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Cablegate: Force Commander Chairs His First Cfc Meetings, Makes

VZCZCXRO0411
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1470 2611156
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181156Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8558
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001470

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KPKO AU UN US SU

SUBJECT: FORCE COMMANDER CHAIRS HIS FIRST CFC MEETINGS, MAKES
POSITIVE REFORMS, BUT FRUSTRATED BY HASKANITA

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Force Commander General Martin Luther Agwai took over
Cease-fire Commission (CFC) meetings and is making positive changes
(including some that we recommended). However, the inability to
investigate the Haskanita violence highlights how weak the CFC will
remain, despite internal reforms. End summary.

-------------------------------------
US, UN OBERVERS OFFER RECOMMENDATIONS
-------------------------------------

2. (SBU) During two separate meetings with Force Commander Agwai,
S/CRS Poloff presented several proposals for improving the
functioning of the CFC, based on input from the US and UN CFC
observers. While Agwai wants to improve the CFC, he does not have
the time to attend long, pointless meetings. Poloff proposed that
the CFC chambers meet one day a week to discuss substantive issues
and that he chair those meetings. On the following day, there would
be meetings for logistical or administrative matters, chaired by the
new Deputy Force Commander.

3. (SBU) Another key recommendation is to create a log of active
cases and insure follow-up. The CFC Secretariat does not currently
maintain such a log. S/CRS Poloff will also draft standard
operating procedures for conducting investigations.

---------------------------------------
GEN AGWAI CHAIRS HIS FIRST CFC MEETINGS
---------------------------------------

4. (SBU) After returning to El Fasher several weeks ago, Agwai
chaired the meetings of both chambers on September 12 for the first
time. He allowed the representatives to complain about the
reduction in the monthly subsistence allowance (MSA) and the lack of
logistical/administrative support but then made clear that he
expected them to discuss substantive issues from in the future. He
also told them to put complaints about MSA and support in a letter,
and his staff would either address it or forward it to the Joint
Commission.

--------------------------
FRUSTRATION OVER HASKANITA
--------------------------

5. (SBU) Serious fighting occurred in Haskanita on September 10, as
the SAF attacked the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the
Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)/Unity, as a reprisal for the Wad Banda
attack in Kordofan. On September 11, Agwai issued an official
statement expressing concern. He later advised he had wanted the
CFC to review the statement but decided it was more important to get
it out promptly rather than delaying it for the CFC meeting. The
Second Chamber meeting on September 12 was delayed an hour while
Agwai met with JEM representative Gen. Mohammed Bashir and
SLA/Non-Signatories Forces (NSF) representative Col. Abdou Ismail.
At the CFC meeting, Bashir said the JEM threat to shoot down AMIS
flights to Haskanita was a misunderstanding and had been rescinded.
Agwai expressed his desire to investigate the incident as soon as
possible and was clearly frustrated that he had not yet been able to
do so. (Note: On September 12, Agwai told a visiting western
diplomat that he felt both the Sudanese Government and JEM had
obstructed his attempts to get a team to Haskanita to investigate.
End note.)

6. (SBU) Note: At the September 13 security briefing for
humanitarian organizations, the UN Department of Safety and Security
(UNDSS) reported that they were gathering information about
Haskanita. They put the casualties at 49 civilians and 200
combatants, although they could not yet confirm those numbers.
Concerning the JEM claim that two Sudanese Armed Forces helicopters
had been shot down, UNDSS said that one damaged helicopter had
returned to the airfield in Nyala. UNDSS had no word on the second
helicopter. UNDSS also briefed that five SAF and nine militia
soldiers had been killed in a clash between the SAF and an Arab
militia. Although this clash occurred near Haskanita, they felt it
was not related to the main fighting. End note.

FERNANDEZ

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