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Cablegate: Darfur Rebel Group Merger in Kufra: More Fanfare Than Derived From: Dscg 05-1, B,D

VZCZCXRO6248
PP RUEHBC RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0062 0241611
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241611Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5721
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY 0172
RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA PRIORITY 0186
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA 0037
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0877
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1210
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0672
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 6274

C O N F I D E N T I A L TRIPOLI 000062

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/MAG AND S/USSES E.O. 12958: DECL: 1/24/2020

TAGS: PREL CD SU LY

SUBJECT: DARFUR REBEL GROUP MERGER IN KUFRA: MORE FANFARE THAN Derived from: DSCG 05-1, B,D

1.(C) Libyan officials convoked the diplomatic corps, including France's visiting Special Envoy on Sudan, on three hours' notice on January 17 to announce the merger of six Darfur rebel groups at a conference in Kufra (approximately 1000 miles southeast of Tripoli). Chaired by FM-equivalent Musa Kusa, the Libyans announced that SLA/Field Command; SLA/Unity; SLA/Khamis Abdullah; the National Front for Democracy, Justice, and Development (Note: possibly SLA/Democracy - Ali Karbino. End note.); the National Movement for Reform and Development; and the United Revolutionary Front had agreed to merge under the common leadership of Tigani Seisei. Seisei reportedly remained in Kufra as of January 18 to continue negotiations between rebel factions and the Government of Libya on the unification project. According to French poloff, Seisei's position would remain provisional until the rebels or Libya could agree to provide compensation commensurate with his current job and salary at the UN. Mahjoub Hussein served as the new group's spokesperson to state media, though it is unclear if he has an official position in the new secretariat or is simply well-known to journalists here due to his long Tripoli residence.

2.(C) Comment: Both the unification and the public, Musa Kusa-led announcement of the same recall the short-lived March 2009 "Unity Plus" agreement. The hastily called rollout (delayed an hour to allow for Libyan and Sudanese participants to straggle in) may have been timed to maintain relevance given recent bilateral advances between Khartoum and N'Djamena. Libyan Director of Military Intelligence Abdullah Sanussi was thanked by all parties but was not present at the event, a fact more likely attributed to his desire to keep a low public profile than a metric of his ongoing involvement. Diplomatic observers in Tripoli have so far been dismissive of the Kufra initiative, commenting that uniting minor groups that will have a weak negotiating position in Doha is hardly the "win" Libya was hoping for out of the conference. End comment. CRETZ

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