US embassy cable - 05NDJAMENA22

SIXTH JOINT COMMISSION MEETING: REBEL MOVEMENTS REJECT CONCLUSIONS

Identifier: 05NDJAMENA22
Wikileaks: View 05NDJAMENA22 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ndjamena
Created: 2005-01-07 10:05:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PREF PHUM CD SU Darfur Policy and Rebels
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


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FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0715
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
DARFUR COLLECTIVE
USMISSION GENEVA 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
COMSCEUR LONDON UK
SECDEF WASHDC
USEU BRUSSELS
USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
USLO TRIPOLI 
C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000022 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICAWATCHERS, GENEVA FOR RMA, 
ADDIS/KAMPALA/NAIROBI FOR REFCOORDS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2015 
TAGS: PREL, PREF, PHUM, CD, SU, Darfur Policy and Rebels 
SUBJECT: SIXTH JOINT COMMISSION MEETING: REBEL MOVEMENTS 
REJECT CONCLUSIONS 
 
REF: KHARTOUM 1746 
 
Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Kathleen FitzGibbon for reaso 
ns 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
 1.  (C) Summary.  The Sixth Session of the Joint Commission 
on the Darfur Humanitarian Cease-fire (JC) was unable to 
break through the impasse over the Government of Sudan's 
(GOS) offensive operations in December.  The mediation team 
and international community failed to persuade the movements 
to re-engage in the process.  The movements insist that the 
GOS withdraw to its pre-December 8 positions and were angry 
over reports of the GOS attack at Mellit on January 3.  They 
rejected the Chairman's conclusions, walking out before they 
were read.  The AU and JC expects to hold a meeting with the 
parties sometime over the next two weeks, perhaps in Addis 
Ababa.  Finally, we suspect that the French Ambassador in 
Chad is using his position representing the European Union 
(EU) to advance the interests of the Chadian Government and 
the National Movement for Reform and Development (NMRD).  End 
Summary. 
 
- - - - - - - 
PARTICIPANTS 
- - - - - - - 
 
2. (U) General Mahamat Ali Abdullah chaired the sixth session 
of the Joint Commission on the Darfur Humanitarian Cease-fire 
which was held from January 3 to 4 in N'Djamena.  Charge 
d'Affairs Casebeer, P/E Officer, and DATT represented the 
U.S.  The African Union was represented by Sam Ibok and 
Boubou Niang.  The Chad Mediation team included Allam-mi 
Ahmad, General Khamis Ouardougou, and Ambassador Mahamat 
Habib Doutoum.  The Government of Sudan's delegation included 
General Mahamad Ahmed Mustapha Eldabi and Esmat Zain Alabdeen 
and Sudan's Ambassador to Chad Osman M.O. Dirar.  The 
European Union was represented by France's Ambassador to Chad 
Jean-Pierre Bercot.  Ezzedine Choukri-Fisher and Taye-Brook 
Zerihoun represented the United Nations.  Jaed A.A. 
Alhoudere, Libya's Ambassador to Chad, and the Nigerian 
Ambassador to Chad M.K.Y. Argungu also attended.  The Sudan 
Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) was represented by Adam 
Shogar and Jamal-Abdulrahman Arbab.  Ahmed Lissan Tugod spoke 
for the Movement for Justice and Equality (JEM).  JEM's other 
representative to the JC, Talgedin Niam, is in Libya. 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
MOVEMENTS NOT BUDGING ON GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWAL 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
3.  (C)  From the outset of the meeting, the Movements did 
not want to participate unless the Government withdrew from 
the positions it occupied during its offensive in December. 
However, Movement representatives Shogar and Tugod told P/E 
officer that they came to the meeting out of respect for JC 
Chairman Ali.  The movements insisted that the JC deal with 
the conclusions of the fifth session of the JC held in Abuja 
that called for the immediate cessation of the Government 
offensive and withdrawal of its troops to pre-December 8 
troop positions.  In addition, the Movements raised the 
military action at Mellit that had just commenced at the 
beginning of the JC meeting.  The Movements did not agree to 
the agenda, which had changed from the one distributed with 
the invitation to the meeting.  (Comment: The changed agenda 
was actually an improvement to the first one.  The AU and 
international community persuaded Ali to drop the agenda item 
pertaining to the Libyan proposal for a committee to verify 
the parties' military positions on the ground.  Instead, the 
CFC will veryify pre-December 8 positions.  End Comment.) 
 
