Cablegate: Sudan/Icc: Uk Strategy with Potential Bashir Icc


DE RUEHLO #1862/01 1971606
P 151606Z JUL 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 001862



E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/18/2018


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

1. (C/NF) Summary. Following Foreign Secretary Miliband's July 9 visit to Sudan, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's July 14 request for indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor's July 14 assurances to the UK that the GoS will "engage legally" with the ICC, a July 15 UK Cabinet-level meeting approved a UK strategy to continue HMG's constructive engagement with the GoS and press for progress on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Darfur political process while also maintaining HMG credibility in support of the ICC. Ministers said HMG should continue to press the GoS to cooperate with the ICC while not taking any options off the table and without espousing a hard-line approach in support of the ICC. While there is no current movement to pursue an Article 16 suspension of the ICC's investigation of Bashir, a "card not to sell cheaply," the UK wants that option to remain on the table. Although HMG will not acknowledge it publicly, the UK is doing every thing it can to remain flexible on the ICC and to use Bashir's potential indictment as a lever to change the dynamic on the Darfur political process and to spur CPA implementation. End Summary.

Miliband and Alexander Outline the UK's Policy --------------------------------------------- -

2. (C/NF) According to FCO contacts, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Development Secretary Douglas Alexander outlined a UK strategy to continue HMG's constructive engagement with GoS and press for progress on the CPA and the Darfur political process while maintaining the UK's credibility during a Cabinet-level meeting on July 15. Ministers agreed HMG should continue to press the GoS to cooperate with the ICC while not taking any options off the table and without adopting a hard-lined approach in support of the ICC. There is no current movement to pursue an Article 16 suspension of the ICC's investigation of Bashir, a "card not to sell cheaply." Ministers said there would have to be significant movement on both CPA and Darfur to warrant a move on Article 16 and the UK should try "to use intelligently the political space created by the ICC announcement," in concert with the U.S. and France.

3. (C/NF) Ministers also agreed that the CPA should be central to HMG policy and that Prime Minister Brown's offer to help in the Darfur political talks should remain on the table, but not be an active element of the UK's policy. Supporting the newly appointed UN/AU Chief Mediator and encouraging civil society integration in the process will be the main focus of the UK's policy for Darfur.

Sudanese Say They will Engage with the ICC ------------------------------------------

4. (C/NF) In a July 14 meeting between Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor and the UK Ambassador to Sudan, Alor said the GoS Council of Ministers had met on July 13 to determine its response to Ocampo's request for indictment of Bashir. Alor said Bashir was "surprisingly calm" and that the Council agreed to engage legally with the ICC; to work for a rapid broad-based solution to the conflict in Darfur, including establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and to work for a united position with other political parties to promote national reconciliation and help turn the indictment into something positive. At the meeting, First Vice President Salva Kiir reportedly agreed the SPLM would remain in the Government of National Unity and work with the NCP to address the crisis caused by the ICC announcement. The two parties agreed to establish a joint crisis management committee, chaired by Kiir and to include Second Vice President Taha, Foreign Minister Deng Alor, and the Ministers of Justice and Information.

5. (C/NF) In the short-term, Alor told the UK Ambassador that he would like to stop by London and Paris on his way back from the July 16-17 Dakar Contact Group meeting in Senegal. In addition, the GoS plans to send government lawyers to the ICC to engage the Court quietly but officially. (Note: Ocampo had previously told FCO legal advisors that Sudanese legal engagement could prolong the indictment process by months or even years. Since then, the FCO has been aggressively pushing the Sudanese to engage the Court. End Note.) Other UK reporting indicates that the SPLM has been trying to engage the NCP on creation of a Roadmap on Darfur in consultation with other political parties and civil society.

The Foreign Secretary's Visit to Sudan --------------------------------------

6. (C/NF) Foreign Secretary Miliband made a whirlwind trip of less than 24 hours to Sudan on July 9, where he discussed the CPA, 2009 elections, Darfur, Sudan-Chad relations, and the 2011 referendum on South self-determination. His meetings included calls on President Bashir, Foreign Secretary Deng Alor, Senior President Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie, and National Security and Intelligence Director Salah al Gosh. 7. (C/NF) FCO contacts described Miliband's meeting with Bashir as "largely constructive and cordial." Bashir made his usual refrains about the Sudanese not receiving the deliverables promised by the international community in return for signing the CPA (i.e. removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, etc.) and about the UK's one-sided policy in support of Darfur rebels. Miliband underscored the need for political settlement of Darfur and stability in the South so that HMG could spend its time and resources on development rather than humanitarian assistance. On the CPA, Miliband welcomed the Assessment and Evaluation Commission's adoption of the mid-term report and emphasized the need to begin work on long-term issues like oil wealth-sharing. Both Bashir and Alor were reportedly positive about the progress on the Abyei Roadmap, but noted that there were still problems in deciding the top posts in the interim administration.

8. (C/NF) Miliband said the GoS should work with the newly appointed UN/AU Chief Mediator to bring about a new dynamic to the Darfur political talks, even though the rebels remained fragmented and hesitant to engage. He also highlighted the need to engage civil society and all Sudanese political parties in development of a common platform on Darfur in the run-up to the 2009 elections.

9. (C/NF) Miliband privately raised the ICC with Bashir in a one-on-one meeting to communicate the urgency for the GoS to engage the ICC, encouraging Bashir not turn his back on the international community.

Comment -------

10. (C/NF) As an architect of the ICC and one of its most staunch supporters, HMG is in a difficult position over the ICC's potential indictment of Bashir, which it sees as unhelpful. Although there is no clear end-game in mind, HMG seems happy to walk the fine line of pushing GoS engagement with the ICC while also looking to make Bashir's potential indictment the element that changes the dynamics on Darfur and encourages CPA implementation. HMG's public message on the ICC will likely remain supportive, while the UK will likely pursue a more flexible policy at the UN and in its dialogue with Khartoum. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX TUTTLE

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