US embassy cable - 05NDJAMENA60

SENATOR FEINGOLD GETS AN EARFUL ON DARFUR IN CHAD

Identifier: 05NDJAMENA60
Wikileaks: View 05NDJAMENA60 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ndjamena
Created: 2005-01-18 06:57:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PHUM PREF CD SU Darfur Policy and Rebels Humanitarian Operations
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.

180657Z Jan 05

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FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0773
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
DARFUR COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY ABUJA 
AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 
AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 
AMEMBASSY ASMARA 
AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 
AMEMBASSY BERLIN 
AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 
AMEMBASSY CAIRO 
AMEMBASSY DAKAR 
AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 
AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 
AMEMBASSY KIGALI 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 
AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 
AMEMBASSY OSLO 
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 
AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 
AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 
CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
SECDEF WASHDC
USEU BRUSSELS
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
USLO TRIPOLI 
USMISSION GENEVA 
C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000060 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR D, P, DRL, INR, AF, AF/C, AF/SPG, PRM, 
USAID/OTI; LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICAWATCHERS; GENEVA FOR 
CAMPBELL, ADDIS/NAIROBI/KAMPALA FOR REFCOORDS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2015 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PREF, CD, SU, Darfur Policy and Rebels, Humanitarian Operations 
SUBJECT: SENATOR FEINGOLD GETS AN EARFUL ON DARFUR IN CHAD 
 
 
Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Kathleen FitzGibbon for reaso 
ns 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary: Senator Russell Feingold heard a number of 
perspectives on Darfur-related issues during his visit to 
Chad January 12-13.  Feingold met with Sudanese refugees at 
Iridimi Refugee camp, held discussions with Foreign Minister 
Yamassoum and the Chad mediation team over the status of the 
Darfur cease-fire and Abuja negotiations, and met with 
N,Djamena-based Sudanese rebel leaders.   The Chadian 
mediation team and the Sudanese rebel movements 
representatives expressed frustration with the African 
Union's inability to enforce compliance with the cease-fire 
agreement and identify a high-level negotiator to get the 
peace talks on track.  Meanwhile, the Chadians proposed that 
the U.S. and Chad join forces to impose peace in Darfur. 
Finally, Chadian Foreign Minister Yamassoum told Feingold 
that there are other issues for joint cooperation besides 
Darfur and pushed for President Deby to receive an invitation 
to visit Washington.  End Summary. 
 
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IRIDIMI REFUGEE CAMP 
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2.  (U)  At Iridimi Refugee Camp, Feingold was impressed by 
the efforts of UNHCR and its partners to provide 
infrastructure and services to the 17,000 Sudanese refugees 
in the camp.  During a tour of the camp, Feingold met with 
the women,s refugee committee and community center.  There 
he saw examples of new income-generating programs for women. 
He also witnessed the food distribution during the 
supplemental feeding program.  Malnutrition rates have 
dropped as the result of these programs and as camp life has 
stabilized.  The President of the High Council of Refugee 
Leaders at the camp told Feingold that attacks against 
civilians continued in Darfur and that the refugees would not 
return until security is restored.  He also urged the Senator 
not to forget Darufr in the wake of the tsunami disaster in 
South and Southeast Asia.  Female refugees told Feingold that 
they appreciate the female Chadian gendarmes assigned to each 
camp.  There have been attacks by local residents on women 
and young girls searching for firewood in the Iriba area. 
Finally, Feingold and Ambassador Wall presented the refugees 
with a small book donation from a junior high school in Ohio. 
 
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DARFUR NOT ONLY ISSUE FOR US-CHADIAN COOPERATION 
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3.  (C) On January 12, Feingold enjoyed a lively dinner event 
with Foreign Minister Nagoum Yamassoum; Chairman of the Joint 
Commission General Mahamat Ali Abdullah; JC member and 
Special Advisor to President Deby for International Relations 
Ahmat Allam-mi; and Daoussa Deby, the President,s 
half-brother, head of Chad,s road parastatal, and trusted 
go-between with the Sudan rebel movements.  FM Yamassoum, who 
 
was flown back from the AU,s Peace and Security Council 
meeting by President Omar Bongo for the dinner with Feingold, 
led several provocative discussions which ranged from the 
controversy over the similarity of the flags of Chad and 
Romania, the lack of an invitation for President Deby to 
Washington, his view that the U.S. influence in the world is 
stretched, and Chad,s views on the African Union,s 
inability to resolve Darfur. 
 
4.  (C) Yamassoum asked Feingold why President Deby has not 
received an invitation to the White House.  He lamented that 
Chad and the U.S. have a long-standing friendship and used an 
analogy that it is odd that one long-time friend has not 
invited the other to their house.  Yamassoum stated that this 
issue is problematic and could jeopardize a good 
relationship. Feingold told Yamassoum that he (Feingold) has 
not been invited to the White House by this Administration 
either despite being re-elected and sharing areas of mutual 
interest or cooperation with some Republican Senators.  He 
promised to raise the issue in Washington.  Nonetheless, 
Yamassoum was unrelenting throughout the evening on this 
issue.  He pointed out that the U.S. has invited many 
undemocratic African leaders to Washington, such as Kabila. 
Meanwhile, according to Yamassoum, Deby has been 
democratically-elected twice and has not been received in 
Washington.  At one point during dinner, Yamassoum said that 
he rejects insinuations that Chad is not a democracy.  Chad 
has a very free press, private radio stations, and Chadians 
enjoy a great deal of freedom, he argued. 
 