- - - - - - - - - - 
GOVERNMENT OF SUDAN 
- - - - - - - - - - 
 
4.  (C) General Mahamad Ahmed Mustapha Eldabi, leader of the 
Government of Sudan's delegation, said that the GOS has 
stopped fighting but is not withdrawing.  The GOS refused to 
allow the conclusions of the fifth session to be discussed 
before the conclusions of the fourth session, which included 
recommendations which the movements had not yet fulfilled. 
The GOS also challenged the rebel movements to declare their 
April 8 positions to the JC.  Aside from these issues, the 
 
 
GOS agreed to the JC's procedures and findings in an effort 
to look more cooperative than the Movements.  This included 
accepting the Chairman's conclusions which were critical of 
the GOS.  It also presented two papers entitled "Positive 
Results of the Recent GOS Foperations for Public Security and 
Humanitarian Situation" and "GOS Proposals for Strengthening 
the JC". 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
FUTILE ATTEMPTS TO END THE IMPASSE 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
5.  (C)  AU, Chad mediation team, and international community 
attempted to amend the agenda to allow both sides to talk 
about whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, hoping that 
the conclusions of the fourth and fifth sessions would 
eventually be covered.  For a number of hours, both sides 
traded accusations.  The JEM angrily presented a GOS letter 
dated December 13 which explained the offensive military 
operations to the CFC and notified rebel movements to move 
out of occupied areas within four hours.  The SLM/A and JEM 
continued to insist that the GOS declare whether or not its 
forces have withdrawn to pre-December 8 positions. 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
CEASE-FIRE COMMISSION CHAIRMAN'S REPORT 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
6.  (C)  The report of Cease-fire Commission Chairman Festus 
Okonkwo confirmed that the Government had not withdrawn. 
Okonkwo said that the GOS had given maps of its positions to 
the CFC.  He told us privately, however, that the GOS noted 
on its maps that the rebels only held four positions.  This, 
according to Okonkwo, is not true.  The rebel movements 
pulled back during the offensive to avoid loss of life. 
Civilians bore the brunt of the Sudanese operations.  Okonkwo 
reported that since December 17, Darfur had remained 
relatively quiet.  A notable exception was an NMRD attack on 
a GOS firewood party on December 24, 2004.  The NMRD abducted 
one soldier and seized a GOS vehichle; both were released 
later. 
 
7.  (C) Okonkwo also told the JC that the failure of the 
movements to give the CFC their positions is seriously 
hindering his work.  He added that the deployment of 
additional monitors and protection forces and the 
verification of positions will be delayed without this 
information. 
 
8.  (C) The CFC reported that the GOS had responded to the 
list of prisoners given by the Movements.  The GOS claims 
that the persons on the list are accused of criminal activity 
and are not prisoners of war.  According to the GOS, 27 
persons are accused in the March 2003 coup attempt, 29 
persons are accused in the September 2004 coup attempts, 25 
persons are accused of forming cells to undermine the 
constitution, 10 were released from September to December 
2004 for lack of evidence, and fifteen persons on the list 
are not being detained by the Government. The Movements have 
not responded to the Government's list of "hundreds" of 
prisoners of war. The Movements told us, but not the JC, that 
they were working on it. 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - 
CHAIRMAN'S CONCLUSIONS 
- - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
9.  (SBU)  Chairman Ali noted that the CFC cannot discharge 
its mandate due to the parties' failure to respect the 
decisions of the fourth and fifth JC sessions.  He stated the 
GOS needs to withdraw without delay to its pre-December 8 
positions, in particular from Marla, Ishma, and Labado.  The 
movements were requested not to occupy positions evacuated by 
the Government.  The CFC would verify the situation. 
(Comment: AU rep Ibok changed April 8 to December 8 in the 
first draft of Ali's conclusions.  End Comment.)  The JC 
asked the GOS should disarm the jandjaweed without delay. 
The movements must give their positions to the CFC and 
respond to the GOS list of prisoners of war.  Earlier in the 
meeting, but not in the conclusions, Ali indicated that the 
GOS should release the prisoners the movements listed, 
regardless of the "criminal offenses" with which they are 
 
