Cablegate: Egypt: Next Steps On Sudan

DE RUEHEG #1714/01 2460850
P 030850Z SEP 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001714



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2019

REF: A. CAIRO 1690
B. 08 CAIRO 1963

Classified By:Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Donald A. Blome for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(C) Key Points: -- Egyptian officials were pleased with the August 23 visit of Special Envoy (S/E) Gration. Egypt believes the Government of Sudan (GoS) is serious about moving forward toward peace and unity, but is waiting for a "new U.S. policy" on Sudan to determine its next steps. -- Government of Egypt (GoE) officials say the two biggest obstacles to achieving peace in Darfur are resolving the Sudan-Chad conflict and encouraging rebel leaders to leave their "nice lives" in exile and negotiate with the GoS. -- The GoE suggested it would be willing to host a Darfur Reconstruction Conference in 2010 after the unification of Darfuri factions and a final agreement in Doha are achieved. -- The GoE believes an independent South Sudan would be a "failed state." Egypt urged the USG to speak with southern leaders to encourage unity.

2.(C) Comment: The GoE appears reassured by progress in Darfur, but is fearful of increasing instability and violence in southern Sudan. Egyptian officials believe the separation of South Sudan will lead to the further break-up of Sudan and could serve as an impetus for Puntland and Somaliland to declare independence. Despite its concerns, Egypt will likely continue to take a cautious approach to Sudan policy, seeking to avoid alienating any party that might be in a position to control Nile water flow, a paramount Egyptian strategic concern. End Comment. --------------------------- Waiting for new U.S. Policy ---------------------------

3.(C) Mohamed Kassem, the Director of the Egyptian MFA's Sudan Department told Polmincons on August 26 that the visit of S/E Gration had gone well and Egypt was now looking for "tangible" results (reftel A). Kassem said Sudanese Presidential advisor Ghazi Salahuddin is sincere about moving forward toward peace and unity. He said the NCP has a "political program" to "unite Sudan" and facilitate "democratic transformation." However, the GoS is "waiting for the new U.S. policy," which it hopes will be positive and will dictate the GoS' next steps.

4.(C) Kassem said Egyptian officials support S/E Gration's desire to "engineer an end" to the Darfur crisis. He stated that the Darfur crisis would be a main issue discussed at the August 31-September 1 African Union summit. Kassem stated the GoE agrees with S/E Gration's timeline and wants to see an agreement on unification of Darfuri factions by the end of September 2009, and a final agreement in Doha by the end of 2009. He said the GoE is willing to host a Darfur Reconstruction Conference in 2010 after the signing of a Doha peace agreement. ---------------------------------------- Progress in Darfur, But Obstacles Remain ----------------------------------------

5.(C) Despite recent progress in Darfur, Kassem believes there is only a 50 percent chance that multilateral efforts will succeed at ending the crisis. He stated that the Sudan-Chad conflict is the biggest obstacle to peace. Kassem said President Mubarak and Libyan President Ghaddafi were coordinating on how to bring Sudanese President Bashir and Chadian President Deby to the negotiation table. (Note: The Chadian FM arrived in Cairo on September 1 for three days of discussion with the GoE. End Note).

6.(C) Kassem also stated that Darfuri rebel leaders have become "comfortable with their nice lives" outside Sudan and could hold out at the expense of the Darfuri people. Kassem was encouraged by the inclusion of former Darfuri Governor Ibrahim Soliman in unification discussions because he "represents Darfuri civil society." He felt Libya's involvement in uniting Darfuri factions was important because "if Tripoli isn't part of the solution, it could be part of the problem." ----------------------------- CAIRO 00001714 002 OF 002 Egyptian Concerns About Unity -----------------------------

7.(C) Mohamed El Mullah, Egyptian MFA cabinet advisor for African Affairs, told Poloff on September 1 that Egypt has serious concerns about situation in southern Sudan. He stated that the lack of any institutional, economic, or political framework would lead to the "failed state" of South Sudan in the event of secession. El Mullah said Egypt and the U.S. need to work together to help southern leaders understand this. According to El Mullah, the GoE is concerned that "lobbying groups in the U.S." will prevent the USG from expressing concerns to South Sudanese leaders about the viability of South Sudan or recommending the referendum be delayed. Kassem worried that many southern leaders are only focused on the referendum and separation, and some northern leaders no longer care about unity. He specifically mentioned SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum and Sudanese Presidential advisor Nafie Ali Nafie, whom he called "two sides of the same coin." Kassem said the influence of Kenya and Uganda is pushing southern leaders to support separation. Both Kassem and El Mullah asked the USG to speak with southern leaders to encourage unity.

8.(C) El Mullah said that despite the good intentions at the CFA forum in Washington in June, no tangible efforts had been made to encourage unity. He stated that there is a need to provide civic education to the people in southern Sudan so they understand the impact of separation. El Mullah hoped this education program could be part of the second CPA forum, which may be held in Sharm El Sheikh in January 2010. Kassem mentioned that Egypt is carrying out development projects in South Sudan to encourage unity (reftel B). Scobey

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