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Cablegate: Darfur - Engaging Civil Society in the Peace Process

VZCZCXRO5132
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1172/01 2100737
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 290737Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8015
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001172

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

AIDAC
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: DARFUR - ENGAGING CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE PEACE PROCESS

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1085, B) KHARTOUM 1094, C) KHARTOUM 1102, D)

KHARTOUM 1119, E) KHARTOUM 1132, F) TRIPOLI 618

KHARTOUM 00001172 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: Between July 12 and 19, USAID staff met with key
civil society representatives in South and West Darfur to follow up
on issues raised during the U.S. Special Envoy's visit to Nyala,
gauge the views of civil society representatives in El Geneina, and
assess possible areas of USG intervention to connect local-level
peacebuilding efforts to the U.N./African Union (AU)-led negotiation
process. Darfur's civil society representatives are eager to engage
in and support the negotiations, and their participation will lend
important credibility to any new agreements. However, they do not
have adequate access to key decision-makers in the international
community and their efforts are largely disconnected from the
higher-level political process. End summary.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
SOUTH DARFUR: WHO WILL ORGANIZE IDPS AND CIVIL SOCIETY?
--------------------------------------------- ----------

2. (SBU) The Ahali Group for Darfur Salvation, led by Ahmoud Rijal,
Magdoom of the Fur Tribe, has begun efforts to build consensus about
the peace process among civil society stakeholders in Darfur (reftel
A). The group described their plan to build on these efforts by
organizing a representative process for internally displaced persons
(IDPs) in all three states. The proposed process would involve
elections in each IDP camp in Darfur based on proportional
representation by population; training for the 200-300 individuals
elected; and the formation of a 25-member steering committee to
represent IDPs in future negotiations. The group is coordinating
with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and believes that
the SPLM will provide security and protection during this process.


3. (SBU) The Darfur Forum, a civil society group with
representatives in Darfur and Khartoum, has also organized
preliminary consensus-building workshops in Darfur (reftel A). The
group would like to organize a consultative process for civil
society including conferences, negotiations, and true
reconciliations throughout Darfur. The proposed process would
include 500 participants from the target groups in previous
workshops (IDPs, women, youth, lawyers, and unions, among others,
who they refer to as the "silent majority") and broader
representation than is called for in the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and
Consultations (DDDC). The group said that during recent DDDC
consultations in Nyala, participants concluded that the DDDC process
was not authentic and expressed this concern to DDDC facilitator
Abdul Mohammed (reftel D). Darfur Forum members believe that the
international community will be able to provide protection to them
if they organize such a process.

4. (SBU) Comment: Although civil society groups in South Darfur
have significant organizational capacity, strong commitment to
peace, and represent many key stakeholders in the peace process,
they seem to be disconnected from political developments at the
national and international level, other than the brief consultations
held by the DDDC committee (reftel C). Additionally, although some
sort of representational process must be organized to lend
authenticity to any future negotiations, it is not clear that
Darfurians will perceive any of these groups, regardless of how
representative, as possessing the legitimacy to organize such a
process. End comment.

--------------------------------------------- ----
WEST DARFUR: WHO WILL REPRESENT ARAB COMMUNITIES?
--------------------------------------------- ----

5. (SBU) In West Darfur, there are far fewer civil society groups
active in peacebuilding and political activities, and those that
exist are weak or government-affiliated. In a recent meeting in El
Geneina, the U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Head of Office told USAID
staff that DDDC facilitator Abdul Mohammed was in El Geneina for
four days in early July. Mohammed held DDDC consultative meetings
with elites, civil society, and IDPs, in addition to meeting with
native administration officials. UNMIS felt that the workshops were
well attended and participants were happy with them. UNMIS
speculated that, in contrast to South Darfur, there are fewer
players in West Darfur and therefore it would be easier to get the
right people around the table.


KHARTOUM 00001172 002.2 OF 002


6. (SBU) During the DDDC consultations, security was identified as
the number one concern, primarily in the northern corridor from El
Geneina to Kulbus. The second concern was land occupation, and
third was the role of the hybrid force. UNMIS stated that land
occupation emerged as a major impediment to dialogue, but that
occupation of land by Arabs from outside Sudan (reftels B and E)
cannot appropriately be dealt with in the context of the DDDC.
After the consultations, Mohammed met with the U.N. Country Team,
which stressed the importance of consulting Arab communities, and
recommended that he return for a week solely to consult Arab groups
in their localities. UNMIS indicated that it is particularly
important to consult Arab communities where they live, as opposed to
speaking with leaders in El Geneina, as the discussions will be more
authentic.

7. (SBU) The importance of including Arab communities in the
consultation process and determining how they will be represented in
negotiations was confirmed in another meeting between USAID staff
and representatives of an Arab group in El Geneina. The group,
which calls itself "The Reformers", comprises moderate West
Darfurians of Arab background. One of the main leaders is an Arab
who previously supported the government but has since joined Sudan
Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (SLA/Minawi) faction, and is also a
state parliamentarian. Other group members are teachers or
broadcast media workers. They estimate that there are 450
individuals of Arab background who have joined the SLA, including
three in the group's executive committee. Ninety percent of the
members are youth, which includes ages 18-35 in Sudan. The group is
trying to create a common vision among Arab communities that
provides an alternative to the government and National Congress
Party.

8. (SBU) The group said that the government and the international
community have marginalized Arab communities in Darfur, politically
and in terms of service provision. They said that Arab communities,
especially those that have not participated in the conflict, feel
isolated and angry as a result. The group would like to conduct
outreach to the local and international community on the role of
Arab communities in peacebuilding, drawing on influential leaders,
youth, and neutral groups. The group also emphasized the need for
tangible service provision in Arab communities. Comment: The views
expressed by this group underline the fact that, although the
Sudanese government was presumed to serve as a proxy for all Arab
groups at the Abuja negotiations, this can no longer be assumed.
End comment.


FERNANDEZ

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