Cablegate: Uk and Sudan: S/E Williamson's June 30 Visit To

DE RUEHLO #1852/01 1971056
P 151056Z JUL 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 001852


E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/15/2018

Classified By: Political Counselor Richard Mills, reasons 1.4 (b/d).

1. (C) Summary. Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan Richard Williamson held June 30 wide-ranging discussions with UK officials on the way forward on Sudan and attended a P3 lunch with French and British colleagues. UK officials told Williamson that Ban Ki-Moon's impending appointment of a new mediator for the Darfur peace process provides a window of opportunity, but P3 need to remain heavily engaged to bolster UN/AU efforts. There has been some progress on Abyei, with the discussion shifting to revenue sharing (from the division of land), and the Norwegian technical work on oil provides the best platform for the international community to support continued progress in that discussion. The Government of Sudan (GoS) has asked France to engage in the Chad-Sudan border issues, but France remains hesitant and wants Sudan to demonstrate it is serious about improving the relationship by meeting with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). End summary.

2. (C) Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan Richard Williamson met with the Prime Minister's Senior Advisor Justin Forsyth, FCO Director of Political Affairs Mark Lyall Grant, Department for International Development (DFID) Permanent Secretary Minouche Shafik, and UK Special Representative for Sudan Michael O'Neill. Williamson also attended a P3 lunch with French Deputy Head of the President's Diplomatic Office Bruno Joubert, Africa Advisor Romain Serman, and the Quai's Deputy Director for Central and Western Africa Affairs Helene Le-Gal.

A Window of Opportunity -----------------------

3. (C) Williamson and Lyall Grant agreed that there needed to be a new dynamic on Darfur and that Ban Ki-Moon's impending appointment of the Burkina Faso Minister of Foreign Affairs as the new Chief Mediator for the Darfur peace process provided a window of opportunity; however, it is important to recognizes the UN's limited influence and poor track record on Darfur. (Note: Djibril Yipene Bassole was appointed Chief Mediator on June 30. End Note.) P3 and like-minded partners will need to step up their engagement to make sure the UN/AU process is productive. At this stage, the goal is moderate: a political dialogue rather than peace talks. Increasing security through UNAMID's continued deployment is key, and the Friends of UNAMID group should continue to support the UN in this effort. Shafik agreed that the rebel leaders must be tethered to the people in Darfur with tangible political accountability. With the regime in Khartoum recalculating after the May JEM attack on Omdurman, the next two to three months are an opportunity to influence the National Congress Party (NCP), especially since the NCP is trying to recalibrate its relationship with the West before the U.S. presidential elections.

Abyei: Some Progress --------------------

4. (C) Lyall Grant also agreed there had been some progress in Abyei. While the most recent crisis had demonstrated that local actors have the ability to escalate issues that have the potential to destabilize the CPA, it also showed that neither side has decided to return to war, even though they may not have decided to pursue full implementation of the CPA. It also shifted the Abyei discussion. The NCP has begun to talk about revenue sharing as the principle issue in breaking the Abyei deadlock (rather than the North-South division of land). At this juncture, it is important to encourage the NCP and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) to continue their dialogue on oil and a post-2011 mechanism for revenue sharing. The Norwegians' technical work on oil is the most natural platform for the international community to be helpful in the process.

The French and Chad -------------------

5. (C) During the P3 discussion, Joubert said the GoS has asked France to become more involved in resolving the conflicts between Chad and Sudan. Joubert, characterizing the initial French response as hesitant, said France had indicated to the GoS that if it is serious about peace and stability along the Chad-Sudan border, then the GoS needs to demonstrate it by meeting with JEM. According to Joubert, France will only agree to engage if the GoS agrees to meet JEM, and the French are currently waiting for the GoS's response. The UK, with the caveat that Ministers would need to be consulted, said they share France's reasons for caution, agree the French plan is a good way forward, and LONDON 00001852 002 OF 002 would feel more comfortable if the effort is joined up across the international community. At an inter-agency ministerial on Friday, July 4, the French plan to finalize their approach and, pending the GoS response, will move forward after the G8 summit next week.

Development in the South ------------------------

6. (C) Discussing her mid-May trip to Sudan, Shafik said she was more concerned about the CPA than Darfur because of the wider regional implications and because the CPA's collapse would make progress in Darfur impossible. While not committing to any changes, she said more development needs to happen in the South and that the Government of South Sudan needs to be strengthened. She also said that the international community needs to prepare the groundwork for the political arrangements between the North and South, regardless of the outcome of the 2011 referendum. Some of the UK's identified relative priorities are debt, wealth-sharing, and the Nile waters, and they plan to do more work in those areas.

7. (U) S/E Williamson cleared this cable. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX TUTTLE

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