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Cablegate: Peacebuilding Workshops Gaining Momentum

VZCZCXRO2006
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHAE #0361 2030758
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210758Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9795
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHRMDAB/COMUSNAVCENT
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RUEPADJ/CJTF-HOA J2X CAMP LEMONIER DJ

UNCLAS ASMARA 000361

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SOCI SU ER
SUBJECT: PEACEBUILDING WORKSHOPS GAINING MOMENTUM

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Peacebuilding Center for the Horn of
Africa (PCHA) hosted its third Embassy-sponsored workshop for
eastern Sudanese participants during the week of June 21-27.
The week-long workshop included lively presentations,
discussions, simulations, and lectures. The most recent
workshop hosted 40 participants, 10 more than initially
budgeted. The workshop is one in a five-part series, each
workshop focusing on different aspects of building a system
of government in Sudan. The workshop series, which has been
highly lauded by Eritrean and Sudanese officials, continues
to grow in size and popularity as more and more applicants
vie for limited slots. End Summary.

2. (U) The PCHA is an Asmara-based nongovernmental
organization (NGO) that runs a variety of programs focused on
promoting peace and sustainability in the Horn of Africa
region, particularly in Sudan. Embassy Asmara has provided
the PCHA with $150,000, funded by an ESF grant, to conduct
five, week-long workshops focused on familiarizing eastern
Sudanese NGOs with the process of promoting peace, civil
society, and democracy. Although the initial workshop met
with complications (a dozen unmarried female participants
were barred by Sudanese authorities from leaving Sudan to
attend the workshop), the workshops have since been filled to
capacity and flooded with applications.

3. (U) Each seven-day workshop is divided into three-hour
lectures and discussions, with guest presenters scattered
throughout. PolOff attended a portion of the most recent
workshop, themed "Preparation and Participation in General
Elections," and found the participants engaged in a lively
discussion on defining the social responsibility of Sudanese
and international organizations in the peace building
process. The discussion took place just after a presentation
from the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) on the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and was followed by
rounds of in-depth conversation during the dinner break.

4. (U) Several articles have appeared about the workshops in
Sudanese newspapers. The workshops have even become a
talking point for the Eritrean government; Abdullah Jaber,
the ruling party's Director of Organizational Affairs with a
special emphasis on Eritrean-Sudanese relations, regularly
praises the PCHA's efforts and uses his clout to support the
USG-funded workshops. The PCHA is already fielding phone
calls from varying Sudanese factions all wanting to reserve
slots for the upcoming fourth workshop, themed "Election
Tecniques and Strategies," which is scheduled to be held in
late August. Although the workshop guidelines stipulate that
participants can only attend one workshop, the PCHA is
creating a sixth workshop for the "best of the best"
participants from the first five workshops.

5. (SBU) The PCHA is led by Dr. Taisier M. Ali, who also
founded the organization. Ali is perhaps one of the most
well-respected non-Eritreans living in Asmara. His counsel
is sought by not only Abdullah Jaber, but also high-ranking
officials of the Asmara-based Alliance for the Re-Liberation
of Somalia (ARS) as well as Sudanese and GOSS officials. Ali
remains adamant that the work being done by the PCHA is
"merely a drop in the bucket," in terms of promoting the
needed stability in Sudan. However, he believes the USG's
support for the PCHA's peace-building efforts are nonetheless
needed and important.
MCMULLEN

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