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Cablegate: Unamid Deployment Steady but Bigger Tests Still to Come

VZCZCXRO5306
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1492 2661359
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231359Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8600
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001492

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF S/E NATSIOS, AND AF/SPG
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO UN AU SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID DEPLOYMENT STEADY BUT BIGGER TESTS STILL TO COME

REF: KHARTOUM 01472

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SUMMARY
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1. (SBU) While obstacles to the deployment of the UN-African Union
Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) exist--primarily at the local
level--deployment of the force has been steady, and there are no
indications that Sudan is blocking UNAMID as a matter of official
policy. However, as CDA Fernandez explained recently to Foreign
Minister Lam Akol (reftel), the logistical demands on the
peace-keeping mission (including visa, land, water and customs
requirements) will increase exponentially as the force deploys.
These complexities, in addition to bureaucratic inertia at the local
level, could jeopardize the deployment timelines set by the UN.
2. (SBU) A recent report from the UK Embassy in Khartoum, based on a
briefing with UNAMID Director of Administration Mohamed Yunnus,
provides a reasonable snapshot of the current conditions:
-- Land: There are no problems in El Fasher. Some detailed
arrangements remain to be made in Zalingei, but no obstacle is
expected. In Nyala, intensive negotiations that have included UN/AU
Joint Special Representative Rudolphe Adada and Akol have resolved
some administrative challenges caused by friction within the
Sudanese Government, between Khartoum and South Darfur State, and
between the Wali of South Darfur and local farmers. The final
agreement for Nyala is expected to be delivered to UNAMID on
September 21. (Note: Sudan's interagency technical committee,
chaired by MFA Undersecretary Mutriff Siddiq and charged with
supporting UNAMID deployment, met on September 12 and resolved the
outstanding land issue in Zalingei, Akol told CDA Fernandez on
September 18. End note.)
-- Night Flying and Airports: UNAMID has no intention of conducting
routine night flights in or out of Darfur at present. Arrangements
for casualty evacuation are in place, however. There will need to
be an arrangement for night flying when UNAMID gets night-capable
tactical aircraft. Reports of Sudan blocking the use of large AN
124 transport aircraft are false. None of the runways in Darfur are
capable of supporting this aircraft. (Note: Khartoum is the only
airport in Sudan that routinely operates after dark and the only
airport suitable for an AN124. Safety arrangements and lighting are
rarely reliable elsewhere. End note.)
-- Customs: The customs issues are resolved, with UN materiel
transiting the port at an acceptable rate. (Note: Three weeks ago,
senior UN officials reported that fifty percent of the backlog had
been cleared, and the rest was proceeding. End note.)
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Comment
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3. (SBU) These are very early days, and whether Sudan permits the
delivery of material and resources in support of non-African parts
of UNAMID will present more objective tests of its commitment to UN
Security Council Resolution 1769. Sudan's previous track record on
following through on its promises is weak, but this time, the
Sudanese, will be different. Bureaucracy at all levels is
obstructionist by instinct, and there will be local difficulties and
normal logistical bottlenecks, at least, throughout UNAMID's
deployment. That said, PAE has reported that it has received some
necessary, and expedited, flight clearances from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs for later this week. This pace of expedited
clearances will need to continue--and not relapse into the seven to
eight-day "normal" clearance period--in order for all sides to
facilitate the arrival of UNAMID. CDA will continue to engage the
Sudanese government on these issues at all levels. End comment.
FERNANDEZ

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