abuja and its impact on the DPA. He
highlighted the accord's fundamental flaw as the lack of endorsement
by all parties to the conflict (e.g., the Justice and Equality
Movement (JEM) and Abdel Wahid), and reiterated the Forum's core
recommendations to make the DPA acceptable to all factions. These
adjustments, he explained, include:

KHARTOUM 00002360 002 OF 002

-- Increasing the amount of individual compensation allocated to
war-affected Darfurians from the specified sum of $30 million to
$300 million. Rahama pointed out that Sudanese displaced by the Al
Hamadab dam project were given "lavish compensation, in which the
government paid 500,000 dinars (USD 2,300.00) per date tree." (Note:
Rahama failed to mention that the $30 million is only an initial
amount that may later be supplemented. End Note.)

-- Allocating $600 million for development projects to be completed
in accordance with the UN Development Program-led Darfur Joint
Assessment Mission (DJAM) priorities.

-- Reserving fifty percent of the positions in the Darfur State
government institutions for the Movements and at least twenty
percent of federal governmental positions for the Movements and
Darfurians in general.

-- Providing greater assurances that the results of the
Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation (DDDC) will either be
incorporated into the DPA, or that the DDDC outcomes will be legally
binding on the GoS.

-- Ensuring that the position of Senior Assistant to the President
does not solely play an advisory role but has genuine executive and
administrative powers to make decisions on behalf of Darfurian
interests.

-------------------------------
WALI STRIKES A NOTE OF DEFIANCE
-------------------------------

7. (U) Speaking on behalf of the Government, North Darfur Wali Osman
Mohammed Yousif Kibir opened his remarks in noting the importance of
continued dialogue to solve the problems that "Darfurians themselves
created." He registered his disagreement with the fault placed on
the Government for the shortcomings of the DPA and its lack of
implementation, contending that the Movements' focus on "money and
power" has undermined the prospects for peace in Darfur. The Wali
argued that notwithstanding the weaknesses of the DPA, it provided
the only practical framework for ceasing the conflict in Darfur and
creating a foundation for stability. On the issue of compensation,
he held that President Bashir augmented the initial funding to $100
million, and that recompense would "soon be paid in North Darfur."
The Wali acknowledged the need to bring individuals that committed
war crimes to justice, but asserted that the International Criminal
Court (ICC) would only provide political theater and not real
accountability. Finally, as he publicly stated on several previous
occasions, Kibir reiterated his rejection of UN Security Council
Resolution 1706.

-----------------------------------
SLA AND STUDENTS STAND THEIR GROUND
-----------------------------------

8. (U) During a brief period of open debate, SLA-Minawi
representatives described their disappointment with the government's
intransigence in fulfilling its DPA commitments. For this reason,
they posited, the SLA must continue to carry weapons and "be
prepared for any contingency." The SLA members also chided the Wali
and his police force for their inadequate investigations into the
September 3 student clashes, and criticized the judiciary as wholly
lacking independence. Members of the students' union also voiced
their frustration with the government's heavy-handedness during the
September 3 incident and apparent unwillingness to take any
subsequent corrective action.

-------
COMMENT
-------

9. (U) While many of the speeches covered familiar ground regarding
the aims of the Darfur Forum and the challenges facing the DPA, the
event was notable for its broad grass-roots participation and openly
aired views critical of the Government. The Forum's stance on the
DPA is essentially the same as conveyed to ARC Officer in early
July, though the organization appears more willing to use the accord
as a foundation to address "unresolved issues." There are
relatively few civil society organizations in North Darfur, and the
Darfur Forum - with its diverse membership and influential
connections - should remain under consideration as an enabling
mechanism to promote the peace process, reconciliation and dialogue
in Darfur.

HUME

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>