Search

 

Cablegate: Codel Durbin in Khartoum, February 18, 2010

VZCZCXRO9599
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0302/01 0531220
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 221218Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0238
INFO DARFUR COLLECTIVE
IGAD COLLECTIVE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000302

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR PREL ASEC SU CD CH
SUBJECT: CODEL DURBIN IN KHARTOUM, FEBRUARY 18, 2010

1. (SBU) Summary: During a stop in Khartoum on February 18,
Senators Dick Durbin and Sherrod Brown met with the Undersecretary
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mutrif Siddiq. The CODEL's
wide-ranging discussion with the key National Congress Party (NCP)
insider covered elections, Darfur, the role of China and Nile water
rights. In a meeting with the senators, heads of the two UN
peacekeeping missions in Sudan noted "cautious optimism" in the
lead-up to the April elections, but remain concerned about
insecurity in Darfur and the lack of political determination in the
south. End summary.

---------------------------------

VARIOUS ISSUES DISCUSSED WITH MFA

---------------------------------

2. (SBU) MFA Undersecretary Dr. Mutrif Siddiq told Senators Durbin
and Brown during their visit to Khartoum on February 18 that the
April national elections are a positive step for all Sudanese
citizens but that it is a complicated electoral process, given that
Sudan has not held elections since 1986. However, Siddiq expressed
confidence in the National Election Commission (NEC) to determine
the appropriate number of polling stations to accommodate all
registered voters within the three-day polling period scheduled for
April 11-13. Although registration varied in some areas, Siddiq
called the percentage of eligible voters registered a "good
average."

3. (SBU) Responding to a question on Darfur, Siddiq told the
senators that the situation has stabilized. He cited a lack of any
major humanitarian problems, except perhaps, in sanitation needs.
Siddiq cautioned that high levels of humanitarian assistance in
Darfur have created a "dependency syndrome" in which there is
little motivation for many internally displaced persons (IDPs) to
return home and become self-sufficient when everything is provided
freely. He said the Government of Sudan (GOS) is looking at ways
to encourage IDPs to return home and cited an upcoming conference
in Cairo to discuss the rehabilitation and reconstruction of
Darfur. While Siddiq acknowledged that security problems continue
in some areas of Darfur, he claimed that overall security has
improved. He believed that with the increased peace, now is an
opportune time for more countries to invest in the reconstruction
of Darfur.

4. (SBU) Siddiq called China a "serious partner" with Sudan, as
well as to much of Africa, and said that most development projects
in Sudan are Chinese. He told the senators that China is neutral,
yet supportive, of implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA). Siddiq added that China demonstrates respect and
does not attempt to impose conditions upon Sudan.

5. (SBU) Senator Durbin asked about future water rights if Southern
Sudan votes in favor of secession in 2011. Siddiq stressed the
need to address water rights in a consensus manner. He opined that
it will be possible for North and South Sudan to reach an agreement
but will be held for discussion along with other post-referendum
issues. With regard to Egypt, Siddiq said they are taking 84
percent of the Nile River and Sudan would like to re-negotiate
those terms.

----------------------------------------

UN CHIEFS IN SUDAN CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC

----------------------------------------

KHARTOUM 00000302 002 OF 002


6. (SBU) On February 18, Senators Durbin and Brown met in Khartoum
with senior officials from the two UN peacekeeping missions in
Sudan. Acting Special Representative for the Secretary General
(A/SRSG) to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Jasbir Lidder noted an
"air of cautious optimism" pervading the country prior to the first
national elections in 20 years. Lidder said he believed that the
elections will proceed peacefully despite an acrimonious political
atmosphere and media restrictions, because the primary
disagreements surrounding the elections are political in nature,
and can be resolved by Sudan's major parties through political
means. Lidder remains concerned, however, that an independent
Southern Sudan would not be viable should voters in the south
choose independence in the planned 2011 referendum. "The governing
structures in the south are not stable, and the government offers
no services, and no governing procedures," he noted. Criticizing
the Government of Southern Sudan, A/SRSG Lidder said that the
south's main political players so obsessed with internal "mirco"
issues, that they ignore the external "macro" issues such as
corruption, development and political sophistication.

7. (SBU) Newly-arrived Joint Special Representative (JSR) of the
UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Ibrahim Gambari
acknowledged that his mission faces an uphill struggle in the
war-torn western region of Sudan, but announced confidently that he
had arrived in Sudan to fulfill his instructions to "make it work."
Gambari outlined his four priorities for his tenure in El Fasher
for the senators. First, he expects UNAMID to become more
proactive in issues surrounding the Darfur peace process,
post-conflict recovery, and internal economic development. Second,
he will insist that UNAMID peacekeepers interpret their mandate
more robustly, adding, "We need to defend ourselves," particularly
in the wake of an attack on February 16 against a UNAMID police
patrol in South Darfur. Third, Gambari intends to look separately
at the issue of Darfur's internally displaced persons (IDP) camps,
to identify ways for IDPs to transition to constructing viable
communities. Fourth, Gambari sees UNAMID's role in improving
Chad-Sudan relations as key to bringing about an end to the long
conflict, and said UNAMID will also work to minimize the unintended
consequences of the fighting. Gambari was somewhat more
pessimistic than his UNMIS counterpart on the issue of elections in
Darfur, warning that Sudan's two main parties would use their
political monopolies to crowd out opposition voices, especially in
Darfur, where the NCP has a political hegemony over all other
parties.

8. (SBU) Senators Durbin and Brown did not clear this cable prior
to their departure.
WHITEHEAD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>