Cablegate: Un/Au Update On Darfur Peace Process in Lead-Up To

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1. (SBU) One week before the September 21 meeting on Darfur
in New York, the UN/AU provided an update on the peace
process for representatives in Khartoum. With the exception
of a proposed meeting of Darfur rebel leaders in N'djamena
from September 16-17, the UN/AU provided few details on its
plan for preparing the parties for negotiations at the end of
October. However, the UN/AU presented a broad agenda for the
talks encompassing power-sharing, wealth-sharing and security
and asked the "non-regional" governments of the Tripoli
Format to select four representatives to participate in the
negotiations. While several key rebel leaders, including
Abdulwahid al Nur, Khalil Ibrahim, and Ahmed Abdulshafie may
not attend the talks, the potential of reaching an inclusive
agreement--in the brief timeframe laid out by the UN/AU and
heartily supported by the Sudanese Government--is
questionable. The U.S. should present clear positions on the
following issues during the September 21 UN/AU-sponsored
meeting in New York: a single UN/AU negotiator, issue-based
"shuttle diplomacy" prior to the start of negotiations,
UN/AU-facilitated dialogue among the factions of the SLM,
realistic outcomes for the Libya talks, and an agile contact
group with leverage on all of the parties. End summary.

Preparation (or Lack Thereof)

2. (SBU) The UN/AU held a briefing for the Khartoum
representatives of the "Tripoli Format" governments on
September 14 to provide an update on the Darfur peace process
in the lead-up to the September 21 meeting on Darfur in New
York. Sam Ibok, co-chair of the Joint Mediation Support Team
(JMST), said that the UN/AU planned to convene a September 16
preparatory meeting for the Darfur rebels in N'djamena with
the "leading personalities" from the late-July Arusha
conference. Without providing specifics, Ibok said that the
meeting would focus on bringing the rebel movements together,
with minimal UN/AU intervention. Sudan Liberation Movement
(SLM) faction leader Abdulwahid al Nur had declared he would
not attend. Others, such as Justice and Equality Movement
(JEM) leader Khalil Ibrahim were also ambivalent.

3. (SBU) Beginning around October 17, Ibok said that the
UN/AU planned to hold a series of workshops for the rebel
movements in Libya to prepare a "rebel platform" for the
negotiations. The Chairman of the Darfur Darfur Dialogue and
Consultation (DDDC), Abdul Mohammed, recalled that the most
progress during the Abuja talks had occurred just after
successful workshops with the rebel movements.

4. (SBU) Poloff asked whether, given the continued disunity
within the rebel movements, the UN/AU was able to conduct
"shuttle diplomacy" between the parties, as envisioned in the
UN/AU roadmap. Ibok responded that the "shuttle continues;"
UN/AU representatives spoke to rebel leaders daily to
determine the most productive "models" for representation at
the talks and were seeking meetings with the Sudanese
Government to discuss the current fighting and to review the
draft agenda for the Libya talks.

Not So Hidden Agenda

5. (SBU) Ibok previewed a broad draft "agenda" for the talks.
Though UN Envoy Jan Eliasson and AU Envoy Salim Ahmed Salim
had approved the agenda, Ibok emphasized that it was still
preliminary and had not been shared with the parties. While
the agenda was divided into four categories (wealth-sharing,
power-sharing, security, and implementation modalities), Ibok
stressed that the UN/AU had not decided on a sequence for
discussing each category and that Eliasson and Salim were
considering whether the components could be negotiated
concurrently. However, he outlined the specific issues that
the UN/AU planned to discuss and asked for feed-back from the
Tripoli Format governments before or during the September 21
UN/AU-sponsored meeting in New York. The agenda will include
discussion of the following:

-- Wealth-sharing: compensation; reconstruction and

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development, including a discussion on the resumption of the
Darfur Joint Assessment Mission (DJAM) and a donor
conference; and humanitarian issues, including the return of
IDPs and refugees, humanitarian assistance, and land

-- Security: a new cessation of hostilities, which the UN/AU
hoped would precede the October 27 talks; a comprehensive
cease-fire agreement; a definition for the UN-African Union
Mission in Sudan's (UNAMID) support of the political process;
the disarmament of the Janjaweed, and formal security
arrangements relating to demobilization and re-integration of
all of the armed groups.

-- Power-sharing: one region for Darfur rather than three
states and a review of the current power-sharing arrangements
at both the federal and regional level.

-- Implementation modalities: international guarantees and
the formal status of the new agreement, i.e. as an "annex" to
the DPA, a stand-alone agreement, or another mechanism.

6. (SBU) The French Ambassador, Christine Robichon, asserted
that it would be difficult to have constructive negotiations
without a cessation of hostilities to use as a basis for a
sustainable cease-fire mechanism. Ibok agreed, saying "if
what is happening on the ground now (i.e. the ongoing
Government-rebel violence in South Darfur) continues, we
cannot have negotiations." Ibok characterized a cessation of
hostilities as a "light political statement" to test the
sincerity of the parties' commitment to the peace process.
The existing mechanisms of the African Union Mission in Sudan
(AMIS), plus the UN Heavy Support Package, would monitor
adherence to the agreement, he posited.

Quick Talks, But Who Will Attend?