 
charged. 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - 
STATUS OF AU DEPLOYMENT 
- - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
10.  (C) As of January 3, Deputy Force Commander BG Jean 
Bosco Kazura and the Gambian Protection Force members arrived 
in Sudan.  According to Okonkwo, there are now 1059 personnel 
comprising 244 military observers, 789 Protection Force 
Members, eleven Cease-fire Commission members, nine 
international support staff and six civilian policemen.  The 
Protection Force members include: 201 Nigerians, 392 
Rwandans, and 196 Gambians.  There are seventeen AU military 
observers in Abeche, Chad. 
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FRENCH ROLE 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
11.  (C) France's Ambassador to Chad Jean-Pierre Bercot, who 
is representing the EU, raised the issue of the NMRD in the 
opening round of discussion between the Chad mediation team, 
the African Union, and the international community.  Bercot 
asked whether or not the NMRD will be included in the peace 
process.  He wanted to know if the other rebel movements had 
been "vacuumed" up by the NMRD  Finally,  he asked if there 
had been any commission contact with the parties since Abuja 
to determine if progress can be made in the peace process. 
 
12.  (C)  Chairman Ali explained that the issue of including 
the NMRD in the Abuja process had been raised previously and 
the JEM had threatened to walk out if NMRD was included.  Ali 
said that the NMRD wants to be part of the process. However, 
Chad as mediator, cannot insist on it.  It is up to the AU 
and other members of the process to decide.  Ali told Bercot 
that the situation on the ground is not clear and that the 
AU's CFC is best-placed to answer that question.  Allam-mi 
Ahmad, Special Advisor to President Deby for International 
Relations and member of the Chad Mediation Team, said that 
the NMRD was not included because of questions about its 
legitimacy from the international community and AU.  He said 
that he hoped that a comprehensive agreement would eventually 
be reached that includes all Darfurian parties.  He warned 
that if the process with the SLM/A and JEM reaches an 
impasse, then the issue of which parties are included in the 
talks should be revisited. 
 
13.  (C) The AU's Sam Ibok and Chairman Ali said the NMRD is 
not part of the Abuja process, but that the Cease-fire 
Commission is talking with them.  Bercot persisted, saying 
that the European Union needed to know if the NMRD will be 
recognized as a party.  If not, Bercot queried, is the NMRD 
an interlocutor in the process?   Ibok told Bercot that the 
AU has many peace processes where not all the parties are 
involved directly, but are consulted.  During the second day 
of talks, Bercot rushed into the room with an "important" 
message for Ali.  At that time, rebel representatives 
observed Allam-mi giving Bercot a copy of the Chairman's 
conclusions hours before the meeting ended and well before 
any of the parties saw them.  This action heightened the 
movement's suspicions of the intentions of the French and of 
the JC procedures.  For the second time, it appeared the 
chairman's conclusions were written before the end of the 
meeting. 
 
- - - - - - 
WHAT'S NEXT 
- - - - - - 
 
14.  (C)  The AU was discouraged by the inflexibility of both 
parties.  Ibok expressed his frustration several times during 
the meeting and suggested waiting until early February to 
begin the next round of talks.  Shogar and Tugod held a 
marathon meeting with JC Chairman Ali and Daoussa Deby, 
President Idriss Deby's brother, on January 5.  The outcome 
of that meeting was the possibility of holding another 
JC-like meeting in another two weeks.  This could occur in 
Addis Ababa.  During the JC, the Chad Mediation team passed 
out a draft terms of reference paper for the establishment of 
the Joint Humanitarian Facilitation and Monitoring Unit 
(JHFM) to be headquartered in El Fasher.  This draft will be 
 
 
considered at the next JC.  (Note: A copy of this document 
and the Chairman's conclusions were scanned to AF/SPG and 
Embassy Khartoum.  End Note.)  In the absence of AU personnel 
in N'Djamena, P/E officer assisted in making arrangements for 
eight members of the movements, who have been stranded in 
Chad since December 22, to leave for El Fasher on January 6. 
 
- - - - 
COMMENT 
- - - - 
 
15. (C)  No progress was made at this JC. The movements are 
losing faith in the AU's ability to enforce the JC's 
conclusions and remain suspicious of the JC procedures.  We 
are working with the AU and Ali on improving communications 
over procedural issues prior to the JC meetings in order to 
avoid arguing over the agenda for two days.  We also warned 
the movements that "preconditions" and the appearance of 
inflexiblity is playing into the hands of those who do not 
want the process to move forward and propose the NMRD as an 
alternative.  The GOS delegation seems confident in its 
ability to take actions without consequences for the peace 
process.  We are concerned that the French Ambassador's 
remarks about the NMRD may not reflect the EU position on the 
NMRD. 
 
16.  (U) Khartoum and Tripoli Minimize Considered. 
CASEBEER 
 
 
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