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Cablegate: Sudan Rebel Organizational Meeting in Chad

VZCZCXRO9997
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #0755/01 2701553
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271553Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5744
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0387

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000755

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

PARIS AND LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PREF CD SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN REBEL ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING IN CHAD

REF: KHARTOUM 1461

1. (SBU) Summary: The UN/AU organized September 19-20
meeting in N'Djamena was billed as an opportunity to organize
Sudan rebel movement delegations and positions before the
October 27, 2007 negotiation in Tripoli, but from most
accounts it was inconclusive on all fronts and lacked the
presence of senior rebel leadership. Another attempt may be
tried in early October, possibly in N'Djamena. JEM
negotiator Lissan, in N'Djamena for the meeting, informed CDA
that Chadian rebels at the Sudan border intended another try
at unseating President Deby, however, he felt that the GOC
was one step ahead of them. End summary.

2. (SBU) Charge d'Affaires met with Boubou Niang, Deputy
Head of the African Union (AU) Darfur Peace Agreement
Implementation Team (DPIAT) and Vladimir Zhagora, Senior
Political Affairs Officer in the UN Department of Political
Affairs (DPA) on September 21 to discuss the AU/UN-organized
meeting in N'Djamena of non-signatories to the Darfur Peace
Agreement (DPA). The turnout for the meeting included JEM
negotiator Ahmed Tugod Lissan and one representative of
Khamis Abdullah's SLA wing. SLA's Ahmet Abd al-Shafi was not
present. There were no representatives from SLM/Unity
(apparently Abdullah Yahya had stated that internal problems
precluded participation.) Senior statesman Ahmed Ibrahim
Diraij, a NMRD representative and Arab leader Salah Abu Sura
were present.

3. (SBU) Niang and Zhagora explained that it had been hoped
that delegation composition and common negotiating positions
could be discussed during the two day meeting.
Unfortunately, movement turnout had been too low-level to
achieve anything (although a request for capacity building
was registered.) They commented on Abd Al-Wahid al-Nur's
unrealistic list of preconditions, which included janjaweed
disarmament, return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
and peace-keeping troops from the United States, Canada, New
Zealand and Australia exclusively.

4. (SBU) In a meeting September 22 with JEM negotiator
Tugod Lissan, Lissan confirmed that the meeting had not
advanced any issues but noted that he was staying in
N'Djamena for a few weeks and there might be another attempt
in early October to bring players together. He reiterated
that the movements wanted to have a capacity building
workshop before the October 27 meeting in Tripoli. He was
also adamant that, as the non-signatories, only JEM and SLA
were the appropriate interlocutors for the negotiations. He
stated that the concerns of others (such as some of the newer
Arab groups) could be accommodated, but, as they did not have
a real presence on the ground in Darfur, they should not be
at the table. As for Salah Abu Sura - a member of the Sudan
Communist party - JEM would never recognize him or allow him
to be part of the talks. He noted the positive presence of
Sulayman Jammous whom he described as experienced and
open-minded. Jammous had the stature to encourage SLA
independents Adam Bakhit, Adam Shogar and Sharif Hariri to
coalesce.

5. (SBU) Lissan stated that the starting point for the
negotiations was still an open issue. He felt that the
approach used in Arusha - which he described as laying out
issues without excluding those that were not in the DPA - was
the most helpful tack to take. Looking at obstacles to an
eventual peace, he mentioned the resettlement of Arabs from
Chad and Niger. He stated that this would be a major issue -
JEM was asking for these settlers to be removed from the
areas where they were installing themselves. IDPs must not
stay in the temporary areas determined by the government but
must be returned home. Concerning the Hybrid Peace-Keeping
Operation (PKO), he stated that this force may shore up the
government's belief that it did not need to look at the root
causes of the Darfur conflict - only at the superficial ones.
Concerning Khalid Ibrahim's comments to the press on
reverting to force for an independent Darfur if the Tripoli
talks did not succeed, Lissan intimated that this had an
element of pre-negotiation grandstanding.

