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Cablegate: Au Urges Increased Gos Cooperation On Darfur, Suspension Of

VZCZCXRO4312
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1186 2190456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060456Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1524
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001186

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF/SPG, AF 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 KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: AU URGES INCREASED GOS COOPERATION ON DARFUR, SUSPENSION OF
ICC INDICTMENT

1. (SBU) The head of the AU Liaison Office in Khartoum, Ambassador
Mahmoud Kane, told poloff on August 5 that AU Commission Chairman
Ping's August 3 visit to Sudan was part of the AU's continuing
efforts to urge Sudan's cooperation on Darfur issues. Seeking to
downplay the significance of the event, which was loudly trumpeted
by the Bashir regime as AU solidarity with Sudan, Kane claimed that
this was not a special visit related only to the ICC. However, he
said that Ping's decision to come to Sudan and his statements during
the visit are consistent with the AU's July 21 communique regarding
the July 14 ICC announcement to request an arrest warrant against
President Bashir.

2. (SBU) Chairman Ping met with a number of Sudanese officials
including President Al-Bashir, FVP Salva Kiir Mayardit, VP Ali Osman
Taha, Minister of Foreign Affairs Deng Alor, and Dr. Nafie Ali
Nafie, Assistant to the President who is currently in charge of
Darfur issues. Ping is reported to have assured the Sudanese
officials of the AU's solidarity with Sudan and stressed the need to
suspend the ICC tribunal's action "because any ICC indictment would
only re-ignite the five year-old conflict." Press reports quoted
Ping as saying that while the AU is trying to extinguish the fire in
Darfur with its own troops, the ICC indictment of President Bashir
can be seen in the context of those who want to put more "oil on a
fire." Kane denied that this statement was an overt show of support
for the regime and emphasized that the Ping's visit is aimed at
advancing UN and AU goals in Darfur.

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3. (SBU) In his statements to the media, Ping expressed concern for
both the Darfur victims who have died and for those are still alive,
but emphasized that the latter need peace. Kane said the AU's
position on the issue is clear; any indictment against President
Bashir would not be timely and would jeopardize the Darfur peace
process. While Ping reportedly said that the need for peace and
justice peace should be taken equally, Kane went a step further and
told poloff that "peace should come before justice."

4. (SBU) Comment: Although the AU is attempting to minimize the
significance of this particular visit, Chairman Ping's visit to
Khartoum is clearly intended to show solidarity with President
Bashir following the announcement of the ICC indictment against him
for war crimes. Unfortunately, while on the one hand urging the UN
to defer the indictment, the AU seems to be soft-pedaling with the
GOS demands for action in Darfur. This is unfortunate because the
AU could usefully encourage concrete steps by the regime in Darfur
in light of the vague platitudes offered by President Bashir during
his recent trip to Darfur. Both the AU and Arab League have shown by
both their words and deeds that they are more concerned about the
inconvenient indictment of Sudan's President rather than pressing
the regime forcefully to change its policies on the ground in
Darfur.

FERNANDEZ

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