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Cablegate: Usaid Acting Administrator Meeting with State Minister Of

VZCZCXRO7514
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1236/01 3071454
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031454Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4681
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001236

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
UN ROME FOR HSPANOS
NEW YORK FOR DMERCADO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI SMIG UN SU

SUBJECT: USAID Acting Administrator Meeting with State Minister of
Humanitarian Affairs in Khartoum

1. (SBU) Summary: On October 24, USAID Acting Administrator Alonzo
Fulgham and Acting Assistant Administrator for USAID's Bureau for
Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/DCHA) Susan
Reichle met with State (Deputy) Minister of Humanitarian Affairs,
H.E. Dr. Abdel Bagi El-Geilani as part of an October 24 to 27
delegation visit to Sudan. Discussions centered on NGO security,
disposition of expelled non-governmental organization (NGO) assets,
and Sudanization. End summary.

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SECURITY
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2. (SBU) USAID Acting Administrator Alonzo Fulgham began the meeting
thanking the Minister for his efforts to facilitate humanitarian
work in Sudan. The Acting Administrator expressed concern regarding
the recent kidnapping of an International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) international staff member and highlighted the fact that
impunity for the abductors impinges on security and impedes
humanitarian work. The State Minister replied that the Government
of Sudan (GOS) condemns the abductions and opined that as long as
people in Darfur are poor, illiterate, and armed, such kidnappings
would continue. The State Minister later noted that ICRC had
received a phone call from the kidnapped staff member but that no
money had been demanded to date. (Note: International media sources
also indicate no ransom demand as yet for the ICRC kidnapping. End
note.) He said that the GOAL kidnapping took a long time to resolve
because no ransom was paid (Note: October 26 press reports indicate
that the Minister had said that money was paid to "facilitate" the
work of mediators for the release of the GOAL staff, held captive
over 100 days. End note.)

3. (SBU) The State Minister proposed that the GOS develop an
infrastructure of "smart intelligence" surrounding NGO guesthouses
and offices, including a protective eye of unarmed guards. (Note:
This is likely a reference to increasing National Intelligence and
Security Service (NISS) presence near NGO compounds. End note.)
The State Minister has traveled to El Fasher to discuss the matter
with humanitarian agencies. The State Minister relayed that UN
African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and Red Cross
representatives had agreed with the proposal. In addition, the GOS
has appealed to the local administration to mobilize and highlight
the issue of kidnapping in tribal meetings, urging the groups to
collectively tackle the wave of abductions. The State Minister
indicated that the GOS would work to bring the kidnappers to
punishment by all means.

4. (SBU) The State Minister further opined that the solution to the
kidnapping lies in development of the area and that current
humanitarian operations create dependency. The State Minister
stated that development is possible in Darfur, as the area is
stable, with only banditry continuing to create problems. The State
Minister further asserted that internally displaced persons (IDPs)
are returning voluntarily due to the improved security and that the
remaining challenge will be to determine how to keep returnees in
their villages.

5. (SBU) Following earlier meetings in which negative press about
NGOs was discussed (see reftel), Acting Administrator Fulgham asked
the State Minister to describe GOS efforts to combat negative media
messages. The State Minister stated that his role is to highlight
international NGO work and that his office is open to promoting
positive messages in the press.

--------------------------------------------- -
BUREAUCRATIC IMPEDIMENTS AND ASSET DISPOSITION
--------------------------------------------- -

6. (SBU) Acting Administrator Fulgham relayed NGO concerns regarding
facilitation of humanitarian work that the GOS had promised but not
delivered, including handing over expelled NGO assets to new
affiliate NGOs. The Acting Administrator noted that the GOS had
agreed to return assets of all U.S.-funded NGOs. The State Minister
replied that he had not previously heard that such problems remain
and that from the GOS perspective, facilitation of humanitarian work
is on track.

7. (SBU) The State Minister further asserted that NGO country
agreements state that assets brought in to the country by NGOs
belong to the GOS and that if an NGO is expelled, the assets are
turned over to the government. The Government of National Unity is

KHARTOUM 00001236 002 OF 002


not involved in the contract between donors and NGOs, which may
delineate donor expectations regarding asset disposition. The
Acting Administrator noted that continued obstruction on this issue,
with NGOs still lacking access to the assets, reflects poorly upon
the GOS commitment to move forward with the GOS-U.S. relationship.
The State Minister replied that the GOS is ready to make assets
available for affiliate NGOs working in the same areas and
conducting the same programs as expelled NGOs. (Note: This
distinction is not contained in the GOS-USSES agreement and confuses
the issue, as most affiliate NGOs have redesigned program activities
and areas due to gap-filling by other NGOs and UN agencies
post-March 4. End note.) Fulgham stated that U.S. Government takes
seriously any seizure of U.S.-funded assets and will continue to
follow up on this issue.

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SUDANIZATION
------------

8. (SBU) During a brief mention about the recent push for
"Sudanization" of humanitarian work, the State Minister noted that
the Sudanization policy came as a presidential directive and,
therefore, must be respected, noting that the Ministry of
Humanitarian Affairs (MoHA) has plans for implementation of the
directive. However, the State Minister assured the USAID Acting
Administrator that further expulsions will not be linked to this
directive and that, on the contrary, the GOS desires close
cooperation with international NGOs. The State Minister also stated
that many NGOs are present within Sudan and that capacity-building
is necessary to enable these organizations to conduct the work.

9. (U) The delegation cleared this cable prior to departure.

WHITEHEAD

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