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Cablegate: Slm/Minnawi Leadership Expresses Concern Over Elections,

VZCZCXRO0868
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0098 0181336
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 181335Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0035
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000098

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL SU CD
SUBJECT: SLM/MINNAWI LEADERSHIP EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER ELECTIONS,
DARFUR PEACE

REF: 09 KHARTOUM 1411

1. (SBU) Summary: In a January 13 meeting with DCM, Sudan
Liberation Movement/Minnawi (SLM/Minnawi) faction Head of Foreign
Relations, Ali Traio, and Head of Policy, Hussein Arko Minnawi,
asserted that Sudan would be better off without elections because
they are "rigged" in favor of the National Congress Party (NCP).
They lamented the lack of implementation of the Darfur Peace
Agreement (DPA), and chastised the United Nations/African Union-led
peacemaking effort for failing to include their movement in ongoing
peace talks in Doha. While lauding the normalization of relations
between Chad and Sudan, they expressed concern about its ancillary
effects, in particular the destabilizing presence of Chadian rebels
in North Darfur. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On January 13, SLM/Minnawi Head of Foreign Relations Ali
Traio and Head of Policy Hussein Arko Minnawi (brother of SLA
Chairman Minni Arko Minnawi) called on DCM. They voiced their
dismay over the lack of implementation of the DPA, and the
perceived failure of the international community to support the
Agreement. They also expressed concern that the USG in particular
was abandoning the cause of the DPA, questioning why Special Envoy
Gration has not met with SLM Chairman Minni Arko Minnawi on his
past several trips to Sudan.

3. (SBU) Traio and Minnawi also expressed concern about the
upcoming national elections, noting that the entire process was
"rigged in favor of the NCP," from the census, to demarcation of
constituencies, to voter registration. In Darfur specifically,
the prospects for credible elections are dim, they said, noting
that half of Darfuris are either internally displaced or refugees.
The potential for the recently passed National Security Act to be
misused in Darfur is extremely high, given that a State of
Emergency declaration remains in effect there. At the end of the
day, "elections will not be free and fair, and it is our position
therefore that they are not good for the country," they said.
(Note: SLM has not been permitted to register as a political party
(reftel). End Note.)

4. (SBU) With regard to the ongoing Doha peace process, Traio and
Minnawi expressed low confidence in the United Nations-African
Union-led effort headed by Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole.
"We think the mediation should be doing a lot more than what they
are now," stated Traio. Minnawi further stated that SLM has
repeatedly expressed a desire to be part of the peace process, to
no avail. (Note: The Joint Mediation Support Team maintains that
its mandate is to engage with Non-Signatories of the DPA, thus
excluding SLM/Minnawi. End Note.) Hussein further noted that he
believed no serious discussions would take place prior to elections
in April. Based on the result of the elections, the GOS would
determine its course of action, he predicted.

5. (SBU) Traio and Minnawi also addressed the ongoing Chad-Sudan
rapprochement, noting that while it is overall a positive trend,
its ancillary affects pose "a major concern." They noted that the
presence of Chadian rebels in North Darfur threatened to
destabilize an already volatile security situation (ref b), and
claimed that the GOS was trying to separate Chadian rebel troops on
an ethnic basis. He urged that additional pressure be put on the
Chadian rebels to put down their weapons, as well as on President
Deby, who "is just the same as Bashir." Minnawi also expressed
concern that over the past several weeks the GOS has sought to curb
the movement of SLA/Minnawi troops within their traditional spheres
of influence, including south of El Fasher to Shangil Tobay. "The
GOS is preparing for something, we don't know what" he said.

6. (SBU) Comment: While some of SLA/Minnawi's complaints ring true,
it is disappointing that the movement is unable to articulate a
plan for its future, either in Darfur or in Sudan as a whole.
Weakened militarily and politically since the signing of the DPA,
SLA/Minnawi will fade into oblivion if it does not find a way to
remain relevant in the Darfur peace process or the Juba Alliance of
opposition parties. End Comment.
WHITEHEAD

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