Cablegate: Fur Shura Council to S/E Natsios: We Need Guarantees Before

DE RUEHKH #1556/01 2810654
O 080654Z OCT 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: In an October 4 meeting with Special Envoy
Natsios, members of the Fur Shura Council in Khartoum claimed that
Darfur rebel leader Abdul Wahid Nur would attend negotiations in
Libya if he had 'guarantees' that Fur rights, such as compensation,
security and return, would be satisfactorily addressed during the
talks. S/E said that while Libya was a problematic venue, a Fur
presence was key to the talks' success. S/E suggested that a broad
statement of principles would be useful before the talks and
encouraged the council to press Abdul Wahid to send senior
representatives to Libya if he himself would not attend. End


2. (SBU) In his October 4 meeting with five representatives of the
Fur Shura Council in Khartoum, S/E Natsios expressed reservations
about the choice of Libya as the venue for the upcoming
negotiations, but stressed the need for Fur leader Abdul Wahid to
attend. "Why is he so absolutely opposed to negotiations?" he asked.
His long litany of pre-conditions to the talks was unrealistic, he
said. The U.S. could pressure the Sudanese government to attend, but
if the Fur weren't represented -- the most politically sophisticated
tribe in Darfur -- negotiations could not succeed.

3. (SBU) Thanking the S/E for U.S. continued support for the people
of Darfur in a time when they couldn't help themselves, one
representative said that only a few factions on the ground in Darfur
truly represented the people there; the others were manipulated by
the government. The Fur, and Abdul Wahid, were not in principle
opposed to negotiations, but objected to having been excluded from
any planning consultations. Libyan involvement in Darfur was at the
root of the conflict going back decades, he continued, and the
regime was known for pitting Arab tribes against Africans. The
conflict in Darfur was first and foremost an issue of land, he said,
but the government had transformed it into something else. The Fur
were the true, real representatives of Darfur, he insisted, and
Abdul Wahid was only seeking to preserve their basic rights. Abdul
Wahid was not setting pre-conditions when he said that negotiations
should not take place without issues such as security, compensation
and return being resolved first. "These are not pre-conditions --
these are rights!"


4. (SBU) CDA Fernandez pointed out that there was a difference
between being present at negotiations and giving up one's rights.
The U.S. wanted attendance but was not demanding acquiescence with
Khartoum. While agreeing, the group said that that the Fur couldn't
enter negotiations without at least guarantees that their rights
would be met during the talks. But these rights were already
guaranteed in the DPA, S/E countered. The problem was
implementation, he said.

5. (SBU) Abdul Wahid's popularity increased tenfold after the "late"
Abuja agreement, one representative said, and the government
benefited as well. Others who cooperated with the government, like
janjaweed militias and former rebels like Minni Minawi, had also
profited. They were given key positions in the judiciary, the
police and the army, while indigenous Darfuris were kicked out. The
government was also controlling the African Union, he said. The
international community had not implemented any of the UN
resolutions, he continued, and not one of those who committed crimes
in Darfur had been brought to justice. The Sudanese Government was
hoping for agreement in Libya, as then there would no longer be any
need for the hybrid, he claimed.

6. (SBU) UNSCR 1769 was adopted in order to implement a peace
agreement, not to precede one, S/E said, and neither the presence of
UN nor hybrid forces on the ground would guarantee total security in
Darfur. If there were a strong statement of principles before the
negotiations, S/E asked, would Abdul Wahid attend? "We will tell him
to do so," the group said.

7. (SBU) Even the former wali of South Darfur had admitted that
seventy-five percent of weapons in Darfur came from the government,
a representative from Zalengei said. "We need the rule of law, not
the rule of the gun." The Fur would never regain all that they'd
lost in Darfur, he said; Abdul Wahid simply wanted to see
guarantees. "Guarantees are our only card to play." Those Darfuris
who had aligned with Minni Minawi (who he characterized as
'illiterate' and 'ignorant') had forgotten a crucial truth, he
asserted: the land was named 'Dar Fur,'(Darfur means "home of the
Fur") not 'Dar Zaghawa.' The only movements who really represented
Darfur were JEM and SLA/Abdul Wahid, he said. The others were either
aligned with the government or too weak to matter.


KHARTOUM 00001556 002 OF 002


8. (SBU) There had been an attempt to arrange an SLM strategy
meeting in Mombasa with the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, S/E
said, but Abdul Wahid refused to attend, fearing he'd be replaced by
his own commanders. We need a political process, S/E argued, and
Abdul Wahid's continued opposition was not helpful. "What will
happen if IDPs stay in the camps for five or ten more years? And who
will give you the guarantees you want?" CDA asked. The international
community should, the group said, as they did in Navaisha after the
signing of the CPA. At first arguing that the DPA itself should be
abandoned, the group scaled back its position a bit and said that
the DPA could be the basis for negotiations, but it must be amended,
like when the flawed and failed accord with Lam Akol (the Khartoum
Agreement of 1997) eventually led to the 2005 CPA.

9. (SBU) S/E agreed that a broad statement of principles would be
useful prior to talks, but the details should be worked out during
negotiations. Libya was only the beginning, he said; there would be
other conferences after. If Abdul Wahid wouldn't come, he continued,
then he must allow some of his trusted senior commanders and
political leaders to represent him. "We will take note of this," the
group said. The longer these talks continued, S/E warned, the less
likely they would succeed. Success before the 2009 elections would
let you vote for your own parties, he told them. Only extremists
were interested in elections, one of the representatives argued;
"people sitting in IDP camps have other concerns." The group had one
final request of the S/E: "Put pressure on the government to accept
hybrid troops from outside of Africa."

10. (SBU) Comment: Abdul Wahid Nur's influence reaches even into
Khartoum as these Fur leaders were strongly in his corner. They were
somewhat more flexible than their ostensible leader in his
comfortable Paris exile but their positions underscore the need for
Fur buy-in with any future agreement. With about seventy percent of
IDPs belonging to the Fur, their boycott would derail any real
chance of peace and reconciliation in Darfur. End comment.

11. (U) S/E Natsios did not clear this cable before his departure.

© Scoop Media

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