Search

 

Cablegate: Darfur: Tension, Mistrust Continue to Afflict Amis-Slm

VZCZCXRO1263
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1892/01 3360747
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020747Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9392
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001892

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT 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 KPKO UN AU SU

SUBJECT: DARFUR: TENSION, MISTRUST CONTINUE TO AFFLICT AMIS-SLM
RELATIONSHIP

-------
Summary
-------

1. (SBU) AMIS Force Commander Agwai's proposal to restructure
payment of the MSA and the rebel movements' representation in the
Cease-fire Commission (CFC) has set off a wave of mutual
recriminations between AMIS and the SLM. The incident is just the
latest in an unfortunate history of tension and mistrust between
both groups that, if left unchecked, will undermine the Darfur
peacekeeping operation and political process. Dialogue between AMIS
and the SLM and more specificity on the post-January 1 CFC and the
peace process can slow the deterioration in the relationship. End
summary.

--------------------------------
AGWAI BRIEFING EXPOSES RAW NERVE
--------------------------------

2. (SBU) Racing against the clock, AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) Force
Commander Martin Luther Agwai is attempting to put the controversial
issue of the monthly subsistence allowance (MSA) for CFC observers
behind him so that the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) can deploy
with a clear slate. At a November 27 meeting of the CFC, Agwai
presented his proposal for payment of the arrears of the MSA, a
phased reduction of the allowance until January 1, and a trimming of
the number of CFC observers at the headquarters and sector level
(septel). His briefing set off a firestorm among the political
leaders and the CFC representatives of the Sudan Liberation Movement
(SLM)/Minawi, who interpreted the proposal as an attempt to abrogate
the DPA.

3. (SBU) Later that evening, two panicked members of the SLM's
political leadership in Khartoum, including SLM Chairman and Senior
Assistant to the President Minni Minawi, called Poloff to report
that Agwai had asked the movement to withdraw its members from the
CFC, at both the headquarters and sector levels. Noting that Agwai
did not have the power to change the structures of the DPA, Minawi
requested direct U.S. intercession to remedy the situation. Poloff
advised that he would be traveling to El Fasher the following day
and would examine the issue.

---------------
Agwai's Version
---------------

4. (SBU) At a meeting of the international observers to the CFC on
November 28, Agwai denied that he had earlier asked for the SLM to
withdraw from the commission. He said he had requested that the
movements reduce the number of CFC representatives in El Fasher to
one "liaison officer" and return their AMIS IDs and equipment. He
tentatively accepted the suggestion from Poloffs that, per the DPA,
the movements also be allotted one representative at the sector
level.

5. (SBU) Noting the inefficiency in reporting streams within the
SLM, Poloff recommended that Agwai and Joint Special Representative
Rudolphe Adada speak directly to the SLM leadership, including
Minawi, to explain the proposal (CDA Fernandez is also meeting with
Minawi on December 2 to emphasize this point). After alluding to
SLM banditry and threats against his forces, Agwai curtly replied
that he had learned from previous disagreements with the SLM that
everything should be in writing as "you couldn't trust what the
observers said to Khartoum."

-------------
SLM's Version
-------------

6. (SBU) At a later meeting on November 28, SLM CFC observers Adam
Ali Ware and Ahmed Ghardia told Poloffs that their impression from
Agwai's briefing was that he wanted to suspend the CFC until the
UN/African Union-led political process resulted in new security
arrangements. Ware emphasized that the SLM should be treated in
accordance with its legitimate status as a signatory to the DPA and
not left in limbo pending the outcome of negotiations with the
non-signatories. The SLM had the impression "it was being punished
by the headmaster," according to Ware, when it was only trying to
adhere to the agreement by continuing its participation in the DPA.
Ghardia accepted Agwai's formula for payment of arrears and a
reduction in the MSA rate but objected to Agwai "setting the CFC
aside, which made it seem like he's ending the peace and giving up
on the Abuja agreement."

7. (SBU) Ware stated that Agwai had responded angrily to his request
for a written explanation of the Force Commander's proposal. "The

KHARTOUM 00001892 002 OF 002


proposal of the Force Commander is beyond our authority to decide,"
said Ware, adding that he wanted to forward such a document to
Minawi and the SLM leadership so they can determine the movement's
position. He compared Agwai to his predecessor, AMIS Force
Commander Luke Aprezi, who the SLM believed colluded with the
Government to undermine the movement. Recognizing, however, the
importance of cooperation with AMIS, Ware said that the SLM shares
Agwai's concerns about the inefficacy of the CFC and is open to
dialogue. (Note: When the SLM observers to the CFC went on strike
in May, one demand was greater transparency from the AMIS
secretariat, including documentation of all proceedings and the

SIPDIS
decisions of the Force Commander. End note.)

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

8. (SBU) The MSA issue is the symptom of an underlying illness that
has afflicted AMIS and the SLM through every Force Commander's
tenure: an emotionally charged relationship where AMIS blames the
SLM for attacks on its forces and an excessive pre-occupation with
money and the SLM resents AMIS for making arbitrary decisions and
failing to accord it status as the only DPA signatory. The erosion
of trust is exacerbated by two factors. One, in the absence of
sound political advice, the Force Commander is ineffective at
articulating his plans to a beleaguered movement that feels it is
under siege on all sides. Two, the lack of clarity on post-January
1, 2008 UN/AU plans for the political and security tracks makes it
difficult for AMIS/UNAMID and the SLM to establish a framework for a
more professional relationship. It is unclear whether UNAMID will
continue any financial support for the CFC observers--which is
stipulated in the Ndjamena Humanitarian Ceasefire and, by
implication, in the DPA. In addition, the UN/AU is silent on the
endgame for the peace process (i.e. a new agreement? a protocol?)
Dysfunctional as the current security arrangements may be, Agwai's
mandate, whether with AMIS or with UNAMID, is to implement the
existing peace agreements, and the DPA is the only one on the
table.

9. (SBU) Comment continued: In order for the Darfur peacekeeping and
political tracks to move forward, AMIS/UNAMID and the SLM must find
a mechanism for at least cautious coordination. During a November
29 meeting in El Fasher, the new UNAMID Director of Political
Affairs had no information on the structure of UNAMID's political
department or whether it would support Agwai. On November 30,
Poloffs stressed to incoming UNAMID Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Paul
Davidson the need for a political advisor to the Force Commander as
soon as possible. We will continue to work with AMIS/UNAMID and the
SLM to facilitate transparent dialogue and to press the UN/AU to
articulate their post-January 1 plans for the CFC and the peace
process. End comment.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>