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Cablegate: Usg Holmes: Government Will Extend Humanitarian Moratorium

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OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV
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DE RUEHKH #1903 3371026
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031026Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9418
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZO/AU COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001903

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SENSITIVE
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DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF S/E NATSIOS AND AF/SPG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV AU UN PHUM KPKO SU
SUBJECT: USG HOLMES: GOVERNMENT WILL EXTEND HUMANITARIAN MORATORIUM

1. (SBU) On November 29, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian
Affairs Sir John Holmes briefed the donor community on his
conversations with Sudanese government officials and previewed his
upcoming trip to Darfur. He thanked the international community for
its support, saying that the UN's humanitarian work plan for Darfur
was roughly 80 percent funded. Next year's demands would be even
greater, he cautioned, and UNHCR would need support for its camp
coordination and protection activities.

------------------------
ASSURANCES ON MORATORIUM
------------------------

2. (SBU) Regarding his meetings with HAC Commissioner Abdulrahman
Hasabo and acting Foreign Minister Ali Karti, Holmes said he had
expressed appreciation over the progress of the joint communiqu,
acknowledging that it had been "fairly effective." He cautioned
Hasabo and Karti on worrying trends in terms of humanitarian access,
noting the increase in aid workers being targeted by bandits and
other armed elements. Holmes also said that he had received an "oral
agreement" from the two that communiqu and the moratorium on
humanitarian access would be renewed; they did not respond to his
suggestion to "sign it now."

3. (SBU) Holmes cautioned that the repercussions of the Zok's Ark
scandal could continue for some time. While he told Hasabo and Karti
that the UN condemned the actions of the NGO, and that the incident
was not typical of humanitarian activities, he said that the two
remained skeptical. Hasabo was interested in examining a list of all
NGOs operating in Darfur, he said, though what he intended to do
with it was unclear.

---------------------------
DARFUR NUTRITION ASSESSMENT
---------------------------

4. (SBU) Holmes also said that they had discussed the most recent
WFP Darfur nutrition assessment. The Sudanese government had refused
to endorse the report, which shows increasing rates of malnutrition
in the three Darfur states. (Note: In a previous meeting, the WFP
head in Sudan said that the government was surprised by the report's
findings; their own experts had underestimated the actual rates of
malnutrition in Darfur. The UN is likely to issue the report on its
own if the government does not ultimately endorse it. End note.)

-------------------------
STALLED UNAMID DEPLOYMENT
-------------------------

5. (SBU) On UNAMID deployment, Holmes said that there was a
considerable lack of good will on the part of the Sudanese
government. Outstanding issues included force composition, land and
water agreements, flight landing rights and night flights. He said
that the government wanted to be able to cut off all communications
capabilities when conducting its own operations, as well as to be
informed of all UNAMID movements. Holmes admitted that if no
countries contributed helicopters or gun ships to the force, "There
is no plan B."

6. (SBU) Asked whether UNAMID would be charged with protecting
humanitarian workers after UNMIS departed, Holmes said it would
depend on the strength of UNAMID, but that the force would not
function as "escorts." He said he hoped that UNHCR could eventually
take on this role, but that OCHA would step in as needed. Responding
to CDA, Holmes said that he had discussed with Hasabo and Karti the
expansion of UNHCR operations into North and South Darfur, and that
progress was being made.

7. (SBU) Holmes expressed concern over reports of forced relocations
of IDPs in Darfur, stating that any returns must be voluntary and in
accordance with humanitarian law. He urged the international
community to begin preparing for this eventuality, and to be just as
generous with recovery and development efforts as it had been with
humanitarian aid. Asked by the Libyan ambassador whether the UN was
more concerned with IDPs inside camps than the poor residing
elsewhere, Holmes admitted difficulties and noted that some Arab
tribes felt they'd been overlooked, but said that the UN was
actively striving to reach all affected populations in Darfur.

8. (SBU) Comment: While verbal assurances that the joint communique
and humanitarian moratorium will be renewed are welcome, the
international community needs to continue to press for the
government's actual signature. Continued delays will disrupt
humanitarian activities, as organizations are now struggling to make
plans for post-January 2008 operations. End comment.

FERNANDEZ

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