Cablegate: Un Envoy, Au Brief On Darfur Violence, Political Process

DE RUEHKH #1610/01 2880520
O 150520Z OCT 07






E.O. 12958: N/A


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1. (U) Please see action request para. 13.

2. (SBU) Briefing the "Tripoli Format" on October 12, UN Envoy Jan
Eliasson and AU officials called for "maximum restraint" among the
belligerents and international condemnation as violence escalates in
Darfur in advance of peace talks, with one diplomat reminding the
group that "if there is no peace to be kept, there can't be a
peacekeeping force." The peace negotiations will first focus on a
cessation of hostilities, and Eliasson asked for the explicit
endorsement of the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security
Council before the start of negotiations. AU officials--including
AMIS Force Commander Agwai and Joint Special Representative
Adada--appealed to the international community to pay the arrears of
the monthly subsistence allowance for Cease-fire Commission
observers and then suspend the CFC in an effort to make a clean
break between AMIS and UNAMID. As the UN/AU process moves forward,
the negotiators and the political leaders on the ground continue to
support the suspension of certain DPA provisions and call for a "new
agreement." The USG needs to focus attention on articulating what
degree of change to the DPA we will accept--and view as useful. End

Call for Maximum Restraint

3. (SBU) Briefing the Khartoum representatives of the "Tripoli
Format" governments on October 12, UN Special Envoy Jan Eliasson
called for "maximum restraint" among the warring parties in Darfur
to create an environment in which peace negotiations--scheduled to
begin in Libya on October 27--can take place. While troubled by the
recent military escalation, he said that the negotiations would
proceed on schedule and that the increased violence could not be a
pretext for any of the parties to avoid the Libya talks. "No one
can shoot his way into negotiations, and no one can shoot his way
out of negotiations," said Eliasson.

4. (SBU) Sam Ibok, the co-chair of the Joint Mediation Support Team
(JMST) leading the negotiations, cited two tendencies in the lead up
to the Libya negotiations: 1) fighting on both sides as the parties
position themselves for negotiations and 2) individuals, such as
Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction leader Abdulwahid al Nur,
threatening the process by discouraging participation. "If these
are not addressed, we can give up on the talks," said Ibok. Ibok
criticized the international community--particularly African
governments--for being "indulgent" with the parties as both the
Government of Sudan and the rebel movements increase the tempo of
fighting. "The sense is they can get away with anything," he said.
"People forget that if there is no peace to be kept, there can't be
a peacekeeping force. If anything, the situation will get worse,
and we must stand against this."

Mediation Strategy Finalized

5. (SBU) According to Eliasson, the UN and AU finalized their
mediation strategy during the recent retreat in Addis Ababa. While
an internal UN/AU version would remain confidential, an external
draft will be circulated to the international community in the
coming days. He characterized the October 10 meeting with a
delegation from the "regional actors" (Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, and
Libya)-which included Libya's Ali Treiki and Eritrea's Abdullah
Jabr--as constructive. "Negotiations cannot be successful without
the cooperation of the regional countries," said Eliasson.

Participants: Those Who Affect Security

6. (SBU) Invitations to the negotiating parties will focus on "those
who influence the (security) situation on the ground," said
Eliasson. He asserted that all of the rebel factions, with the
exception of the one led by Abdulwahid al Nur, plan to attend the
Libya talks. (Note: We know of no rebel faction that has yet
pledged to participate in the negotiations. End note.) The UN/AU
are working with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) to
organize a meeting of Darfur's rebel factions in Juba within days
and will await the outcome of this meeting to issue the

KHARTOUM 00001610 002.2 OF 003


Civil Society/Tribal Leaders

7. (SBU) The UN/AU has also developed a strategy for including civil
society and tribal representatives as "privileged observers" at the
talks who will attend plenary sessions during the negotiations and
be included as issues of particular concern to them are discussed.
Eliasson emphasized that the UN/AU are planning for more than
symbolic representation for these groups at the talks. "They will
not be full fledged negotiating powers but will be listened to at
various points," he said (reftel).

