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Cablegate: Darfur - Ngo Outlook Bleak in Meeting with Se

VZCZCXRO8734
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2869/01 3531215
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191215Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5591
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 002869

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND TSHORTLEY
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM KDEM SOCI SU KHDP
SUBJECT: DARFUR - NGO OUTLOOK BLEAK IN MEETING WITH SE
NATSIOS


KHARTOUM 00002869 001.2 OF 002


-------------------
SUMMARY AND COMMENT
-------------------

1. (SBU) On December 12, Special Envoy Natsios met with 11
members of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) NGO Forum
Steering Committee in Khartoum to solicit their perspectives
on the humanitarian situation in Darfur. Oxfam, Help Age,
Tearfund, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Norwegian
Refugee Council (NRC), GOAL, CARE International, Catholic
Relief Services (CRS) and Action Contre la Faim (ACF)
represented the council at the meeting. Discussions focused
on the deteriorating security environment and the varying
situations in the three Darfur states. NGOs have developed,
and in many cases are implementing, contingency plans. If
the trend in violence continues, it will be very difficult
for aid organizations to continue operating at the current
level, limiting assistance to affected populations. End
summary and comment.

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---------------------------------------------
HARASSMENT, IMPEDIMENTS - ALL IN A DAY'S WORK
---------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Humanitarian agencies voiced their concerns about
increased intimidation from a number of parties. Although
the motives for the December 7 shooting at the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) house in Kutum, North
Darfur, remain speculative, the fact that such an act
occurred was "a bad sign." (Comment. In West Darfur, both
NGOs and the UN believe that humanitarian agencies are being
directly targeted. End comment.)

3. (SBU) Government of National Unity (GNU) sensitivity has
resulted in a reduction in protection-related programming.
One NGO representative stated that the humanitarian community
has gone head-to-head with the GNU, particularly since IRC
issued a press release about sexual assaults in Kalma camp in
August. The GNU accuses NGOs of collecting and providing
intelligence to foreign governments, as well as providing
opposition groups with logistical support, such as vehicles
and radios. SE Natsios stated that he rebuffed these
accusations, telling the GNU directly that NGOs were not the
source of USG information on the situation in Darfur and that
the USG has other sources for such information.

4. (SBU) The NRC representative indicated that its expulsion
from South Darfur has had a chilling effect on both the scope
of protection reporting as well as organizations' willingness
to engage in protection issues. (Note: The spate of recent
evacuations from El Fasher, Kutum, Kulbus, Silea, Sirba,
Sanidadi, and Ed Daein reduced humanitarian access to
vulnerable populations. The withdrawal has hamstrung
protection reporting in all evacuated areas until
humanitarians can return. End note.) One representative
stressed that NGOs do not simply distribute items, but
provide a full package of services to internally displaced
persons (IDPs) and that the GNU should accept this. NGOs
expressed concern that NRC's expulsion could become a
precedent.

5. (SBU) NGO representatives requested the expansion of the
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
in Darfur, stating that OCHA played an important role as a
buffer between the GNU and NGOs, and that OCHA presence was
needed outside of the major towns. SE Natsios requested a
list of the locations where NGOs thought an OCHA presence
would be beneficial.

6. (SBU) SE Natsios also told participants that GNU Minister
of Humanitarian Affairs Kosti Manibe had informed the U.S.
delegation that the GNU had extended the Moratorium on
Restrictions until January 31, 2008. The NGOs asked SE
Natsios to request a formal GNU written statement to that
effect. Humanitarian representatives insisted that the GNU
issue the statement before the end of the week, in order to
provide sufficient time for the GNU Humanitarian Aid
Commission (HAC) to be informed of the extension.


KHARTOUM 00002869 002.2 OF 002


----
AMIS
----

7. (SBU) NGOs indicated a severe need for African Union
Mission in Sudan (AMIS) patrols to provide protection around
camps and conflict-affected areas. Firewood patrols are
sporadic, and in critical areas, AMIS no longer conducts
them. When OCHA requested that AMIS resume firewood patrols
in Kalma camp near Nyala, the AMIS representative responded,
"Only if we feel safe." SE Natsios and CDA Hume responded
that AMIS has a siege mentality, and that only a change at
the highest levels of the military leadership would foment a
more robust approach.

8. (SBU) NGO representatives reported that AMIS has begun
implementing quick-impact projects (QIPs) in Darfur in an
effort to win hearts and minds. Those present felt quite
strongly that this was an encroachment on humanitarian space
and dangerous for NGOs, because such actions suggest that
AMIS and NGOs serve the same function or may be
collaborating. Those present agreed that AMIS should focus
on peacekeeping and protection.

-----------------------------------
DARFUR SECURITY SITUATION WORSENING
-----------------------------------

9. (SBU) The GNU continues to implement a policy of divide
and conquer, an approach that seems to have "atomized" Darfur
and created numerous additional independent armed actors with
no hierarchy. One NGO stated that some people in the IDP
camps were "carrying so many weapons that they couldn't
move." Targeting of civilians has increased, particularly in
West Darfur.

10. (SBU) Responding to a question from SE Natsios, the NGO
representatives said they had not heard of any atrocities
carried out by the National Redemption Front, G19, or other
armed groups. SE Natsios said that the opposition
intelligence network was very good and that people are
pre-evacuated before an attack. He said that this explained
the limited number of new displacements in North Darfur. One
NGO mentioned that in North Darfur, villagers and others in
opposition-held areas have radios that can intercept Antonov
communications. When Antonov target locations are
identified, villagers evacuate before the attack begins, and
return once the bombers have departed.

11. (SBU) SE Natsios requested that the agencies provide him
with key information following attacks, such as what tribes
have been attacked and displaced; whether any atrocities have
been committed; and whether organizations see build-ups of
arms in IDP camps. SE Natsios indicated he would also
appreciate knowledge of increased Janjaweed presence. The
participants indicated a willingness to provide that
information, but not directly from Sudan.

--------------
PLAN B ANXIETY
--------------

12. (SBU) When asked about "Plan B," SE Natsios responded
that while he would not discuss the details, the implications
of "Plan B" would be severe and that several governments in
addition to the USG would be behind it. Should "Plan B" be
implemented, it would not be a gradual ramping-up of
pressure, and NGOs should be making contingency plans now.
SE Natsios stated that the GNU uses NGOs and IDPs to
blackmail the international community into inaction, and that
such manipulation would not be allowed to continue. He
indicated that NGOs and the international community would be
informed in advance of activating a "Plan B" that would
impact humanitarian programs. He indicated that the USG
would change policy in January if there was no significant
improvement on the ground in Sudan.
HUME

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