Cablegate: Chad: Presidential Advisor Younousmi On Sudan,

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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: President Deby's close advisor Adoum
Younousmi told the Ambassador July 3 that, during his trip to
Khartoum the previous week, he had found the Sudanese leaders
"lacking in vision" in their objectives in Darfur, but
"evolving." They had asked for Chadian mediation with the
Darfur rebels. Younousmi claimed that the death of Majzub
al-Khalifa was not the reason Deby delayed his trip to
Khartoum (he did not give the reason) but he believed Deby
might go next week. Younousmi disparaged the Chadian rebels
with whom he had conducted talks in Tripoli, but he exuded
confidence that an accord with the internal opposition would
be signed soon (albeit one that would fail to meet the
opposition's wider demands). He acknowledged that Deby would
be voted out in a transparent electoral system and that Chad
needed such a system, but he said that Chad was too immature
to move toward it rapidly. He did not accept the
Ambassador's analysis that such reform was key to long-term
stability in Chad but insisted, instead, that Sudan and
Darfur were the source of Chad's problems. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) In his farewell call July 3 on Minister of
State/Minister of Infrastructure Adoum Younousmi, the
Ambassador presented his condolences on the death of
President Idriss Deby's oldest son Brahim (murdered in France
July 2) and asked that he pass on his condolences to Deby, in
the event that he would not have an occasion to see him
before his departure from Chad July 5. Younousmi noted that
Deby had not cut short his attendance at the African Union
summit in Accra and would return to Chad July 3. There would
be no public funeral. (Note: Brahim, renowned for his
violence and arrogance, had fallen from favor. End Note.)

To Tripoli and Khartoum

3, (SBU) The Ambassador noted that Younousmi had been doing
much travel in the past week, starting with leading a
delegation to meet Chadian rebels in Tripoli, followed by his
trip to Khartoum to pave the way for President Deby's trip to
Khartoum, canceled due to the death of senior Sudanese
official Majzub al-Khalifa. Younousmi said that, indeed, he
had not had much time to attend to the needs of his own
ministry. He would be traveling to Libreville on July 4. He
had met President Bashir in Khartoum. In fact, it was not
Majzub's death that prompted Deby's failure to travel to
Khartoum; rather, Deby had been "too occupied" and the
"timing was not right." Younousmi said that Deby might go to
Khartoum "after a week."

4. (SBU) Younousmi said that some progress had been made in
Tripoli. He characterized the Chadian rebels as "controlled
by Sudan" and said that progress with Sudan would mean
progress with the rebels. As for the rebels themselves, he
said he was "disappointed" in what they had to say. He knew
them well -- they had all been ministers or advisors of the
president. They talked much about transparent elections and
good governance but had done nothing to promote those aims
while in government. They had no cause or ideology other
than self-promotion.

Dialogue -- Mostly Agreed

5. (SBU) Younousmi said, meanwhile, the democratic
opposition in Chad had engaged the regime in a dialogue that
was making serious progress toward effecting the aims that
the armed opposition talked about but undermined through
their resort to violence. The dialogue had produced
agreement on a substantial reform of electoral processes,
something that had been unthinkable over the preceding
decade. The next elections (legislative) would be
transparent. It was natural for a people to want a change of
leadership, and this regime knew that it would have to lose
an election some day. Chad was not mature enough for full
democracy yet, but the dialogue was moving Chad in that

6. (SBU) To the Ambassador's question whether the government
had come to agreement with the opposition on all points,
Younousmi acknowledged that there remained areas of
disagreement, in particular a government of consensus and
deferral of the legislative elections (in order to give time
for a census). Younousmi complained that these points "were
not supposed to be" on the agenda of the dialogue. The
dialogue, as originally conceived (i.e., by Deby), was meant
to have addressed "purely electoral issues," such as
reconstitution of the electoral commission. On electoral
issues, he said, there was complete agreement. It was
important to understand that this was a "huge step."

7. (SBU) The Ambassador said that it was a pity that such

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reform had not been effected prior to the 2006 presidential
election. Younousmi bristled, commenting that the democratic
opposition had discredited itself by having contact with the
armed rebels. He painted a cataclysmic picture of what Chad
could have become if the rebels had succeeded -- "worse than
Somalia." The Ambassador pointed out that Younousmi had,
effectively, just made the case for democratic institutions.
Younousmi conceded that stability would "require many
reforms" and repeated that "we are prepared to lose an
election." Indeed, he said, "we (the regime) could be proud
to lose an election." The Ambassador seconded this sentiment.

