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Cablegate: Chad: Minurcat Srsg Guardedly Optimistic On

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OO RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHKUK RUEHMA
RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNJ #0479/01 2990906
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 260906Z OCT 09 ZDK MULTIPLE
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7355
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 NDJAMENA 000479

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/C
STATE ALSO FOR S/USSES
NSC FOR GAVIN
DOD FOR DASD HUDDLESTON
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 SU FR LY UN AU CD
SUBJECT: CHAD: MINURCAT SRSG GUARDEDLY OPTIMISTIC ON
CHAD-SUDAN NORMALIZATION AND CHAD ELECTION PROCESS

REF: A. KHARTOUM 1193
B. PARIS 1415
C. NDJAMENA 466
D. NDJAMENA 462
E. NDJAMENA 458
F. NDJAMENA 457
G. NDJAMENA 447
H. NDJAMENA 446
I. NDJAMENA 444
J. NDJAMENA 441
K. NDJAMENA 428

NDJAMENA 00000479 001.2 OF 005


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

1. (SBU) MINURCAT SRSG Victor Angelo told Ambassador
October 22 that he was "guardedly optimistic" regarding the
current trend in Chad-Sudan relations, where momentum toward
normalization and ending support for military proxies was
building, and on Chad's election process, making "credible if
not perfect" legislative and municipal elections more and
more likely in 2010. Angelo thanked the Ambassador for his
participation in a two-day tour of Eastern Chad by Perm-5
ambassadors the previous week, which exposed the group to
progress by MINURCAT and DIS, the current state of
humanitarian assistance, and the views of local GOC
officials, refugees, IDPs, and local Chadian stressed
populations. Angelo also touched on his own planned travel
to Congo-Brazzaville and CAR next week; the complex political
dynamic between Chad and CAR, including the presence of the
LRA and possibly Joseph Kony himself in CAR; the current
INTERPOL arrest warrant out on JEM Chief Khalil Ibrahim; and
MINURCAT's desire for more U.S. military staff and liaison
officers.

2. (SBU) Angelo has extremely sensitive political antennae
and is extremely well-informed, including through his
contacts within the GOC, where he is trusted and esteemed.
Like the French (Ref C), he appears increasingly "bullish" on
developments here, both diplomatic and domestic. We agree
with Angelo that there are reasons for optimism regarding
Chad-Sudan normalization: the tone and substance of Chadian
rhetoric vis-a-vis Sudan had changed since the Ghazi visit
here, including at the highest levels, both publicly and
privately; President Deby's decision to move the Oure Cassoni
refugee camp ought to reassure Khartoum as much as it
dismayed JEM; and continued engagement by the USG, France,
Libya and the UN/AU sponsors Dakar Accord Contact Group
should be useful in encouraging the bilateral movement toward
detente. (See Refs A-D, F, and H.) We also agree that the
trend-line is favorable regarding the long-drawn-out
electoral reform process, with a positive "election climate"
in the air, and the real possibility of elections before
mid-year 2010. (See Refs A, C, E, I and K.)

---------------------
CHAD-SUDAN: TRENDING
TOWARD NORMALIZATION?
---------------------

3. (SBU) Angelo indicated that the UN was cautiously
optimistic about the prospects for improved relations between
Chad and Sudan, now that the two sides seemed to be moving
from deep mistrust to efforts at mutual confidence-building.
Angelo said that the sudden but welcome August decision by
President Deby to move the Oure Cassoni refugee camp, long a
refuge, R and R point, and recruiting station for JEM
fighters, had sent a powerful message to the Sudanese
Government and to JEM, positive to the former, negative to
the latter. The proposed move was clearly designed as a
"confidence-building measure" for the GOS, and could not be
taken by JEM as anything other than a shot across the bow.
Angelo said that bilateral talks between N'Djamena and
Khartoum over the past several months, and especially the
recent visit of Dr. Ghazi to N'Djamena, was a very positive
sign. A bilateral dynamic, with the two countries taking the

NDJAMENA 00000479 002.2 OF 005


lead in resolving their differences, and others -- the Dakar
Contact Group, the UN, the USG, the AU, etc. -- "blessing" a
normalization process arrived by Chad and Sudan on terms of
their own choosing, was perhaps the most workable way
forward. Angelo said that there was interest in Brazzaville
and perhaps Libya in reviving the Dakar Accord Contact Group
to encourage Chad-Sudan normalization: He added that he
would be traveling to both capitals soon.

4. (SBU) Ambassador asked whether Angelo was aware of a
possible "congress" or "conference" of Chadian rebels in the
coming days on the Sudan side of the border. Angelo indicated
that the UN was watching to see what might develop as a
result of this apparent Khartoum-backed initiative, which
could be linked with steps proposed for Sudan in the series
of confidence-building measures laid out in the course of the
October 10 Ghazi visit to N'Djamena.

