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Cablegate: Splm to Proceed with Darfur Initiative

VZCZCXRO8239
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1509/01 2691255
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261255Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8642
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI IMMEDIATE 0232
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001509

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL UN AU SU
SUBJECT: SPLM TO PROCEED WITH DARFUR INITIATIVE


KHARTOUM 00001509 001.2 OF 002


----------------------------------------
SPLM Forging Ahead with Darfur Initiative
-----------------------------------------

1. (SBU) Despite the failure of recent overtures to Darfur
rebel leader Abdulwahid al Nur, the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement (SPLM) intends to proceed with an initiative in the
next 10 days to prepare Darfur's rebel groups for
negotiations scheduled to begin in Libya at the end of
October, according to UN officials in Khartoum. The
initiative will focus on political reconciliation among the
rebel factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the
Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), followed by capacity
building workshops.

-------------------------------------
Rebel Participation Still in Question
-------------------------------------

2. (SBU) While acknowledging that the SPLM may face
difficulties in garnering wide rebel participation at meeting
in Southern Sudan, UN and AU officials in Khartoum emphasize
that they remain supportive of an SPLM role in the Darfur
peace process. In addition to Abdulwahid, Justice and
Equality Movement (JEM) leader Khalil Ibrahim has rejected
SPLM invitations to Southern Sudan. As a result, the SPLM
has begun discussions with breakaway JEM commander Abdullah
Banda and JEM Secretary General Bahar Abu Gharda in lieu of
Ibrahim. The SPLM has been unable to make contact with
SLM/Unity commander Abdullah Yehia. (Note: In a conversation
with Poloff on September 25, SLM leader and Senior Assistant
to the President Minni Minawi reported that he had spoken to
Abu Gharda and Banda that day and had convinced them both to
agree to a cease-fire and to attend the Libya negotiations.
End note.)

3. (SBU) First Vice President Salva Kiir has planned a tour
of the ten Northern states--including Darfur--within the next
month. SPLM Deputy Secretary General for the Northern Sector
Yassir Arman has been proposing such a trip since early 2007
as a confidence building measure with Darfurians, many of
whom remember the SPLM's opposition to certain power and
wealth-sharing proposals during the negotiations for the
Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). While Government of Southern
Sudan Vice President Riek Machar has led the SPLM's Darfur
initiative as of late, UN officials now speculate that Kiir's
decision to visit Darfur--coming after Arman's recent return
to Sudan--may indicate that Arman has assumed control of the
Darfur portfolio.

---------------------------
Opportunity for S/E Natsios
---------------------------

4. (SBU) Remarking on S/E Natsios' upcoming visit to Sudan,
the UN point person for the SPLM suggested that the Special
Envoy could deliver three critical messages to senior
Southern officials: 1) Emphasize continued coordination and
cooperation between the UN/AU and the SPLM, 2) Urge the SPLM
to "conceptualize" its role in the Libya negotiations, given
that it is a member of the Government of National Unity but
not a signatory to the DPA, and 3) Discuss the SPLM's
positions on power and wealth sharing issues of concern to
the rebel movements and gauge the SPLM's flexibility on these
issues.

-------
Comment
-------

5. (SBU) The SPLM can play a constructive role in preparing
Darfur's rebel movements for negotiations--though they will
need to draw on outside expertise to be successful and may
need to consider holding a meeting outside Southern Sudan in
order to garner inclusive attendance. The U.S. should work
to ensure that the SPLM initiative is consistent with the
broader framework of the Darfur political process and should
re-focus attention on drawing out the SPLM's positions on
issues. S/E Natsios' visit to Sudan will provide an
opportunity to jump start efforts on both fronts. In the
absence of greater SLM unity so its factions can agree on a
platform and more in-depth discussion with the SPLM on its
redlines, the National Congress Party (NCP) is under no
pressure to tip its hand and engage in preparatory
discussions with the UN/AU that could lay the foundation for
success in Libya. End comment.


KHARTOUM 00001509 002.2 OF 002


6. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.
FERNANDEZ

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