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Cablegate: Chad: French Here Continue Bullish On Chad-Sudan,

VZCZCXRO5921
OO RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHKUK RUEHMA
RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNJ #0466/01 2941242
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211242Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7337
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000466

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

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 FR SU CD
SUBJECT: CHAD: FRENCH HERE CONTINUE BULLISH ON CHAD-SUDAN,
REBEL RETURNS, AND POLITICAL REFORM PROCESS

REF: A. N'DJAMENA 401
B. N'DJAMENA 457

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

1. (SBU) French DCM Erwan de Gouvello gave DCM an example
of his nation's continued optimism about the prospects for
Chad-Sudan rapprochement, GOC outreach to Chad rebels, and
Chad's own progress toward improved standards of governance,
based on the October 14-21 visit of Chadian President Idriss
Deby Itno to Paris. Although the Deby visit was nominally
private in nature, Deby did have meetings with President
Sarkozy, among others, did successful outreach to former
regime opponents, and gave interviews to Le Figaro and Radio
France Internationale.

2. (SBU) French policy is pro-regime and the French
interpretation of events here inevitably takes on a pro-Deby
glow, with accomplishments maximized and deficiencies
minimized. Even so, we and the other more critical members
of the diplomatic community here generally share France's
current positive and optimistic sense of the way things have
been going recently. One key question is what will become of
returned rebels and regime opponents such as Soubiane as they
reenter public life in Chad. Many of them condition their
returns on being offered senior positions. The rumor that we
and the French hope will remain just that and not/not
materialize is the buzz that Soubiane will get the MFA: We
think that Faki is doing an outstanding job as FORMIN and
hope he will continue in that key position for some time.
END SUMMARY.

----------------
GALLIC OPTIMISM:
SUDAN AND JEM
----------------

3. (SBU) Gouvello told DCM that France thought Chad was in
better shape at present than it had been in many previous
months, both in terms of relations with Sudan (including the
Chad rebels) and domestic politics. Gouvello claimed that
Deby had struck his French interlocutors as "quite tired of
the JEM," having come to see it as an encumbrance
particularly now that mutual confidence-building measures
with Khartoum had been proposed. According to Gouvello, Deby
was concerned that the JEM was "out of control" militarily,
and unwilling to let his own nation's reputation on the human
rights front be further tarnished by JEM actions for which
the Chadian National Army might find itself held accountable.

4. Gouvello confirmed that Deby had spoken positively about
the October 10 visit of Sudanese Presidential Adviser Ghazi
Salahuddin to N'Djamena, and seemed relatively hopeful that
the Sudanese side would manage to "take a concrete step,"
namely to canton Chad rebels far from the Chadian border.
Deby expressed frustration that the international community
had been slow to appreciate the problems that the Chadian
rebels had posed and would continue to pose if they could not
be brought under control. He asked France to put pressure on
Sudan to proceed with cantoning them, after which Deby made
clear that he would demonstrate to Sudanese visitors that
anti-Sudan rebels were no longer welcome in Chad and that
there were "no JEM military bases" in Chad.

---------------------
OUTREACH TO OPPONENTS
---------------------

5. (SBU) While in Paris, Deby met with Chadian regime
opponent Mahamat Nahor N'Gawara, who informed Deby that he
was prepared to end his exile and return to Chad. Gouvello
did not have a read-out of that session, but he did note that
France saw the rebel return process as essentially working on
its own incremental terms, and that the arrival of key former
rebels such as the Movement Nationale's Ahmat Hasaballah
Soubiane, who came back to N'Djamena October 18, and exiled
dissidents such as Nahor, would increase momentum for
additional returns and for national reconciliation.


NDJAMENA 00000466 002 OF 002


----------------
POLITICAL REFORM
-----------------

6. (SBU) As for Chadian domestic politics, Gouvello said
that France believed Deby was pursuing various domestic
betterment projects because he saw that improving his
country's circumstances was his role, and because doing so
was good electoral politics. The subject of Chadian
elections had come up in several of Deby's meetings, said
Gouvello. The French had the impression that Deby was
committed to holding them in 2010-2011, as he had stated
publicly to RFI, although "one never knows in Chad," said
Gouvello.

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

7. (SBU) As noted in Ref A, French policy is pro-regime and
French interpretation of events here inevitably takes on a
pro-Deby glow, with accomplishments maximized and
deficiencies minimized. Even so, we and the other more
critical members of the diplomatic community generally share
France's positive and optimistic sense of the way things have
been going recently.

8. (SBU) As indicated in Ref B, one key question is what
will become of returned rebels and regime opponents such as
Ahmat Soubiane once they reenter public life in Chad. Many
of these figures condition their returns on being offered
senior positions. The rumor that we and the French hope will
remain just that and not/not materialize is the buzz that
Soubiane will get the MFA: We think that Faki is doing an
outstanding job as FORMIN and we hope he will continue in
that key position for some time. END COMMENT.

9. (U) Minimize considered.
NIGRO

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