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Cablegate: Se Williamson Urges Bassole to Be Proactive

VZCZCXRO4501
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1509 2870522
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 130522Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2050
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001509

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: SE WILLIAMSON URGES BASSOLE TO BE PROACTIVE

REF: KHARTOUM 1067

1. (SBU) Summary: SE Williamson strongly urged Djibril Bassole to
embrace his role as Chief Mediator and become proactive in engaging
with key decision-makers in both the NCP and rebel movements, during
a meeting in Khartoum October 8. He noted the likelihood for
progress in Qatar is small and asked Bassole, who remains largely in
listening mode, to use the discretion afforded by his role to
explore and test new ideas between the two in a non-public setting.
He cautioned Bassole not to allow the current window of opportunity
to pass, and encouraged him to make use of resources that could
strengthen his peace-making ability. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Bassole, who had just come from a meeting with Presidential
Advisor Dr. Nafie Ali Nafie, reported that Nafie has yet to respond
to his September 16 letter urging GOS action in Darfur and told
Bassole he was very partial on these issues. Bassole noted that the
NCP was preparing to launch the Sudan People's Initiative on October
16, and that he has been invited; he added that NCP officials said
he "would be chief of the show". Bassole noted that during his
meeting with Nafie, Nafie had stated that if they do not start
talks, then they will not see progress on the ground. Bassole does
not believe that the initiative will result in concrete proposals,
but is optimistic that it will facilitate the exchange of ideas.
"I've read the joint NCP-UMMA proposal, and the ideas presented are
reasonable," he said, adding that he would likely use it as a
framework for future negotiations. (Note: Bassole provide SE
Williamson with an outline for a proposed framework. End Note.) He
was less enthusiastic about the efforts of Qatar, which he
characterized as lacking proper coordination. The fatal flaw of the
Qatari initiative, he opined, is that it is grounded in efforts to
invoke an Article 16 resolution at the UN Security Council: "The
Qataris, the Arab League and the AU all made a mistake by focusing
on Article 16." As a result, he thought the rebels were (rightly)
suspicious. "JEM is not ready to go to Doha, and Abdul Wahid has
serious reservations as well," he said. Nonetheless, Bassole stated
that he planned to use the Qatari initiative to "try and make
progress," though he provided scant detail on how he intended to do
so.

3. (SBU) SE Williamson thanked Bassole for his efforts and
acknowledged the difficulty the Joint Mediator faced, but urged him
to take a more proactive role in mediation. "We think you need to
take control of the process" and pursue intensive shuttle diplomacy,
he said, adding that too much time had been wasted in periodic
meetings. While the launching of the Sudan People's Initiative on
October 16 will create a "public spectacle," Williamson urged
Bassole not to wait for this initiative and continue his mediation.
He stressed that the Joint Mediator is in a unique position to
provide leadership and facilitation for this process. He urged
Bassole to maximize the discretion afforded by his role, his lack of
any previous baggage on the issues, and the full support afforded
him by the international community. By doing so, Bassole could
actively reach out to NCP-decision-makers as well as to the full
spectrum of rebel movements to explore and test ideas in a
non-public setting. SE Williamson also encouraged Bassole to make
use of resources that could strengthen his ability to mediate, such
as the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, which hosted discussions
between SLA/Unity and JEM in Geneva on greater security for
humanitarian operations in Darfur (Reftel). He offered to help
Bassole secure such resources, adding that "no one wants you to
succeed more than the United States." He urged Bassole not to let
the window of opportunity pass. SE Wililamson closed by saying the
United States will support whatever the Chief Mediator does, but
said the U.S. does not care about the "theatre." He urged Bassole
to leverage his unique position to provide leadership to end the
conflict in Darfur.

4. (SBU) Comment: Almost three months into the job (but
newly-arrived on the scene fulltime in Sudan,) Bassole has shown
determination, but to date, no great sense of urgency in mediating
the peace process. It is clear he is eager to take advantage of the
current dynamic created by the possibility of an ICC warrant and the
regime's need to show progress in the search for peace in Darfur.
Getting the rebels to the table will be exceptionally difficult. If
Bassole is to have any chance of success in achieving the latter, he
will need (and be willing to accept) assistance from the U.S., UK,
France and others.

5. (U) SE Williamson cleared this cable prior to transmission.

ASQUINO

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