7. (SBU) Ibok said that Eliasson and Salim--under pressure
from the international community--wanted to conclude the
negotiations by the end of the year but called this
expectation an "optimistic projection." Several outstanding
issues on participation remained the principal obstacle to
the process, according to Ibok. In addition to recalcitrant
Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) leader Abdulwahid al Nur,
other key rebel leaders, including the Justice and Equality
Movement's (JEM) Khalil Ibrahim and SLM faction leader Ahmed
Abdulshafie have indicated they will not attend the Libya

8. (SBU) The Egyptian Ambassador cautioned that criteria for
participation in the peace process should not be limited to
armed groups. "They can't be negotiating through the barrel
of a gun...there cannot just be a place (at the negotiating
table) for those whose only constituency is weapons," he
said. Ibok responded that the UN/AU were developing a
strategy to include civil society groups in the process,
which would be essential for its success.

Hospitality As Leverage

9. (SBU) Ibok stressed that addressing the intransigence of
Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) leader Abdulwahid al Nur
"should not be left only to the UN/AU" and that it was
incumbent on other governments, particularly in Europe, to
ensure his participation in the peace process. "If there is
no Abdulwahid, we can pack our bags," he said. The UN/AU was
not requesting that Abdulwahid be expelled from Europe,
according to Ibok, only that European governments "use the
leverage of hospitality to bring together all of the parties."

10. (SBU) Robichon called Ibok's comments--a clear allusion
to Paris--"severe." "My authorities are working very hard
with Abdulwahid," she said, adding that France had persuaded
Abdulwahid to receive a UN/AU team in early summer. Ibok
apologized for "giving the impression that he was talking
about France," noting that Abdulwahid was not the only rebel
leader who had taken refuge abroad and was obstructing the
peace process. "He's just the biggest fish," explained Ibok,
who then reiterated that "there must be conditions attached
to hospitality." Robichon said that France had not granted

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"political refugee" status to Abdulwahid, meaning that his
visa expired every three months. "We are using all of our
leverage within the rule of law," she said. In a separate
meeting on September 17, Robichon told the Charge that France
was coordinating its Abdulwahid strategy with UN Envoy

SPLM: No Luck with Abdulwahid

11. (SBU) During the briefing, Ibok received word that a
delegation of the Sudan People's liberation Movement (SPLM),
led by Government of Southern Sudan Vice President Riek
Machar, had been unsuccessful after three days of meetings in
Paris to convince Abdulwahid to attend an SPLM-sponsored
meeting for the SLM in Southern Sudan. Noting that the UN/AU
still considered the SPLM's role in the Darfur peace process
"important," Ibok said that any effort to re-unify the SLM
that did not include Abdulwahid was "useless."

Contact Group Controversy

12. (SBU) UN/AU plans for international participation at the
Libya talks provoked a strong response from many of the
European nations. According to Ibok, the UN/AU would include
the four "regional" members of the Tripoli Format (Chad,
Libya, Eritrea, and Egypt) and four non-regional members.
The UN/AU made it the responsibility of the non-regional
members of the Tripoli Format to select their representatives
in preparation for the September 21 meeting in New York. He
suggested, however, that one slot each could represent North
America, Europe, Asia, and the Arab world. During the Abuja
talks, negotiations had occurred between the parties and the
international community, rather than among the parties. In
the new process, both the regional and non-regional
representatives would thus operate within a defined framework
under the leadership of the UN and AU envoys, said Ibok.

13. (SBU) The UK called the four-country limit "unrealistic,"
emphasizing that the UN/AU would need the "maximum leverage
and positive influence" of a broad range of Western
participants to bring the parties to compromise. Dutch
representatives expressed similar concerns, while calling for
the appointment of a chief negotiator. Poloff iterated USG
support for a single chief negotiator to shepherd the
process. (Note: European representatives in Khartoum concede
that the U.S., China, and the EU must be represented on the
"contact group." A UN official told Poloff following the
meeting that Eliasson had begrudgingly accepted four
non-regional members, instead of two, and would never consent
to increasing the number. End note.)


14. (SBU) UN and AU officials, including Ibok, admit that
there is no concrete strategy to prepare the parties for
negotiations prior to October 27, with two exceptions: 1) the
vaguely defined--and possibly little attended--meeting in
N'djamena, and 2) the workshops in Libya to build a rebel
platform, an impossible task given the ongoing disunity
within the Darfur movements. The UN/AU have interpreted
"shuttle diplomacy" to mean any UN/AU discussions with the
Darfur rebel groups and the Sudanese Government, rather than
an effort to focus on narrowing the parties' positions on key
issues before the start of talks. This misinterpretation is
most evident by the menagerie of issues included in the UN/AU
draft agenda and the absence of a decision on whether the
outcome of the Libya talks will be an addendum to the DPA or
a new agreement. To address some of the shortcomings in the
UN/AU process, the U.S. should present clear positions on the
following issues during the September 21 UN/AU-sponsored
meeting in New York: a single UN/AU negotiator, issue-based
"shuttle diplomacy" prior to the start of negotiations,
UN/AU-facilitated dialogue among the factions of the SLM,
realistic outcomes for the Libya talks, and an agile contact
group with leverage on all of the parties. End comment.

15. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

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