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Cablegate: Chadian Rebels: Ufr's Tollimi Addresses Eu Initiative,

VZCZCXRO1023
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1209/01 3000952
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 270952Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4637
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001209

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PGOV PINR PREL KPKO SU CD
SUBJECT: CHADIAN REBELS: UFR'S TOLLIMI ADDRESSES EU INITIATIVE,
TROOP MOVEMENT TO NORTH DARFUR

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1199

1. (SBU) Summary: In an October 25 meeting with poloff, Secretary
General of Chadian rebel group Union des Forces de la Rsistance
(UFR) Abakar Tollimi expressed concern about the lack of progress in
the EU-led initiative to facilitate political discussions between
UFR and the Government of Chad (GOC), noting the roadmap document
produced by UFR to initiate dialogue has received little response.
He further lamented that the recently unveiled U.S. Sudan Policy
made scant mention of Chad, and requested the USG to clarify its
position towards the UFR and the roadmap. Tollimi confirmed that
the entire Chadian rebel force has now moved into the area near Ain
Siro in North Darfur, and has no plans to mobilize anytime soon. UN
observers believe that moving away from the border region enables
the Chadian rebels to avoid GOC aerial bombing and prevent
defections, while allowing them to regroup, train and conserve their
strength for future operations. Experts also believe that the UFR's
presence in North Darfur will serve as a buffer force for potential
incursions into Sudan by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM),
although Tollimi denied this. End Summary.

------------------------------
CHADIAN REBELS IN NORTH DARFUR
------------------------------

2. (SBU) On October 25, poloff met with UFR Secretary General Abakar
Tollimi. Tollimi confirmed that the entire Chadian rebel force had
moved to the area of Ain Siro, North Darfur. He claimed the force
was 10,000 strong, a figure often cited by rebel leadership. (Note:
UNAMID's Joint Mission Analysis Center (JMAC) estimates that
following the failed attack of May 2009, Chadian rebel groups have
been downsized to almost half of their original strength due to
losses during the fighting as well as defections. Current troop
strength is estimated at between 1,500-2,000 fighters. End note.)
Tollimi claimed that Chadians rebel presence in the area had met no
resistance from local SLA commanders, and that the Chadians had no
immediate plans to mobilize. "They are not going anywhere," he
remarked.

3. (SBU) UN sources believe that Chadian rebels' move into North
Darfur may have been motivated by the need for sanctuary. Moving
away from the border region and known locations has enabled the
Chadian rebels to avoid Chadian Armed Forces (ANT) aerial bombing,
and has prevented defections, while allowing them to regroup, train
and conserve their strength for future operations. They have also
noted that the positioning of Chadian rebels in North Darfur has
countered JEM's freedom of movement, as this area is the favorite
line of incursion for JEM military operations into Sudan. (Note:
Some observers speculate that the GOS may have traded this
positioning of the Chadian rebels in exchange for their future
support. End note.) For his part, Tollimi stated that the Chadian
rebels reserve the right of self-defense against potential JEM
incursions, but claimed that Chadian rebel forces would not
intervene should JEM attack the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).

------------------------------
SLOW PROGRESS ON EU INITIATIVE
------------------------------

4. (SBU) Tollimi noted that following the EU-led discussions in
Geneva between UFR and representatives from the EU, Swiss
Confederation, Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) and AF/C, UFR
has since developed a codified position in the form of a roadmap to
initiate dialogue with the GOC. However he lamented that UFR has
received no response from either the EU or other observer countries,
including the U.S. He also expressed concern that the
recently-unveiled USG Sudan Policy made scant mention of Chad. To
this end, he requested a meeting with CDA Whitehead on behalf of UFR
President Erdimi to clarify the USG position towards UFR and the
roadmap. (Note: With AF/C approval, the CDA is scheduled to meet the
Chadian rebel leadership this week, and has solicited talking
points. End note.)

5. (SBU) Tollimi continued that despite the lack of progress, the
UFR was committed to the roadmap and would be holding a party
conference before the end of the month. Following the
implementation of the roadmap, this conference would pave the way
for the UFR to become a political party and integrate itself into
the political process, per the August 13, 2007 political accord, he
said. With regard to the recent steps taken towards normalization
of relations between Chad and Sudan, Tollimi noted that while such
developments constituted a positive step, the UFR ought to be
included in normalization talks.

6. (SBU) Comment: It remains to be seen how the latest rapprochement

KHARTOUM 00001209 002 OF 002


between Sudan and Chad will impact both the UFR and JEM. While the
Chadian rebels remain totally reliant on GOS support, JEM has
absorbed a number of indigenous Darfuri commanders through the April
2009 defection of Suleiman Jamous to JEM from SLA/Unity, and
maintains at least some presence in Darfur; JEM is said to be
physically in control of Jebel Moon in West Darfur, and is widely
believed to be present in the far reaches of Dar Zaghawa, including
in Bamina, Furawiya, Muzbat and Bahai. End comment.


WHITEHEAD

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