------------------
JEM NOT MOBILIZING
IN EAST CHAD
------------------

5. (SBU) Ambassador shared our estimation of the situation,
asking whether MINURCAT had heard reports of JEM "build-up"
in Eastern Chad in recent days. Angelo replied that "we keep
seeing JEM figures in the East," but denied that anything
that could be described as build-up was going on. The JEM
had recently been "moving around Farchana, visiting people in
camps." But the UN had observed no unusual concentration of
JEM fighters.

-----------------
KHALIL IBRAHIM
ON INTERPOL LIST?
-----------------

6. (SBU) Angelo asked whether the U.S. had reason to believe
Khalil Ibrahim had been placed on an INTERPOL list of those
wanted for terrorism. Ambassador said he would try to
determine what the reality was in this and what implications
it might have for the USG and the GOC. (Septel.) Ambassador
said that we had found Khalil to be in quite a defensive mood
when we saw him earlier in the week. Angelo offered that
Khalil seemed bitter toward both UN/AU Negotiator Djibril
Bassole and S/USSES General Scott Gration, which Ambassador
confirmed, saying it was further indication of JEM loss of
confidence, despite the organization's continued rhetorical
bravura.

---------------------------
ELECTORAL PROCESS: CREDIBLE
ELECTIONS POSSIBLE IN 2010
---------------------------

7. (SBU) Angelo said that he was encouraged by what he
called "electoral climate change" in Chad, as long-awaited
legislative and municipal elections seemed more likely to be
held in 2010. Angelo cited the appointment of a new Chief of
Joint Military Staff, a veteran and prestigious Southerner,
as a move by Deby to attract Southern Chadian voters. He
termed ongoing civic improvement projects in N'Djamena as
essentially good electoral politics, for which Deby was
picking up some popular support. Ambassador added that an
increased sense of safety among populations who had for too
long been victimized by rebel activity would also likely
increase Deby's electoral chances, citing a
soon-to-be-published USAID risk-assessment.

8. (SBU) Angelo stressed that the UN believed Deby was
serious in his determination to hold elections in 2010 and
2011, and that some cabinet changes should be expected in the
near term, not only to make room for homeward-bound rebels
but also to "put more Southerners in charge" so as to
cultivate votes among the group least likely to be
enthusiastic about another Deby term. The opposition had had
a strategy session the previous day to try to select from

NDJAMENA 00000479 003.2 OF 005


many self-appointed leaders, among whom was Saleh Kebzabo,
who claimed to have been invited to Am Jarras for a Ramadan
audience with the President and offered the Prime
Ministership, which he had declined. Current Prime Minister
Abbas was "hanging on," offered Angelo, because he was doing
a good job and the IC liked him. In general terms, said
Angelo, the UN was supportive of elections and wanted to
encourage the GoC to move ahead, without placing "so many
demands on the project that IC involvement becomes a source
of tension."

-----------------
SRSG TRAVEL TO
CONGO/B AND LIBYA
-----------------

9. (SBU) Angelo said that he had been invited by
Congo-Brazzaville President Sassou-Nguesso to visit that
nation October 23, ostensibly to discuss his desire to revive
the Dakar Accord Contact Group Process, but also, Angelo
surmised, to cultivate him as part of an effort to assert
himself as "first among equals" of Central African leaders,
replacing deceased Gabon "Big Man" Omar Bongo and preempting
or marginalizing Biya of Cameroon, who (Angelo added) was
seen by many as an obstacle to regional integration. Angelo
noted that he would travel to Libya (the other co-chair of
the Dakar Process) the week of November 2 to continue
pursuing how the international community might formally
"bless" an improvement in relations between Chad and Sudan.

----------------
CAR ISSUES: SRSG
GOING TO BANGUI
----------------

10. (SBU) Angelo indicated that he planned to travel from
Brazzaville to Bangui October 24, in order to try to gain a
better understanding of the complex situation there,
particularly with respect to the possibility of elections in
April 2010. In Angelo's view, a constitutional requirement
to hold a vote as scheduled might exist, even though
statements had been made about postponing elections. Angelo
said he had been discussing the UN's role in CAR national
elections, which seemed to involve increasing security in
advance of a vote, with his counterpart, SRSG Sahle-Work
Zewde of BONUCA, who had been in Chad earlier in the week.
He made clear that he looked forward to seeing Ambassador
Cook in Bangui.

