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Cablegate: Bashir Offers Few Details On Darfur Initiative to Jem And

VZCZCXRO3858
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1184/01 2181436
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051436Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1520
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001184

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
NSC FOR BPITTMAN AND CHUDSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: BASHIR OFFERS FEW DETAILS ON DARFUR INITIATIVE TO JEM AND
SLM/MM AS THEIR FRUSTRATION INCREASES

REF: KHARTOUM 1130

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Despite showing a renewed interest in Darfur,
Sudanese President Bashir has so far offered few concrete or
specific ideas for solving the region's problems, say contacts from
the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation
Movement of Minni Minnawi (SLM/MM). Members of both organizations
criticized Bashir's current lack of outreach to JEM and SLM/MM
leaders. One senior member of the SLM/MM stated that Bashir is
motivated by the threat of an ICC indictment, not by a genuine
desire to bring stability and peace to Darfur, while JEM contacts
publicly stated that the NCP wants to keep Darfur unstable until
2011. END SUMMARY

"NO SUBSTANCE TO BASHIR'S DARFUR INITIATIVE"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (U) On August 5, the pro-government Arabic daily "Akbar
Al-Youm" published a lengthy interview with the Justice and Equality
Movement's Deputy Chairman, Abu Bakr Hamid, focusing on President
Bashir's widely announced Darfur initiative. Like other JEM
representatives (as reported in reftel) Hamid said that statements
from JEM's Legislative Council President Dr. Tahir Adam Al-Faki
should not be interpreted as an acceptance of Bashir's initiative.
Hamid stated that JEM welcomes any peace initiative, but "regarding
the Bashir initiative we do not know the details of this so it is
impossible to have an opinion about it."

3. (U) Responding to this comment, the interviewer and
editor-in-chief of the pro-regime "Akbar Al-Youm," said that Bashir
clearly invited all rebel movements to participate in this
initiative, to which Hamid countered: "Bashir did not invite us by
name, and we consider ourselves to be the strongest movement with
the most influence in the region." JEM's Hamid also stated that the
GoS could have easily solved Darfur's problems in 2003 or 2004 if it
wanted, but that it has never sought a conclusive solution to the
chaos of Darfur. "It will come as no secret if I say that most of
the Darfurians are convinced that the government does not want to
solve the problem of Darfur before 2011, the end of the interim
period," stated Darfur.

4. (SBU) JEM Spokesman Ahmed Hussein told poloff on August 5
despite giving Darfur more attention in the press, the GoS has not
increased its contact with JEM. Hussein stated that the GoS has not
contacted JEM in the last week, and that "there are no new
developments despite all of the talk about Darfur." Hussein said
that Hamid's interview in Akbar Al-Youm, along with his own efforts,
have helped clear up previous misstatements by Al-Faki.

SLM/MM FRUSTRATION AFTER BASHIR MTG.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) Also on August 5, Minnawi confidant and senior leader of
SLM/MM, Muhammad Tijani, told poloffs that he was "very frustrated"
with his personal meeting with President Bashir the week of August
27. Tijani delivered a personal letter from Minnawi ("which made
all of Minnawi's usual statements about his commitment to the DPA
and its lack of implementation by the GoS") to President Bashir.
Tijani said that he expected that President Bashir would have
"brought something to the table during our meeting, and not just
listened to our concerns." Tijani said that Bashir accused SLM/MM
of causing most of the insecurity in Darfur, and that he appeared
uninformed on many important issues. According to Tijani, there are
five to six people around Bashir, who "focus only on security
issues, and censor what Bashir actually hears about the region -- it
really showed in that meeting." Tijani said that he also discussed
the GoS's failure to provide funds to the Darfur Reconstruction and
Development Fund, to which Bashir responded that a source of funding
from the Chinese government may soon boost the DRDF. Tijani stated
that the meeting ended in an unproductive digression into the state
of ethnic relations in Darfur. "I was very disappointed with the
meeting," noted d Tijani, "At this moment, after all that has
happened [with the ICC] I still believe that the GoS is not ready to
implement the DPA."

6. (U) Also on August 5, Minni Minnawi strongly criticized the
NCP leadership in a lengthy interview in "Al-Sahafa." Responding to
a question about SLM/MM leaders such as Dr. Rayah Mahmoud
"attempting to dethrone him," Minnawi stated that "We are closely
following all these things, and they all are created by the NCP and
GoS... The SLM Deputy Chairman [i.e. Dr. Rayah Mahmud] and the
General Secretary [i.e. Mustafa Tirab] are the main reasons for the
breakdown of the DPA and we consider that the NCP sneaked these
individuals into the SLM." Minnawi also said, "the Government
depends on those who defect from the movement to weaken us... the
Government has to respect itself and to follow up with the known
mechanisms designed by Abuja." Regarding Bashir's tour of the

KHARTOUM 00001184 002 OF 002


Darfur capitals, Minnawi stated that he did not receive an
invitation for the rallies in El-Fasher saying, "I did not know
about the event until I heard Bashir speaking in El-Fasher." (Note:
Full translated text of this interview will be sent to AF/SPG and
the office of the Special Envoy. End Note.)

COMMENT
- - - -
7. (SBU) As of August 5, Bashir's much-announced Darfur initiative
so far appears to be more of a public relations campaign than a
genuine attempt to solve the ongoing Darfur crisis. Minnawi and JEM
contacts are correct to assert that the initiative lacks detail,
substance, and, as some claim, perhaps even a genuine desire to
solve the Darfur crisis. JEM's analysis of the GOS's desire to
create ongoing instability in Darfur until 2011, SLM/MM's
interpretation of Bashir as an aloof leader, and Minnawi's belief in
the NCP's attempt to undermine his movement from within, are all
troubling. Many observers have speculated that the NCP wants to
keep Darfur marginalized until after the elections, since it will
obviously not fare well with much of the population there. Even if
these rebel perceptions are somewhat distorted, these ideas will
continue to hamper efforts at bringing these groups into direct
dialogue with the GoS. Embassy has made clear to the senior NCP
leadership that the miserable "business as usual" situation in
Darfur will never lead to an improvement in relations with the West.


FERNANDEZ

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