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Cablegate: Darfur: S/E Natsios Discusses Political Process

VZCZCXRO3010
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1102 1961358
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151358Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7892
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001102

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER AND AF/SPG
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND SHORTLEY
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV UN AU SU UK FR CH
SUBJECT: DARFUR: S/E NATSIOS DISCUSSES POLITICAL PROCESS
WITH P-5 AMBASSADORS

1. (SBU) In a July 13 meeting in Khartoum with ambassadors
representing the five permanent members of the UN Security
Council, Special Envoy Natsios provided a concise analysis of
the challenges facing the Darfur political process and
exchanged views on the role of the African Union (AU), civil
society, and traditional leaders in peace negotiations. S/E
Natsios voiced his fear of the potential "Somaliazation of
Northern Sudan" as "centrifugal forces pulling the country
apart began to accelerate" if Darfur is not solved in the
near future. While the National Congress Party (NCP)
preferred a "certain level" of conflict to maintain its
control over the country in the absence of popular support,
localized violence could explode. He cited recent "revolts"
and unrest in Nubian, Masseriya, and Beja areas as examples
of this trend.

2. (SBU) S/E Natsios described five points that the UN/AU-led
political process would need to address in the coming months:
1) The chaos caused by the proliferation of armed movements
lacking incentives to maintain loyalty and the determination
of which movements should be included in the process; 2) The
radicalization of internally displaced persons (IDP) camps,
IDPs' increasing alienation from the rebels' political
leadership, and the "risk of explosion" in the camps where
armed elements backed by the rebels and the Sudanese
Government operated; 3) The inclusion of civil society and
traditional leaders, which are disconnected from the rebel
political leaders and field commanders and disdained by
Khartoum, in the political process; 4) The rift between the
political leaders and the field commanders in Darfur; and 5)
The timeframe to find a political solution to the Darfur
conflict before the 2009 national elections, which could
destabilize the country in the absence of a peace settlement
for Darfur.

3. (SBU) Following S/E Natsios' analysis, the UK Ambassador
highlighted the importance of involving "genuinely
representative" elements of Darfur civil society and
traditional leaders, including Arab groups, in the political
process. She underscored the importance of balancing the
timeframe for an agreement to ensure that the Darfur conflict
did not disrupt the elections with the necessity that the
agreement be "sustainable." The French Ambassador concurred
that such a role for traditional leaders was important but
noted that the rebellion in Darfur, led largely by youth, had
broken out in 2003 as a reaction not only to policies
originating from Khartoum but out of a frustration toward
Darfur's local elite. She said that the Eastern Sudan Peace
Agreement (ESPA), which had been reached between the NCP and
the traditional authorities in Eastern Sudan, was failing in
part because the youth did not support it.

4. (SBU) The Chinese Ambassador asked for S/E Natsios' views
on the role of the AU in the political process and questioned
whether it had the ability to have a positive impact. The AU
suffered from a lack of capacity in its political operation
and a distrust of key players, such as AU Envoy Salim Ahmed
Salim and AU Head of Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA)
Implementation Sam Ibok, among the rebel groups that dated
from the Abuja talks, according to S/E Natsios. The AU was
making progress in addressing the political sensitivities,
however, and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader
Khalil Ibrahim had met Salim recently in a gesture of
goodwill.

5. (U) S/E Natsios did not have the opportunity to clear this
message before his departure from Sudan.
FERNANDEZ

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