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Cablegate: Gos Claims It Acted in North Darfur to Secure Humanitarian

VZCZCXRO8185
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1376/01 2530451
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 090451Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1865
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001376

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, L/EB
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: GOS CLAIMS IT ACTED IN NORTH DARFUR TO SECURE HUMANITARIAN
ACCESS

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1366
B) 08/22/08 EGAN-CLARKE EMAIL, RE: LEGAL ADVICE ON THE BANK OF SUDAN
CASE IN NEW YORK

-------
SUMMARY
-------
1. (SBU) According to MFA Under Secretary Mutriff Siddiq, who holds
the MFA's Darfur portfolio, the September 6 and 7 fighting between
GoS and rebel forces in North Darfur was a direct result of UNAMID
and WFP's requests for the GoS to clear feeder roads of bandits in
the area of Birmaza. According to Siddiq, rebel banditry along
feeder roads has increased now that main arteries have been secured
by Government forces. In addition to commenting on the recent
Darfur attacks, Siddiq took the opportunity to ask CDA Fernandez
about the status of the Bank of Sudan's frozen account in the U.S.
which is linked to the Rux vs. Republic of Sudan law suit. End
summary.

--------------------------------
DARFUR: UN REQUESTED GOS ACTION
--------------------------------
2. (SBU) On 8 September, CDA Fernandez met with MFA Under Secretary
Mutriff Siddiq. The CDA asked Siddiq for a clarification on the
heavy fighting reported in North Dafur on September 6 and 7 between
GoS and rebel forces (ref A). According to Siddiq, both UNAMID
Joint Special Representative (JSR) Rodolphe Adada and the World Food
Program (WFP) approached the GoS regarding the problem of rebel
banditry on feeder roads around Birmaza, North Darfur. The JSR and
WFP asked the GoS to assist in "clearing out" these areas so that
convoys with humanitarian aid could be delivered to Darfuris in the
region. Now that we have secured the major roads in Darfur, said
Siddiq, criminal activity has shifted to the feeder roads. "These
bandits are making WFP's life hell," he continued. German
Agroaction had to stop its activities in the area, Siddiq added. We
cannot allow criminals to deny basic needs to the 450,000 residents
of this area. Siddiq affirmed that the GoS will continue to clear
out problem areas at the request of humanitarian organizations until
the work of all relief groups is secure. Siddiq added that the GoS
has mobilized more SAF troops and vehicles in order to follow
through with protecting humanitarian convoys in Darfur. CDA
Fernandez was glad to hear that Siddiq had an explanation for the
recent fighting and told Siddiq that the Embassy will follow up with
UNAMID and WFP regarding the incident.

--------------------------------------------- --
STATUS OF FROZEN BANK OF SUDAN ACCOUNT IN U.S.
--------------------------------------------- --
3. (U) Siddiq took the opportunity to ask the CDA about the issue of
the Bank of Sudan account with the New York Fed that has been frozen
for years by OFAC sanctions, and now has been ordered turned over to
the plaintiffs in response to a court judgment in the case of Rux
vs. Republic of Sudan, dealing with the terrorist bombing of the USS
Cole in 2000 (ref B). The CDA replied that the GoS must fight this
out in the U.S. courts, explaining that the U.S. administration does
not control the actions of the U.S. Judiciary. Unfortunately, said
Fernandez, this money is not protected by diplomatic immunity. The
Foreign Service Immunity Act generally immunizes foreign states such
as Sudan from suit in U.S. federal court. Section 1605(a)(7) of the
Act, however, provides an exception for suits against state sponsors
of terrorism for damages arising from certain terrorist acts.

------------------
SLIGHTLY MISQUOTED
------------------
4. (SBU) CDA Fernandez clarified to Siddiq that he was misquoted in
the 8 September edition of Al-Sudani newspaper. The paper reported
that CDA Fernandez called on the GoS to react to the Kalma Camp
incident as it had to the Omdurman attackers - urgent trials for
those responsible. CDA Fernandez said that while he privately
thought trials for those suspected in the Kalma incident would be a
good thing, he would never publicly call for the GoS to hold trials
regarding Kalma. "The press went too far," he explained. But I did
ask for "justice and accountability" for the Kalma massacres.

-------
COMMENT
-------
5. (SBU) Mutriff's claim that the GoS opened fighting between its
troops and rebels in North Darfur in early September at the request
of UNAMID and WFP in order to clear the area of bandits is a logical
GoS explanation for the reports received by the Embassy on 6-7
September. However, it does not explain the reported scale of the
offensive, nor the reported participation of janjaweed irregulars.
Post will continue to follow-up, by contacting UNAMID and WFP, and

KHARTOUM 00001376 002 OF 002


particularly during the CDA's 9-10 September visit to Nyala. There
is a basic problem here in that much of the banditry targeting WFP
convoys is indeed rebel-related, the natural enemies of the Khartoum
regime. It has become a cottage industry and the regime's security
forces make for brutal policemen fighting this sort of criminality.
Ideally, UNAMID could do this but it cannot, at least not yet.

FERNANDEZ

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