JEM ON SLA

6. (SBU) Lissan cautioned that it was impossible for the
SLA to unify under one leadership. The wings could only be
dealt with as separate movements. In a tour d'horizon of SLA
leaders, Lissan described Abd al-Wahid as 'an obstacle.' He
controlled IDP committees in 'show camps' which do his
bidding and are able to appear more significant than they
are. Abd al-Shafi, by contrast, had more support on the
ground. He was more open minded than Abd al-Wahid, and he

NDJAMENA 00000755 002 OF 002


had the respect of the Fur intellectuals. Khamis Abdullah
was not as strong on the ground and not as experienced
politically, although he had Masalit support. Lissan argued
that JEM was able to avoid some of the SLA's problems by
having better organization; by having established a political
wing before a military presence and by having cadres with
more education and cohesive institutions. The NMRD was
totally a Chadian creation. He acknowledged that there had
been reports of JEM divisions. JEM field commanders (he
mentioned Banda) had been dissatisfied and had tried to split
the movement. There had been allegations of corruption and
mismanagement on the ground; Banda and another field
commander had been sidelined for abuses.

JEM ON ERITREA AND LIBYA

7. (SBU) Lissan also cautioned that Eritrea could be an
obstacle. The Government of Eritrea wanted to host the talks
in order to curry favor with Sudan government. They also had
close relations with the head of Sudanese intelligence, Saleh
Gosh. In any event, Ertitrean efforts had not been able to
attract the main players. Neither SLA nor JEM had gone to
Asmara. Eritrea had only been able to attract the bit
players: the 'Asmara Front' of Diraij, NMRD and Khamis
Abdulla (who was kept there against his will.) Libya, on the
other hand was strongly influencing the AU. The effect of
'Le Guide' could be seen in the AU's new position that they
didn't want international forces - only Africans - in the
Hybrid PKO. 'Sudan cannot say no to Libya, otherwise Libya
will immediately start supporting the Sudanese rebels.'

JEM TAKE ON CHAD REBEL ACTION

8. (SBU) Lissan agreed to discuss the current situation of
the Chadian rebels (with whom he had been crossing paths in
Tripoli.) He stated that Chad rebel leaders Timan Erdimi and
Mahamat Nouri intended to take one more shot at toppling the
regime. (Comment: this expectation corresponds with GOC
views. There has been a massive and widely observed
positioning of Chadian troops on the border. End Comment.)
According to Lissan, the Tripoli Agreement (whereby Sudan and
Chad agreed to desist in supporting rebel groups bent on the
others' destabilization) was not being observed. The Chadian
rebels were receiving ample support from Sudan. Queried as
to whether JEM troops would support Chadian troops in any
eventual clash with Chadian rebels, Lissan responded that
this was not likely; Chadian troops were well-stationed along
the border, JEM forces were not right now part of the
defensive position. Furthermore, Chad had many informants
among the rebel troops and was aware of rebel plans and
movements.

LONG-TIME REBEL OBSERVER STRESSES NEED TO ORGANIZE SLA
AS FIRST STEP

9. (SBU) In a meeting with CDA September 24, Chad
Ambassador to Sudan, Haroun Bahradine, agreed that the
meeting had not succeeded, but ascribed it to invitations
going out late. Another meeting was needed before October
27. But he cautioned that the negotiations would never
advance unless the SLA had a chance to resolve internal
differences. The presence of four SLA wings made it
impossible for the movements as a whole to have a coherent
position. (The four wings being those belonging to Abd
al-Wahid, Yahya, al Shafi (whom he described as smart and the
natural heir to al-Wahid) and Khamis Abdullah.) He also
stated that the movements had no resources, and need
additional financial support in order to 'travel to their
people - hear their views - get the word out.'
TAMLYN

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