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Cablegate: Elections, Grassroots Efforts Key to Darfur Peace, Says Gos

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OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
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O 171314Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4754
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001300

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DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: ELECTIONS, GRASSROOTS EFFORTS KEY TO DARFUR PEACE, SAYS GOS
LEAD NEGOTIATOR

REF: Khartoum 829

1. (SBU) Summary: The biggest obstacle to a political solution of
the Darfur conflict is not the rebels' lack of political will, but
rather their lack of capacity, the GOS lead negotiator to the Doha
talks told CDA and S/USSES Peace and Security Team in a meeting on
November 16. Dr. Amin Hassan Omer, State Minister for Culture, Youth
and Sports, also cautioned that while the Doha peace process could
address security arrangements, the best mechanism to address the
question of power sharing was the holding of elections, which would
neutralize the movements' personal and tribal aspirations to
political power. Other contentious issues such as land rights and
tribal reconciliation would ultimately have to be solved not in Doha
but rather at the grassroots level in Darfur, he said. Omer also
expressed concern about the marginalization of Darfur's Arab tribes
in the peace process. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Omer believes that the rebels' lack of capacity is a
greater obstacle to a peace agreement than a lack of political will.
The real problem is finding credible representatives from the
movements, he said, adding that unlike the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement (SPLM) in Naivasha, Darfur's rebels were largely naove and
unsophisticated. Civil society can help fill these gaps, he said, by
addressing issues like justice and reconciliation which the
movements are ill-suited to tackle. While the movements can
negotiate security arrangements and power sharing, issues such as
land rights and compensation will ultimately have to be solved at
the grassroots level. "Not everything can be resolved in Doha," he
said.

3. (SBU) While an eventual peace agreement will clear an important
hurdle to a sustainable peace in Darfur, improving the security and
humanitarian situation is not incumbent on negotiations, said Omer.
The reactivation of some security provisions of the Darfur Peace
Agreement (DPA), such as IDP involvement in community policing, can
go a long way towards improving security on the ground, he said. He
also lauded the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur
(UNAMID)'s community policing efforts and training of local police
as positive steps in increasing security.

4. (SBU) With regard to the next steps in the peace process, Omer
noted that Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole had told him he
expected to convene a roundtable in Doha following the Eid holiday
(Note: The Eid al Adha holiday occurs November 28-30. End Note),
with representatives from the Addis Group and possibly the Tripoli
Group as well. JEM may also feel pressure to attend given the
nascent rapprochement between Chad and Sudan, but the real problem
is Abdul Wahid. Omer does not expect Abdul Wahid to return to the
negotiating table, an obstacle he believes can be overcome if the
Addis Group achieves enough popular legitimacy. (Note: The Tripoli
Group, largely a collection of individuals, has no such legitimacy.
End Note.)

5. (SBU) Omer noted that following Eid, discussions between the GOS
and the Addis Group and/or Tripoli group on a cessation of
hostilities and framework agreement will likely be cut short by the
Christmas holiday, although a cessation of hostilities with those
parties should not take long to negotiate, he said, given that it
already exists in de facto form. A framework agreement addressing
issues such as power sharing would take longer, he said, but noted
that the ultimate solution to the power sharing dilemma was to focus
on elections as a way to neutralize personal and tribal aspirations
to political power on the part of the movements.

6. (SBU) Omer also expressed concern about the marginalization of
Darfur's Arab tribes in the current peace process, noting that most
were not a part to the conflict. "They feel that if peace ever
comes, it will be at their expense," he said. He noted that while
banditry is rampant along the vast territory of Darfur, some of it
is "politically instigated" by frustrated Arab tribesman. The tribal
leadership has the ability to curb such activity, but a vigorous
outreach is needed, he said. He further noted that talk of
development in Darfur needs to go beyond the needs of settled
peoples to include nomads as well.

7. (SBU) Comment: Omer is correct about the de facto ceasefire
between the GOS and indigenous Darfuri rebel groups, save for the
occasional GOS offensive to "rout out bandits", which more often
than not results in GOS encroachment on Darfur's "liberated zones".
With UNAMID approaching full deployment and looking to strengthen
its implementation of rules of engagement, there is hope for an
improved security situation in 2010; however, Darfur's restive Arab
tribesmen responsible for much of the banditry and kidnappings must
be reined in, a responsibility that ultimately lies with the
government.

KHARTOUM 00001300 002 OF 002


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