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Cablegate: Un Update: Humanitarian and Political Processes in Darfur

VZCZCXRO6586
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1854 3310856
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 270856Z NOV 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9309
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001854

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID UN AU SU
SUBJECT: UN UPDATE: HUMANITARIAN AND POLITICAL PROCESSES IN DARFUR

1. (SBU) Summary: Briefing the donor community on November 25, UN
DSRSG Ameera Haq introduced an agenda that included an update on the
Darfur political process and humanitarian access situation, as well
a preview of the launch of the UN's 2008 workplan (donors will be
invited to a formal presentation in December). The census and the
current state of HIV/AIDS awareness in Sudan were also briefly
discussed. End summary.

----------------------------------------
POLITICAL PROCESS: SLOWLY MOVING FORWARD
----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Joint Mediation Support Team (JMST) director Jack
Christofides said that SPLM efforts currently under way in Juba to
facilitate cohesion between some of the rebel movements were moving
forward, with two major groups emerging. While "Darfur is full of
false dawns," he said, he was optimistic that the groups would agree
on a single negotiating position. Similar efforts in Darfur were
also taking hold, he said, and he hoped that ultimately the groups
in Juba and Darfur would choose a joint negotiating team between
them. At present, the talks in Juba were due to conclude on
November 29, and movement delegates would then be transported back
to Darfur. An outstanding question, however, was whether the
government's delegation would be represented by the GNU or solely
the NCP when the Sirte peace talks reconvened.

3. (SBU) On civil society representation at the talks, Christofides
said that its role was still unclear, though civil society
representatives present at Sirte had been pleased with their
involvement. Responding to a question from CDA on IDP
representation, Christofides conceded that this was one of the more
difficult issues the JMST was looking at, as IDPs were the group
most affected by Abdulwahid Nur's opposition to the talks and the
Sudanese Government is also highly suspicious of their
participation. Other opposition political parties could also be
included with civil society, he added. (Note: This would doubtless
incur suspicion on the part of the Sudanese government, who already
considers civil society participation in general as a cover for
political parties wanting to attend the talks. End note.)

4. (SBU) Christofides also confirmed that late last week NISS had
blocked a senior JMST team from flying to Umm Rai where they had
planned to conduct meetings. The team was ultimately permitted to
travel, but he said he feared that the Sudanese government was
"changing its attitude" toward cooperating with the UN/AU.

-----------------------
HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS
-----------------------

5. (SBU) Turning to humanitarian operations, the UN's Mike McDonagh
said that there was still no word on extending the NGO moratorium,
due to expire on January 31, 2008. The government would likely wait
until the last moment, he surmised. Heavy fighting between rebels
(probably SLA-Unity) and the SAF near Kutum was affecting
humanitarian operations in North Darfur, he said. In South Darfur,
the Sudanese government had not responded to charges of forced
relocations of IDPs from Otash; the government considered these
newcomers "illegal" as they had come from Kalma, he said. However,
considering that police forces used whips to move people out and
conducted the operation in the middle of the night, the UN and IOM
deemed the relocations as forced. CDA suggested that during
Under-Secretary General John Holmes' upcoming visit he make the
point to the government that while the international community
wasn't inherently opposed to some rearrangement in Kalma, it must be
voluntary.

6. (SBU) UNHCR's Craig Sanders briefed on the organization's ongoing
dialogue with the government to extend its operations to North and
South Darfur. The recent Zoe's Ark scandal had set these discussions
back, he said, and HAC Commissioner Hasabo Abdelrahman was pressing
UNHCR to come up with a "useful definition of protection" and then
present it to the governors of the two states.

7. (SBU) Comment: The large group donor briefings are a relatively
new UN phenomenon, and are set to occur monthly. While we share the
UN's assessment that the Sudanese government may wait until the last
moment to extend the moratorium on humanitarian access, we have
repeatedly urged the government to grant the extension sooner rather
than later; we will continue to press this point in the coming
weeks. Further reporting on civil society inclusion in reconvened
peace talks will follow septel. End comment.

FERNANDEZ

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