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Cablegate: Darfur: Sla/M Reaches Out to All Parties


DE RUEHKH #2829/01 3451317
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY TEXT - MSI9649 - AD598611 - 555)
P 111317Z DEC 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: SLM/Minawi representatives hosted a widely attended
general meeting in El Fasher November 28-29 to discuss the progress
of DPA implementation, new initiatives to bring signatory and
non-signatory groups back to the negotiating table, and ways to work
productively with the African Union Mission in Sudan. The event
sought to reach out to all parties involved in the Darfur peace
process and establish concrete recommendations for improving
coordination and communication. End summary.

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SLM General Meeting Reviews DPA, Peace Process
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2. SLM/Minawi representatives to the African Union held a General
Meeting November 29-30 at the DPA Implementation Office. The event
drew wide attendance, including representatives from the Ceasefire
Commission (CFC), AMIS Deputy Head of Mission, AU Civilian Police
(CIVPOL), Sudanese Government, UNMIS, and armed movements, including
JEM Peace Wing and SLM/Free Will. SLM Chair Arko Suliman Dahia
outlined objectives of the meeting: the progress of Darfur Peace
Agreement (DPA) implementation, cooperation between signatory and
non-signatory parties on the peace process and the role of SLM/A
representatives to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). In
the final declaration and recommendations, participants agreed to
form a SLA/M-chaired commite of signatory and non-signatory
participants to negotiate with the Sudanese Government on DPA

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SLM Frustrated with Slow Pace of DPA Implementation
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3. The SLM is committed to the DPA, said SLM/Minawi official Ali
Mukhtar, but frustrated with the slow pace of implementation. "We
signed the DPA for the safety and prosperity of Darfurians, to stop
the loss of lives and end the tragic suffering," he said, "but you
all know that the DPA has not progressed an inch, the only thing
implemented is the appointment of the Senior Assistant to the
President." He noted that vulnerable groups such as children and the
elderly rely on the armed movements to provide them with "security,
support, freedom, and democracy."

4. Major Salah Mahdi Hassan, Sudanese Government representative to
the CFC, expressed his support for the SLA general meeting as a step
toward DPA implementation. He said that such initiatives would
speed up the restoration of peace and stability to Darfur, and added
that the resolutions of this conference would be carefully
considered by the Sudanese Government.

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Greater Coordination by Signatories & Non-Signatories
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5. JEM Peace Wing representative Mohammed Bashir Ahmed expressed
his appreciation for the presence of all the different movements
despite their differences. He said JEM refused to sign the DPA
because it "does not respond to the needs and aspirations of the
majority of Darfurian people." Expressing JEM's readiness to
negotiate future solutions, he added that JEM is not an opponent to
peace, and believes that "armed conflict will never lead to peace."
Ahmed reaffirmed the JEM's commitment to the N'Djamena Humanitarian
Ceasefire Agreement and called on all armed movements to observe a
cessation of hostilities and show good faith in negotiating for
6. The delay in implementation of the DPA has increased distrust
between the parties, said SLM/A Free Will representative Jamal Abdel
Rahman Abdalla, and consequently lowered interest by other rebel
groups to sign it. He said that the major complicating factor is a
lack of coordination between the Sudanese Government and the
signatories. He called on the signatories of the DPA to improve
communication channels.

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AU: Safe Passage for Humanitarian and Fuel Convoys
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7. The AU CIVPOL commissioner, RD Moeyana, argued that the AU is
under-equipped, lacking basic technical support and a full mandate
to protect IDPs. He requested that rebel forces reduce military
operations near the IDP camps and villages and desist from attacking
humanitarian convoys. Moeyana highlighted upcoming AU sponsored
seminars in Khartoum for the Sudanese Government, SLM/A, and
international partners to support community policing. He also urged
the SLM/A political section to submit lists of nominees to be
considered for the CIVPOL commission.

8. AU Chief of Joint Logistics, Col. Michael Kamuzu, also detailed
challenges facing the AU and specifically mentioned difficulties
with fuel shortages and transport. He discussed a recent hijacking
attempt on one of the fuel convoys on the Nyala to El Fasher road,
and noted the difficulties these attacks present. Kamuzu asked the
armed factions to give AU fuel convoys safe passage.

9. The general meeting produced a two-page declaration and 26
recommendations (Note: post will forward text of both to AF/SPG via
e-mail. End note.) The declaration listed participants'
frustration with the lack of action on DPA implementation, the
continuing deterioration of security conditions, remilitarization of
the Janjaweed militia, the continuation of military operations
between the Sudanese Government and non-signatories, and associated
attacks on civilians. Participants also mentioned problems facing
SLM/A representatives working with the African Union and security
challenges to the work of the AU and humanitarian relief agencies.
Significantly, the declaration expresses concern over the dedication
of the Sudanese Government in implementing the Darfur Peace

10. Recommendations range from the very specific to very broad,
including improving the SLM/A's relationship with the AU and DPA
non-signatories. Several recommendations urge strengthening a
reciprocal relationship between the SLM/A with the AU to support the
AU's mission, while calling for administrative and logistical
support for SLM/A CFC representatives. Most notable are
recommendations to improve communication and forming a committee of
DPA signatory and non-signatory parties to negotiate with the
government. The SLM/A also recommended creating political offices
in the three Darfur states and establishing media programs.


11. The final declaration clearly enumerates the frustrations of
all parties, and their recommendations could help to resolve some
issues. However, it remains to be seen whether the SLM/A will be
able to maintain momentum due to the recent flare up of violence in
El Fasher. In conversations on the margins of the general meeting,
mid-level SLA/M contacts noted the importance of commencing DPA
implementation and not waiting for the Sudanese Government to take
action. If the new SLM/A-chaired committee of signatory and
non-signatory parties is established and develops a platform for
negotiation, it could prove a useful tool to improve communication
among all parties. End comment.


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