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Cablegate: Unamid Ciss: Deployment Difficulties Remain Despite Slight

VZCZCXRO7143
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1943/01 3430828
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090828Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9482
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001943

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID CISS: DEPLOYMENT DIFFICULTIES REMAIN DESPITE SLIGHT
EASING OF OBSTACLES

REF : KHARTOUM 1933

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The Chief of Integrated Support Services (CISS)
for the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
addressed the Government of Sudan's December 5 rebuttal of charges
leveled against it by UN Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guhenno
on November 27 of imposing obstacles to UNAMID deployment. The CISS
expected positive movement from the GoS on the Status of Forces
Agreement, land issues and communications equipment in the coming
days. He agreed with the GoS that the issue of the six helicopters
was working itself out but considered that the contentious night
flight issue remained to be truly tested, something the UN planned
to do before Transfer of Authority. The CISS' honest assessment
gives hope that despite a New York-Khartoum tit-for-tat, efforts at
the ground level to expedite UNAMID deployment were producing
positive results. However, the CISS warned that it would be
pointless to push for deployment absent consensus with the GoS on
the one issue unaddressed in its position paper: that of the force
composition of the peacekeeping operation. END SUMMARY.

MINOR SOFA SUCCESS
------------------
2. (SBU) Following a December 7 meeting with the Deputy Force
Commander and the Director of Administration, the CISS reported that
in a "very positive" move, the GoS had agreed to begin negotiations
on the UNAMID SOFA based on the UN's version of the agreement, which
the CISS described as a mission-specific version of the model SOFA.
By contrast, the GoS version had been fraught with unacceptable
conditions that violated standard privileges and immunities
fundamental to the model SOFA, including restrictions on
communications and duty-free movement. The CISS did not know the
exact date when SOFA negotiations would resume but was hopeful that
the process was finally moving forward. His only reservation was in
the type of visa recently issued to UNAMID personnel - an undefined
"administrative" type vice diplomatic - which did not allow for
shipment of personal effects. The CISS said that UNMIS was looking
into this issue.

SIMILAR SMALL SUCCESS ON LAND ISSUE
-----------------------------------
3. (SBU) In another positive development, the CISS reported that
Memoranda of Understanding had been signed earlier this week for
UNAMID land in Zalingei and Nyala. He added that a UNAMID team
would travel to El Geneina in the coming days for further
discussions on outstanding issues of land size, access and water
availability. "The onus is on us to decide," the CISS explained and
added that he did not expect a problem with the West Darfur Wali on
these issues. On the extension of the plot of UNAMID land in El
Fasher, the CISS hoped that it could be finalized with the Wali
later this week.

HELICOPTERS "WORKING THEMSELVES OUT"
------------------------------------
4. (SBU) On the issue of deploying six UN helicopters to El Fasher,
the CISS agreed with the GoS assessment that this was a "no issue"
case. By moving these assets to Nyala vice El Fasher, the CISS
explained the UN had "tested" the theory that the Sudanese Civil
Aviation Authority (CAA) was delaying its authorization for them.
He, like a representative of UNMIS Air Safety, agreed that parking
space in El Fasher Airport is indeed a problem (exacerbated by the
stationing of excess AMIS aircraft on the airfield while they
awaited rotation out or incorporation by the UN) but added that
space was a problem in every airport, Khartoum included; airport
management, he argued, was the real issue. He did not dispute that
GoS procedures on paperwork required for bringing aircraft in had
hampered deployment, and he added that the UN was in close contact
with the Government of Canada and its air contractor SkyLink to
examine a phase-out approach for AMIS aircraft. He noted that there
were weekly working group-level meetings with between the UN and CAA
to resolve these types of issues.

NIGHT FLIGHT RULES STILL TO BE TESTED
-------------------------------------
5. (SBU) On the much-hyped issue of night flight permission, the
CISS disagreed with the GoS contention that it was the UN's
responsibility to upgrade Darfur airfields to accommodate 24-hour
operations. He said that the UNAMID "supercamps" would institute
their own air operations but acknowledged that CAA approval would be
needed regardless of where the aircrafts would land. He agreed that
the GoS was in violation of several agreements, including the Darfur
Peace Agreement, in imposing restrictions on flights and said that
the UN would put this to the test when it got its helicopters on the
ground and began normal training with them, training which would
include night flying familiarization. He hoped this "test" would
come before December 31 Transfer of Authority.

"IT'S NOT ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT"

KHARTOUM 00001943 002 OF 002


------------------------------
6. (SBU) The CISS reported that the UNAMID DOA was meeting on
December 8 with the GoS on the issue of UNAMID communications
equipment held at the El Fasher Airport, and he expected the
equipment to be released and delivered "straight away" on December
9. The CISS assured that all equipment had been brought in
according to correct procedures and he considered the GoS
reservations to the contrary simply rhetoric; e.g., the GoS'
objecting to use of equipment destined for UNMIS in the South,
despite the UN's sanctioned practice of sharing equipment between
peacekeeping operations. "It's not about the equipment," he said,
"It's more to do with our freedom to communicate and the precedent
it would set for others if we succeed in securing our own systems"
[NOTE: The UN plans to run its own satellites in El Fasher and in
major AMIS sites. END NOTE]. The CISS insisted that it was not
necessary for the UN to notify the GoS of the placement of its
communications equipment once it had been cleared, as the GoS was
asking, citing this stipulation as an example of the GoS' attempt to
limit UNAMID freedom of movement.

UNCERTAINTY OVER USE OF EL OBEID LOGISTICS BASE
--------------------------------------------- --
7. (SBU) According to the CISS, the UN was about to submit a formal
request to the North Kordofan Wali for use of the land just outside
the El Obeid logistics base in order to accommodate UNAMID assets
and resources. The CISS made clear that only common facilities
would be shared between UNAMID and UNMIS at this location and that
the Wali was fully aware of this fact. Still, he lamented that the
Wali was unable to render a final decision for UNAMID use of the
facilities, having to go back to Khartoum at every turn. As a
result, the CISS did not expect this issue to be resolved in the
near future, warning instead "We cannot deploy the mission if we
have to go through several layers of approval every time, and we
cannot keep going to Khartoum with every request."

8. (SBU) COMMENT. Just as U/SYG Guhenno was not considered to be
lying in his assessment of GoS obstructionism (reftel), neither, it
seems, was the GoS in its rebuttal of his claims. However, two
half-truths do not a deployment solution make. What was left out
may in fact be the crux of the issues, and while working-level
discussions between the UN and the GoS on ways to expedite UNAMID
deployment may be producing minor results, bigger issues for
higher-level players loom, not least, according to the CISS, that of
UNAMID force composition. Until the GoS agrees to the October 2
list of troop contributors, "it is pointless to push for
deployment," as consensus with the GoS is the only way to ensure a
green light for the force and everything that goes with it. END
COMMENT.

9. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

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