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Cablegate: Ghazi Visit to Chad; Deby-Bassole Meeting; Doha

VZCZCXRO8974
OO RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHKUK RUEHMA
RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNJ #0438/01 2831840
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101840Z OCT 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7294
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NDJAMENA 000438

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

MOSCOW FOR SE GRATION
STATE FOR AF/C, S/USSES
NSC FOR GAVIN
LONDON FOR POL - LORD
PARIS FOR POL - BAIN AND KANEDA
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR AU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PREF PHUM QA SU LY CD
SUBJECT: GHAZI VISIT TO CHAD; DEBY-BASSOLE MEETING; DOHA
PLANS

REF: NDJAMENA 429

NDJAMENA 00000438 001.3 OF 003


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) UN/AU Darfur Mediator Djibrill Bassole briefed USG
officials October 10 on his meetings earlier in the week with
Chadian President Idris Deby Itno, FONMIN Moussa Faki
Mahamat, and Sudan rebel leaders from the JEM and various SLA
factions. Bassole indicated that Sudanese Presidential
Advisor Ghazi Salahuddin was expected in town imminently, and
that later on October 10 he (Bassole) would attend a meeting
involving Deby, Faki, and Ghazi. In the evening of October
10, S/USSES Adviser Kemi Yai had a conversation with Ghazi,
who expressed satisfaction with his meetings with the
Chadians, and said that he planned to stay through the
following day to continue talks here. END SUMMARY.

-----------------------------
BASSOLE'S PERCEPTIONS OF CHAD
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) Bassole, who arrived in N,Djamena late October 8,
told Charge, Pol/Econ Chief, and S/USSES Adviser Kemi Yai
that an October 9 audience with President Deby had gone very
well. The President, whom Bassole described as cordial and
relaxed, expressed skepticism at the likelihood of
significantly improved relations with Khartoum in the near
term. But Deby also made clear that he was prepared to do
his part to try to "warm" the bilateral relationship.
Bassole offered that in his own view, the current poor state
of relations between Chad and Sudan was poisoning the
atmosphere for international Darfur mediations and making
dealings with all rebel factions difficult. Bassole stressed
that he saw Khartoum's support for Chadian rebel groups as
one of the most damaging aspects of current GoS policy. In
answer to our comment about Chadian rebel returns having
picked up, Bassole said that the GoS would do well to emulate
the GoC in encouraging its own rebels to return to Sudan,
including by offering compensation. Bassole noted that
former Chadian rebel Ahmat Hassaballah Soubiane was expected
back in N'Djamena later in the day for discussions with GOC
officials. (NOTE: FM Faki told us earlier this week that
Soubiane was due here, but at this writing he has not yet
appeared. END NOTE.)

3. (SBU) Charge pointed out that reports of Minni Minawi
troops and Chadian rebels gathering on the Sudanese side of
the border had provoked the Chadian National Army (ANT) to
issue an alert in eastern Chad October 7. Bassole recalled
that Minni and the JEM regarded each other as arch-enemies,
and suggested that Minni might have had his sights trained on
the JEM, not the ANT. Bassole described the ANT as well
organized and well equipped, and said that the Chadian rebels
would be unwise to attempt military action against N,Djamena
anytime soon. He added that the high level of ANT confidence
had improved Deby,s negotiating position and even
presentational aspects of his negotiating style.

-----------
GHAZI VISIT
-----------

4. (SBU) Bassole told us that he had been invited by the
Chadian side to attend a meeting among President Deby, FORMIN
Faki, and Sudanese Presidential Advisor Ghazi Salahuddin, who
was expected in N,Djamena late in the morning of October 10.
Bassole recalled that this would be the third meeting
between the Chadian side and Ghazi, the first having occurred
in Tripoli and the second on the margins of the UNGA in New
York last month. He said that he believed all the sessions
had been cordial. He advised us that Deby had delayed a
personal visit to Paris to remain in town for the meeting
with Ghazi. (NOTE: We understand that Deby will now leave
for Paris October 13. He had originally planned to travel
today. END NOTE.)


5. (SBU) Late on October 10, Presidential Envoy Ghazi

NDJAMENA 00000438 002.3 OF 003


briefed Kemi Yai to his meetings with President Deby, FONMIN
Faki and others. Ghazi said he was basically encouraged by
the tone of the meetings, and indicated that he would stay an
additional day in Chad for follow-on sessions. Ghazi
acknowledged that "there was lots of mistrust" between Chad
and Sudan, but he expressed willingness to try to build
better relations. He characterized Sudan as "the big
brother" in the relationship, which meant that Sudan should
"make the first move" in improving the situation, by sending
an envoy to Chad. Ghazi told Yai that he did not intend to
meet with the either the SLA reps currently in N'Djamena or
with the JEM, because doing so would be "confusing" to his
bilateral mission, and he felt that discussions with the
rebels should occur in Doha.

