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Cablegate: Senator Obama Meets with President Deby

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INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
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SUBJECT: SENATOR OBAMA MEETS WITH PRESIDENT DEBY


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: President Deby stressed to Senator Obama
the negative impact that continued violence in Darfur would
have on regional security, and expressed his support for a
United Nations Peacekeeping operation to pave the way for the
implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement. Deby also
acknowledged the close bilateral cooperation between Chad and
the United States on counter-terrorism initiatives. In
response to President Deby's justification of his decision to
suspend Chevron and Petronas' operations for alleged
non-payment of taxes, Senator Obama noted the importance of
governments' honoring their contractual obligations, and
expressed his hope that an amicable solution could be reached
between the disputing parties. END SUMMARY.

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SENATOR OBAMA'S VISIT AT THE PRESIDENCY
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2. (SBU) On September 1, Senator Barack Obama met with
President Deby to discuss key regional and bilateral issues.
Obama thanked the President for Chad's cooperation with the
United States and the international community on the
humanitarian response to the Darfur crisis, as well as
efforts on counter-terrorism. He stressed to the President
that the focus of his trip was to examine the current
conditions of the Sudanese refugees in Chad and determine
ways to avert further violence in the region. The Senator
also stated his interest in discussing other issues of
bilateral concern.

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DEBY'S VIEWS ON DARFUR
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3. (SBU) President Deby thanked the Senator for visiting
Chad and for his interest in the impact of the Darfur crisis
on Chad. He explained that the crisis in Darfur had had a
profound impact on the economic, environment, and political
security of Chad. The presence of Sudanese refugees was a
significant environmental burden in Eastern Chad, as refugees
meant increased competition for resources in the region.
According to Deby, local communities, as well as the refugee
population, were suffering; the international community,
while providing assistance, needed to do more to assist the
Chadian communities that were affected by the refugee inflow.


4. (SBU) At the same time, the spillover of conflict from
Sudan into Chad was apparent with continued cross-border
raids of Janjaweed militias, who were targeting refugee
populations as well as local Chadian communities. President
Deby pointed out that the Janjaweed militias had already
inflicted casualties on Chadian communities, and created a
large number of Chadian IDPs in the region. While the rains
may have temporarily restricted their movement, the coming
months would undoubtedly bring more cross-border attacks
against the Chadian population. He also noted that Chad's
decision to host Sudanese refugees and actions to mediate
between the Government of Sudan and Sudanese rebel movements
made it a target of military action by the Sudanese
government. Deby said that the April 13 attacks in N'Djamena
by Chadian rebels was an effort by the GOS to destabilize the
country, bring in a regime favorable to Khartoum, and inflict
harm on Sudanese refugees in Chad.

5. (SBU) The President told Senator Obama that the
implementation of Darfur Peace Agreement would create an
environment for the eventual return of refugees back to
Darfur, and help to stabilize the region. While imperfect,
the DPA was the best chance for peace in the region, and the
international community should help the GOS and supporters of
Minni Minawi to peacefully implement the agreement. He noted
that the international community should also not neglect to
bring in those rebel movements who refused to sign the DPA.
Deby asserted that without the inclusion of non-signatories
in the framework of the DPA, fighting in the region would
continue.

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SUPPORT FOR UN PEACEKEEPING FORCE
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6. (SBU) President Deby expressed his strong support for the
presence of an United Nations Peacekeeping force in Darfur.
He argued that the presence of an international force with a
robust mandate would permit the implementation of the DPA,
and bring in the DPA non-signatories, who would be more
willing to accept an accord with the presence of a UN force.
Whereas the current African Union observer mission was

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ill-equipped and incapable of maintaining security in the
region, a UN force would have the ability to secure the
region and give hope to refugees seeking to return home, and
Chadians on the other side of the border who were fearing
further attacks from Sudan.

7. (SBU) When the Senator asked how the international
community could convince Khartoum to accept an international
force, Deby said that Africans already accepted a UN presence
in Darfur with a resolution agreed to in the AU Summit in
Banjul, and the international community already agreed to
deploy a peacekeeping force with the passage of UN Security
Council Resolution 1706. The question now was whether the
international community would allow concerns of sovereignty
of the Sudanese government to influence their decision to
bring peace to the region. The African Union lacked the
material means to bring peace to the region, the United
Nations did not. Deby asserted that the international
community should insist that the Sudanese accept a
peacekeeping force, as it was the only way to end the crisis
in Darfur.

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CHAD'S COOPERATION ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
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8. (SBU) President Deby turned to bilateral efforts to
combat terrorism, and noted that cooperation between the
United States and Chad in the area of counter-terrorism was
excellent. The GOC was appreciative of U.S. training efforts
of the country's PSI batallion. He did note that the
Chadians still required equipment, and had submitted requests
in the past year to U.S. authorities. Senator Obama assured
President Deby that if a request was submitted, then the
Pentagon would be reviewing it.

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CHEVRON/PETRONAS TAX DISPUTE
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9. (SBU) President Deby ended the meeting by discussing the
GOC's recent actions taken against oil consortium members
Chevron and Petronas. The President told Senator Obama that
the Chadian government was trying to ensure that Chad
benefited from the country's oil production. To that end,
Chad was pursuing negotiations with the oil consortium to
include the GOC as a member of the consortium, and had
established a national commission to begin the process.
However, according to Deby, the Chadian people could not
benefit from the country's oil as long as consortium members
Chevron and Petronas refused to pay taxes it owed to the GOC.
The President said that while Chevron and Petronas asserted
to have a legal basis, in the form of a agreement signed by
certain GOC ministers, for not paying income taxes, the GOC
could not recognize such an agreement, as it was not approved
by the country's National Assembly. Deby contended that his
decision to suspend Chevron and Petronas from the consortium
was an attempt by the Chadians to reduce the "economic
inequality" between the GOC and the Consortium.

10. (SBU) Senator Obama told President Deby that while he
could not speak for the U.S. nor Chevron, two principles
needed to be considered: that the Chadian people should
benefit from the country's natural resources, and that
contracts needed to be observed. Chad, noted the Senator,
could benefit from foreign investment, but if the rules of
the country's business environment changed, foreign investors
would be more hesitant to enter Chad's economy. He expressed
his hope that the GOC and the parties could resolve the issue
amicably, and that the GOC would develop a business
environment where contracts were respected.

11. (U) This message was cleared by Senator Obama's staff.

12. (U) Tripoli Minimize Considered.
JAMES

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