Cessation of Hostilities, Backed by UNSC

8. (SBU) Echoing recent comments of other UN/AU officials, Eliasson
said that the first phase of the negotiations will concentrate on
achieving a "credible" cessation of hostilities. A draft of this
document is being reviewed in New York and Addis Ababa. Eliasson
called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the AU Peace and
Security Cuncl (AU PSC) to "send a message of cooperation with the
talks and the expectation that a cessation of hostilities must be
respected." An effective monitoring mechanism will be critical to
verifying compliance with the cessation of hostilities, explained
Eliasson, and the UN/AU are reviewing proposals from partner
governments--including the UK and France--for such a mechanism. He
hoped that the UNSC and AU PSC will make clear that "there is a high
political price" for breaches of the agreement.

All Tripoli Format Invited, With Conditions

9. (SBU) Eliasson announced that the UN/AU will invite all of the
countries of the Tripoli Format to attend the talks and will be
sending a note verbale within days. He cautioned, however, that the
relationship between the negotiators and the international community
during the Abuja process had not been well-defined, which had led
the parties to "forum shop" and weakened the negotiators' leverage.
The UN/AU want to avoid a repetition of this problem. The
international community will have access to the plenary sessions and
regular briefings by the UN/AU and will be "called upon as needed."
"Yes, we need you there," said Eliasson, "but in close cooperation
with the mediators. The core of the negotiations will be left to
the UN/AU lead."

Monthly Subsistence Allowance

10. (SBU) AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) Force Commander Martin Luther
Agwai and Joint Special Representative Rudolphe Adada also briefed
the Tripoli Format representatives on the ongoing dispute between
AMIS and the DPA signatories on the monthly subsistence allowance
(MSA). The issue wasted his "precious time," said Agwai, and put
his troops at risk. He called AMIS headquarters in El Fasher "not
defensible" and warned of another "Haskanita," referring to the
early October attack on an AMIS camp in South Darfur that left 10
peacekeepers dead. "There are people in Darfur who are willing to
kill for five dollars," said Agwai, noting that command within the
SLM/Minawi has collapsed and that there is a disconnect between the
movement's political and tactical leaderships.

11. (SBU) The UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) needs to free itself
from both the political and security "baggage" of AMIS as it
deploys, said Agwai. The Libya negotiations are an opportunity "for
a complete break" with the Ceasefire Commission (CFC) structure that
has left armed rebel groups "working and living among my troops,
with the same ID cards, the same arm bands." Ibok said that his
personal recommendation is to "suspend" the CFC and allow Agwai to
develop "new arrangements."

Agwai Proposes Pay-off, Statement

12. (SBU) Agwai proposed that the donors pay the arrears of the MSA
at the original rate--totaling approximately 4.5 million dollars-and
then issue a written statement abolishing the MSA. CDA Powers
explained that paying the arrears without a more comprehensive plan

KHARTOUM 00001610 003.2 OF 003

for the movements to sustain themselves into the future would not
solve the problem in the long term. The French Ambassador
concurred, predicting the same problems would arise again. Agwai
said that the first step is "to close the door" on the MSA issue and
then address the underlying problems, which could include providing
support to the movement's leadership--rather to individuals--to
distribute among their partisans. The group decided to review the
issue with capitals, and the AU will schedule a follow-up meeting
after the end of Eid al Fitr. At the request of the UK, the AU will
circulate a white paper on the issue prior to the meeting. (Note:
In addition to the SLM and the Declaration of Commitment
signatories, the Sudanese Government's representatives to the CFC
receive the MSA. End note.)

Comment and Action Request

13. (SBU) Recent events have given the DPA non-signatories more
reason to believe that a sustainable political settlement with
Khartoum cannot be reached and will not be honored: 1) The recall of
the SPLM's ministers from Khartoum and 2) The further weakening of
the atrophied SLM led by Minni Minawi that has resulted from the
blatant DPA violations in South Darfur. Nonetheless, as the UN/AU
process moves forward, the negotiators and the political leaders on
the ground--including Adada--continue to support the suspension of
certain DPA provisions and call for a "new agreement." The USG
needs to focus attention on articulating what degree of change to
the DPA we will accept--and view as useful. UNSCR 1769, the Addis
Ababa agreement of November 2006 and the Tripoli communiques cite
the DPA as the basis for the political process. The suspension of
DPA provisions, such as the CFC, has real political implications,
and we should be prepared to comment on any proposals made. In
addition, Post requests the Department's guidance on responding to
Agwai's proposal regarding the MSA. End comment.

14. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.


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