------------
JEM, AS EVER
------------

6. (SBU) Bassole indicated that he had spent considerable
portions of October 9 with the JEM; in fact, he told us that
he would leave our October 10 morning meeting to reconvene
with JEM interlocutors. Bassole described the JEM as having
had little of a concrete nature to offer thus far, although
he did mention that the JEM had said they had a "proposal"
for him that they would share before he left. According to
Bassole, in his meetings with JEM to date, Khalil and Djibril
Ibrahim continued to stick to long-standing positions and to
display noteworthy lack of flexibility or negotiating acumen.
JEM leaders remained reticent about whether they would go to
Doha, said Bassole, or whether they would be willing to deal
with other rebel movements as peers at the negotiating table.
Charge asked Bassole what the JEM appeared to be doing in
N,Djamena besides plowing familiar ground with him, and what
had brought them here. Bassole offered that Khalil had a
house in N,Djamena and relatives in town: "He is just here;
he likes it here, he has family business." Bassole continued
that Khalil had approached him early in October to say that
he would be in N,Djamena, and to invite him (Bassole) to
Chad. After some jockeying, the two had settled on October
8-9 for the timeframe of a meeting. We asked Bassole what
sort of dealings he thought the JEM had had with the GoC
during the present visit; Bassole said he did not know.

7. (SBU) Bassole characterized the relationship between JEM
and the GOC as sinusoidal, adding that he was not sure
whether things were up or down at the moment. He described
the GOC's attachment to the JEM as a marriage of convenience.
The GoC invested more attention in the JEM when it felt
threatened by Sudan, he added. If the GoC,s relations with
Sudan were to improve as a result of Ghazi,s visit or other
developments, N,Djamena would lose interest in the JEM,
Bassole predicted.

--------------------
SLA, COMING TOGETHER
--------------------

8. (SBU) Bassole expressed appreciation for S/USSES Adviser
Kemi Yai's efforts to convince various SLA factions --
SLA/Shafi, SLA/Unity, SLA/URF -- to coalesce and prepare for
a potential SLA unification conference to be held later this
month. (NOTE: We understand that the conference had
originally been envisioned for Darfur, but now may be held in
Libya, following interventions by SE Gration in Tripoli. END
NOTE.) According to Bassole, the SLA players had told him
(and also the GoC, with whom they met at Yai,s urging) that
they were willing to work with each other, that they wanted
expanded contacts with UNAMID, and that they sought financial
support from the Gabonese, Saudis, Swiss, Kuwaitis and
Qataris. Bassole offered that the SLA players had seemed
sincere in their desire to maintain the current discussion
process.

----------------------
BASSOLE,S FUTURE PLANS
----------------------

9. (SBU) Bassole emphasized that as he prepared for an
October 28 "Civil Society" conference in Doha, he was making

NDJAMENA 00000438 003.3 OF 003


an effort to treat the various SLA and other Sudan rebel
movements as political groups, not ethnic ones, so as to
avoid provoking additional fractures along ethnic lines and
to encourage coalition formation. He said that he hoped to
use the civil society event to set the stage for efforts in
November to get the main belligerents -- the GoS; JEM; and
SLA factions (under one banner) -- to sit down together in
the aim of signing a peace deal. Diplomatic partners
including Chad, Libya, Egypt, and the P-5 would be invited to
the session he hoped to hold in November, said Bassole.

---------------------
WAYS THE USG CAN HELP
---------------------

10. (SBU) In reply to a question on how the USG could do
more to facilitate his efforts, Bassole replied that he hoped
the U.S. would put more pressure on the GoS to sever links
with Chad rebels, to reduce actions that could be interpreted
as support for janjaweed militias, and to take opportunities
for bilateral contacts with Chad. He added that the U.S.
could also urge Khartoum not to wait for a formal peace
accord with its rebels, but to reach out now, in a positive,
proactive manner, to rebel groups. Bassole reiterated his
appreciation for the U.S.'s taking the initiative to
encourage SLA factions to come together. Charge noted that
Embassy N'Djamena would continue to do its part to press the
GoC to remain open to Khartoum, maintain the moral high
ground with respect to military action, and prioritize
relations with Sudan over support for the JEM.

-------
COMMENT
-------

11. (SBU) Bassole seemed pleased with his meetings with the
Chadians, and hopeful that Ghazi's visit would bring further
bilateral progress. Ghazi himself also struck us as
cautiously upbeat. We will check in with GoC officials next
week to seek their perceptions of the Ghazi visit, of the
Doha process more generally, and of course to see if they
have anything to say about the JEM (or SLA). Embassy stands
ready to facilitate S/USSES,s efforts to spur greater SLA
cohesion and willingness of all players to take part in the
upcoming unification conference, Doha events and other
relevant activities.

12. (SBU) As for the JEM, its goals (and representatives)
remain elusive to us. JEM leaders spoke at length with
Bassole, but whether they offered anything new remains to be
seen. They have had cursory consultations with Embassy staff
and with Yai, but have not engaged substantively. We are
presently not in a position to confirm any meetings they may
have had with the GoC. SLA factions told Yai that they were
prepared to meet with JEM reps, but the capture overnight of
some SLA/AW fighters by the JEM prompted the SLA to withdraw
the offer. The JEM advised Yai that if the SLA were to
unite, JEM would have no problem having SLA reps at the table
in Doha, but if the SLA remained divided, as they were at
present, the "movement's" position vis-a-vis the GoS would
remain weak. END COMMENT.

13. (U) Minimize considered.
BREMNER

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