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Cablegate: Thai Plans On Deployment to Darfur

VZCZCXRO2281
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHBK #2942 2701005
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261005Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4500
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 5380
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY 0029
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 5381
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BANGKOK 002942

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPKO TH SU
SUBJECT: THAI PLANS ON DEPLOYMENT TO DARFUR

REF: STATE 102405

1. (SBU) Pattarat Hongtong, Deputy Director of the Peace,
Security and Disarmament Division at Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, told us September 25 that the MFA had recently
received word that Sudan was close to agreeing to allow Thai
troops to join UNAMID. The RTG still planned to deploy a
battalion of peacekeeping troops to Darfur, but Pattarat
cautioned that the long delay since the Thai Cabinet
initially confirmed the pledge in October 2007 would cause a
longer lead time for deploying the troops once Sudan and
UNDPKO gave Thailand formal approval. As a result of the
long interim, the RTG would now need to allocate a budget for
the UNAMID deployment. The Thai military would also need to
train a different battalion, since the battalion originally
trained for the deployment had been rotated to other
responsibilities, Pattarat said. As such, the RTG would
likely need six months to prepare for deployment.

2. (SBU) We separately confirmed September 26 with Lieutenant
Colonel Khajornsak Pullphothong, Section Chief of the
Operations Division at the Peace Operations Center at the
Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters (RTArF), that the Thai
military was planning to fulfill the pledge to UNAMID with a
unit designated as Task Force 980 which would be a mechanized
infantry battalion comprised of members drawn from all three
services and the RTArF (note: Thai overseas deployments are
usually composite units formed specially for the deployment).
Military planners anticipated that the deployment would
happen in March if the RTG received the approval to deploy
soon. The RTArF was moving forward on preparations for
deploying under the assumption that the RTG had already
approved this deployment in 2007 and, notwithstanding
political developments since, did not need to resubmit the
issue to the Cabinet for reapproval.

3. (SBU) Regarding support, the RTArF told us that Thai
peacekeepers would need assistance to deploy to Darfur, and
that they planned for the United Nations to provide this
assistance. The RTArF had not yet identified any other
assistance that would be needed, but believed that the Thai
battalion would have all necessary material and equipment for
the deployment. RTArF was very concerned, however, about
logistics within Sudan. The RTArF office had heard that a
contingent from another country had arrived in Darfur in
March, but the equipment for the unit had not yet moved from
the port. Thailand would look to receive assurances from the
UN that this problem had been fixed and would not occur again
before the Thai deploy.
JOHN

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