8. (SBU) However, Younousmi said, the ground had to be
prepared patiently. In much of Africa, he said, loss of an
election was loss of everything, loss of all privileges, loss
of all supporters. The opposition parties (being in the
opposition) were very weak, both in ideology and resources,
built around individuals with narrow regional bases. They
had no capacity to put election observers all over the vast
country, in which Ndjamena had only ten percent of the
population. The Ambassador said that, if Chad made real
reforms, the United States might be prepared to bring
electoral expertise and assistance to bear -- would Chad be
amenable to such assistance? Younousmi said that Chad would
not only welcome assistance -- the United States could
organize the elections entirely. What Chad (read: Deby)
could not accept was public condemnation. Even if criticism
were just, it was unacceptable when splashed on the front
pages of newspapers.

Sudan as the Source of All Ills

9. (SBU) Younousmi said that Chad was unfortunate in its
neighbors. It had had good relations with Sudan until
recently. Formerly, it had had poor relations with Libya,
and rebels in those days had found support from and refuge in
Libya. Now it was Sudan. The previous week, Younousmi had
met President Bashir and other senior leaders. "I could not
see their vision. They do not know what they want. But
their views are evolving." They had told him that continued
unrest in Darfur was severely undermining them, and Younousmi
told them Darfur was equally serious for Chad. But they had
said that if Sudan did what the international community
demanded, "ten other Darfurs" would emerge in Sudan, just as
Darfur had emerged after they had met international demands
on southern Sudan.

10. (SBU) Younousmi said that his Sudanese interlocutors
told him that Chad's support for Khalil Ibrahim had harmed
prospects for peace. Younousmi responded that Chad was no
friend of Khalil's. In fact, he told them he had urged
Khalil to sign the Darfur peace agreement. The important
thing was that Khalil and the other Darfur rebels did not ask
for independence. At most, they wanted a federation. A
federal system was what had helped Nigeria stay together as a
nation. Chad itself was moving toward greater
decentralization. Sudan needed to "make the big decision" to
"give them their region," to share power and to share oil
revenues. A "small minority" could not continue to hold
total power in a country as vast and diverse as Sudan.
Chinese help would not suffice, and turning to Chavez and
Iran only showed Sudanese desperation. Younousmi said they
had accused the United States of wanting to gain control of
Sudan's oil, an idea he said he dismissed out of hand.

11. (SBU) Younousmi said that he feared that sanctions
against individuals was not the correct strategy. He had
felt in Khartoum that Bashir was backed in a corner. The
effect was to "radicalize him," make him more obdurate and
desperate. It would be more useful, Younousmi said, to put
pressure on China.

12. (SBU) Younousmi emphasized that if Darfur were resolved,
Chad's rebellion would be resolved. The Ambassador said that
the United States was sparing no effort in working for peace
in Darfur, but this effort needed Chad's commitment to
democratic reform, which would also be essential to quelling
the Chadian rebels and promoting Chad's stability. Younousmi
said that he was certain that an accord with the democratic
opposition would soon be signed. But he insisted that the
Chadian rebellion was a function of the Darfur conflict and
Sudan's support. He had stressed to the Sudanese that not
only Sudan and Chad would be ultimately destroyed by
continued conflict in Darfur, but conflict would spread
further and even engulf Nigeria. He said that the Sudanese
had asked Chad to be a mediator in the conflict. Younousmi
said that he had responded that Chad had "no problem" being a
mediator, but it was essential that Sudan make concessions on
Darfurian autonomy and sharing oil wealth.

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13. (SBU) Younousmi said he did not underestimate the
difficulty of sharing oil wealth. Chad had devoted five
percent of its oil revenues to the regional governments in
the south where the oil was located and it ought, in his
opinion, to be increased to ten percent. However, the local
committees overseeing the disbursement of that five percent
had mismanaged the money, so much so that the villages most
impacted by the oil operation had seen scarcely any benefit.
On his recent swing through the south, Deby had fired many
officials and demanded an overhaul of the committees.

14. (SBU) Comment: Younousmi is one of Deby's suavest and
closest advisors, whom he uses for sensitive negotiations and
as regime paymaster. He talks a good game on democracy as
being important to Chad's long-term stability, but his
remarks on Chad's immaturity (i.e., unreadiness for
democracy) are a truer reflection of how he sees the reality
of Chad. Chadian counsel to the Sudanese about sharing power
and oil revenue was surely unconvincing to them, coming from
a country that has a poor record in both areas.

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