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Cablegate: Pronk Ejected, Europeans React Strongly

VZCZCXRO9191
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2539 2980419
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250419Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5001
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 002539

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/SPG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UN SU

SUBJECT: Pronk Ejected, Europeans React Strongly

REF: Khartoum 2519

1. (U) The GoS terminated the mission of UN Special Representative
of the Secretary General (SRSG) Jan Pronk on October 22 following
statements Pronk made in his blog concerning recent military defeats
in Darfur (reftel). In a letter from Foreign Minister Lam Akol to
UN Secretary General (SYG) Kofi Annan, the Sudanese affirm their
support of the United Nations and its mission but emphasize that
Pronk himself had repeatedly acted in a manner inconsistent with his
position. He said Pronk was not impartial, purposefully undermining
the Darfur Peace Agreement and making many inflammatory statements.

2. (U) This decision comes days after a Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF)
spokesperson called for Pronk's departure soon after the blog was
published. This is not the first furor over Pronk's statements in
his blog, which the UN has repeatedly asserted does not necessarily
reflect the policies and views of the Secretary-General. Pronk is
returning to New York on October 23 for consultations with the SYG.

3. (SBU) In a meeting between the Charge d'Affaires and European
Ambassadors that same day, the Europeans expressed their strong
disapproval of this action. While they admitted that Pronk had said
some inappropriate things on several occasions, the Sudanese should
not be able to pick who represents the Secretary General. They
recommended that each country go to its capital and ask for a strong
statement that condemns the decision, asks the GoS to reconsider,
and underlines that this will be viewed as an attack against an
international presence in Sudan as a whole. They emphasized that
the international community should be unified in its message.

4. (SBU) The ambassadors noted that the timing of the announcement,
the day before government offices are closed for a week for Eid al
Fitr, limits the international community's ability to lodge a
protest. The Ambassadors recommended that the issue be brought up
in conversations during an Eid reception hosted by the President the
next day. The German Ambassador, as the representative of the EU
President, was also asked to register concern with the President
directly. The German did this in the receiving line the next day.
President Bashir seemed unhappy with the comment and only responded
that it was Sudanese sovereignty.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Last week's visit of the Special Envoy was viewed
positively by the Sudanese government and may allow for more
productive discussions in the future. Although declaring the SRSG
persona non-grata is a serious step, the central issue remains
Darfur and UN transition. This move will negatively impact UN
planning, as it is unlikely that a replacement can be named soon.
However, the declaration is likely a direct result of Pronk's
comments and not part of an overall strategy to oppose the UN. END
COMMENT.

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