----------------
CAR ISSUES: LRA,
KONY IN CAR?
----------------

11. (SBU) Referring to reports that the LRA and possibly
Jospeh Kony had taken up residence in ungoverned spaces in
Northeastern CAR, Angelo stressed that the Chadians were
increasingly concerned about CAR in general. They did not
necessarily believe that Kony would attempt to enter Chad,
but they were nervous that their operational capabilities in
Salamat Province were insufficient to deter major trouble
from the south. The LRA was highly mobile and used to living
simply for long periods in the brush, so their staying power
was relatively great, said Angelo.

--------------------
CAR ISSUES: CHAD-CAR
RELATIONS/TENSIONS
--------------------

12. (SBU) The Chadians were also worried about military
tensions in the vicinity of Chad's southwestern border with
CAR, Angelo noted. The Chadian rebel group Rally of Positive
Forces, hailing originally from Eastern Chad, had settled in
the vicinity of the Northwestern CAR town of Kaga Bandoro.
Although the leader, Baba Lade, had been arrested in CAR, a
new leader seemed to have emerged, was heavily armed, and

NDJAMENA 00000479 004.2 OF 005


apparently had plans for preying on populations on both sides
of the border. To compound the situation, a rogue ANT
general, Djibrine Dassert, had been raiding CAR villages from
the Chadian side of the border. We noted that the Chadian
Defense Minister had traveled to CAR recently, and that a CAR
delegation had been in N'Djamena the previous day for
meetings with PM Youssef Saleh Abbas, but said we did not
have details. (NOTE: The CAR media report that a General
Ramadane has replaced Baba Lade, but state that they cannot
verify the permanence of this posting. END NOTE.)

--------------------------------------
OURE CASSONI: MOVING THE CAMP NO
EASY MATTER FOR PKO AND HUMANITARIANS
--------------------------------------

13. (SBU) Angelo said that there was no doubt about the
positive political implications of President Deby's personal
decision to move the Oure Cassoni refugee camp away from the
border, which sent clear signals to Khartoum (positive) and
to JEM (negative), although it presented practical logistical
challenges for MINURCAT and the humanitarian effort. Angelo
noted that the location in Bir Douan proposed by the GoC as
an alternate to the present refugee camp site at Oure Cassoni
was presenting significant practical challenges, including
that there might not be enough water to sustain the camp's
population. MINURCAT was supportive of moving the camp in
order to disrupt JEM operations -- so long as a suitable
alternate site could be found. Bir Douan did not look to be
such a site. Angelo asked for U.S. support in trying to
convince the Chadian side to accept the realities of the
situation; Ambassador agreed to help. (NOTE: Refcoords met
separately October 20 with UNHCR Deputy ResRep Michele Manca
di Nissa, who stated that the hydrological studies described
in Ref G were not showing adequate water for sustained supply
to 28,000 people. Manca added that UNHCR was still
formulating its report, hoping to make clear that the
relocation of Oure Cassoni within the same general area would
be unsustainable, and suggesting areas with greater
potential, including Fada or the area around Iriba. END
NOTE.)

---------------------------
NEW HUMANITARIAN LEADERSHIP
STRONG AND ACTIVE
---------------------------

14. (SBU) Angelo said he was encouraged by the arrival of
an experienced new WFP Program head, Jean-Luc Siblot, given
that the food security situation in Chad would likely become
quite challenging in the coming months due to an expected bad
harvest. Angelo also termed incoming UNHCR ResRep Stefano
Severe and UNDP ResRep Michele Falavigna "proactive and
enterprising." The UN's new IV/AIDS Coordinator was also
impressive, with th result that had the strongest team in
quite som time in Chad.

--------------------------
HUMNITARIANS AND SECURITY
IN EASTERN CHAD
-------------------------

15. (SBU) According to Angeo, coordination between UN
agencies and the GO community had improved over time, but
humanitarians were still far too prone to taking unnecessary
risks in an extremely dangerous environment, and then
complaining that the UN had been remiss in not protecting
them. He asked for USG support in alerting U.S. citizens
among the humanitarian community to the need to coordinate
closely with MINURCAT, and to avoid launching forth
unescorted into regions (e.g., the vicinity of Guereda) where
trouble was likely.

------------------------------
ANGELO SEEKS MORE U.S. MILOFFS
------------------------------


NDJAMENA 00000479 005.2 OF 005


16. (SBU) Angelo also recalled his request that the U.S.
provide more military staff and liaison officers to MINURCAT,
adding that he had left the UNGA with the impression that
these would be forthcoming in the December-January timeframe.
We told him that we believed the USG was ready to send six
more such officers, and that we hoped that they would arrive
in the first quarter of 2010.

17. (U) Minimize considered.
NIGRO

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