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Cablegate: Bashir Press Forum

VZCZCXRO2830
OO RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2768/01 3341545
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301545Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5440
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 002768

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/SPG, AF/SE, AF/RSA
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND SHORTLEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO AU SU CD UN US
SUBJECT: BASHIR PRESS FORUM


1. (SBU) Summary: In a November 27 press forum in Khartoum
conducted via satellite, President Bashir emphasized that
international forces in Darfur should remain under African
Union (AU) command and that he considered the proposed "third
phase" of UN support for the African Union Mission in Sudan
(AMIS) indirect implementation of UN Security Council
Resolution (UNSCR) 1706. Bashir indicated that two
battalions would be sufficient to buttress AMIS forces, that
security problems in Darfur were limited to a handful of
localities, and that there had been only 9,000 deaths in
Darfur. He also claimed that instability in Chad and along
the border was the result of President Deby's refusal to
cooperate with Sudan on security and denied that the Sudanese
government was supporting Chadian rebel groups. Bashir was
criticized the following day by opposition party
representatives for distorting the humanitarian crisis and
disrespecting the international community. End summary.

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2. (U) The following are excerpts from the press conference
as reported by the pro-government English-language daily
"Sudan Vision." They were verified by an Embassy staff
member who attended the event.

----------------------------------
United Nations' Role and AU Troops
----------------------------------

-- "We stated that we should focus on implementing the
(Darfur Peace Agreement), and that we do not accept
replacement of African forces by international forces.
Despite that, resolution 1706 was issued. It is a
contradictory resolution. It talked in its introduction
about preserving Sudan's sovereignty and unity, but it
generally violates this sovereignty."

-- "...We are repeating our absolute rejection for this
resolution (UNSCR 1706). It does not at all mean that we
reject a deal with the United Nations. We are ready to
cooperate with the United Nations, but this does not mean
that we should accept this resolution."

-- "The report raised by the African Union Force Commander in
Darfur to the Peace and Security Council meetings in Addis
Ababa on the 12th of this month spoke about the positive
developments in Darfur. He stated that he is in need of
adding two battalions to enable African forces to carry out
their tasks efficiently in achieving stability in Darfur,
despite that we hear that the additional forces required in
Darfur are 17,000...What is really required is the material
and logistics support for Darfur within the framework of
consultancy between us and the United Nations."

-- "We hear now about a third stage. It concerns execution
of Resolution 1706 within this plan. The United Nations
stated it would support joint and merged forces. We say that
any support should be made to the African Union. We agreed
that forces in Darfur should be under the African Union and
should be under its command. We welcome any other support
after that to enable these forces to carry out their duty."

-- "We stated that the forces should be African forces. Some
clever people say that they should be African forces under
the United Nations. We say that the beret should be green.
The required number of troops was stated by the African
forces commander in Darfur...He stated that he needs two
battalions only to carry out the African Union tasks in
Darfur."

-- "It is expected that the African Peace and Security
Council would extend the period of African forces in Darfur
and should demand support."

-------------------
Stability in Darfur
-------------------

-- "The problems taking place are restricted to seven
localities only...In respect of security, there are regions
in Darfur where Minni Arcoi Minawi forces were sighted
together with those of Abdel Wahid (al Nur). These regions
are quite secure because Abdel Wahid is committed to the
ceasefire despite the fact that he did not sign the
agreement. All Darfur was secure and stable until the
(National) Redemption Front started activities. We can
safely say that there are only five localities which are
affected by the conflicts in Darfur."

----------------

KHARTOUM 00002768 002 OF 002


Chadian Question
----------------

-- "There is a problem between us and Chad. At first, he
(Deby) had a very clear stance toward the Darfur issue on
account that it will affect Chad. However, some of the
senior elements in his government were siding with the
rebels. The President's brother was working as coordinator
for that support."

-- "We gave them (the Chadian rebels) three choices: to hand
over their arms and we would deliver them to the United
Nations as refugees; to return to Chad; or we should deal
with them militarily. They preferred the third choice and
went with their weapons inside Chad."

-- "The Tripoli Agreement was the third we had signed with
President Deby to form joint Sudanese-Chadian forces to
supervise the borders, but the Chadian side refused to
execute the agreement...It even started to provide
considerable support for the Redemption Front through Chad."

-- "Any cooperation with Chad is welcome, as through it we
can secure those borders through which the main support for
rebels (passes). We find that rebels use cars that work on
petrol. We don't have these types of cars. Our cars work on
gasoline. The types of weapons used by (Chadian) rebels in
Darfur include anti-aircraft missiles. Our armed forces do
not have such weapons because they are not facing any aerial
threats in Darfur."

-- "We do not object to African forces to supervise borders."

-- "When I met President Deby in Tripoli...I told him we do
not have a single element in Chad. It was pure Chadian
opposition...On the other hand, Chad's support for Darfur
rebels is documented by the African Union and the United
Nations."
HUME

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