5. (C) Yamassoum, in rare form, also repeatedly told 
Feingold, that Darfur is not the only area of cooperation 
between Chad and the United States.  He pointed out close 
military cooperation, counter-terrorism efforts, and the 
potential for joint-diplomatic efforts in other parts of 
Africa, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central 
African Republic.  His statement that India could replace the 
U.S. as a donor to other countries provoked debate. 
 
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CHADIAN MEDIATORS ON DARFUR 
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6.  (C) On Darfur, Ali and Allam-mi raised several issues, 
but focused on the inability of the African Union to control 
the Darfur Peace Talks.  Both complained that the AU,s use 
of low-level functionaries to manage the discussions has 
contributed to the current impasse.  They claim that they are 
the highest level diplomats participating in an ongoing, 
routine basis in the peace process.  The AU needs to appoint 
an African leader with clout to force the parties to take the 
AU and the talks seriously.  In the absence of a change in AU 
attitude and leadership on the issue, both Ali and Allam-mi 
argued that the U.S. and Chad should team up and give the 
process the leadership it needs.  Besides Sudan, Chadians are 
suffering the most of the consequences of the on-going 
conflict.  Chad is the only actor with a strong interest in 
 
resolving the situation, they argued.  Chad lacks the 
firepower to impose a solution itself, but could do so if the 
United States and Chad joined forces and took leadership of 
the process. 
 
7.  (C) Feingold asked the team about the status of the 
current peace process.  Allam-mi explained that the talks 
remain stalled because of the Government of Sudan,s military 
offensive.  The rebel movements refuse to participate until 
the GOS withdraws to its December 8 positions.  Meanwhile, 
the GOS refuses to stop its operations and withdraw, as 
required by the Joint Commission. 
 
8.  (C) Ali described the leadership of the rebel movements 
as being out-of-touch with the plight of Darfurians on the 
ground.  He remarked that many of the movement leaders living 
in European capitals and hotels around the world, with little 
connection to the human suffering taking place.  He wondered 
if the leadership of the Sudan Liberation Movement and the 
Justice and Equality Movement represented any Darfurian 
constituency. 
 
9.  (C) Yamassoum, Ali, and Allam-mi agreed that it is 
critical to implement the Naivasha agreement and continue the 
Abuja peace process on Darfur.  However, they pointed out 
that even if Abuja can succeed in eventually getting a 
working cease-fire, a more global solution to the issues in 
Darfur will be needed.  This solution must involve 
traditional leaders, Sudanese refugees living in Chad, and 
other members of civil society, not just the SLM and JEM. 
Daoussa Deby echoed the need for a long-term settlement, but 
pointed out that the Darfur crisis is taking a huge toll on 
the local Chadian populations hosting the refugees.  In 
addition to assistance, they need a resolution to Darfur as 
well. 
 
10. (C) Feingold agreed that more focus is needed at the 
highest levels on Darfur.  He told the Chadians that he and 
other members of the Congress have proposed a Special Envoy 
for Darfur, who would play the same role as former Senator 
John Danforth did.  He stated that one way for the U.S. to 
demonstrate the urgency and importance of resolving Darfur 
would be the appointment of a prominent American to lead U.S. 
efforts.  The Chad mediators welcomed this suggestion. 
 
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REBEL MOVEMENTS FOCUS ON GOS ACTIONS 
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11.  (C) The Sudanese rebel movements focused on the on-going 
GOS military offensive during their meeting with Feingold on 
January 13.  Adam Shogar and Jamal Arbab Abderahman of the 
SLM and Ahmed Lissan Tugod and Talgedin Niam of the JEM told 
Feingold that they will not return to the negotiations until 
the GOS returns to its December 8 positions.  They also 
expressed their frustrations with the AU,s inability to 
enforce compliance with the agreements.  The AU is too young 
 
and inexperienced to resolve Darfur.  Lissan said that the AU 
CFC,s current strength of 700 protection force embers is too 
small to patrol an area the size of France.  In addition, the 
AU CFC does not have the mandate to protect civilians.  Niam 
told Feingold that the GOS operations are forcing the rebel 
movements to violate the cease-fire.  Feingold raised the 
SLM,s attacks on humanitarian workers.  Shogar initially 
responded that these attacks were the work of renegade 
troops.  He then said that there are a lot of violations 
being committed by GOS associates and made to look like rebel 
attacks.  Nonetheless, Feingold said, the U.S. loses sympathy 
when attacks on civilians, particularly humanitarian workers 
helping Darfurians, occur. 
 
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COMMENT 
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12. (C) Feingold,s visit to Chad once again underscored U.S. 
high-level interest in the Darfur crisis and in moving the 
peace process toward resolution.  He was treated to some 
recurring themes: Chad,s frustration with the lack of 
progress on the implementation of the cease-fire, the deep 
impact of the crisis on local Chadian populations, and 
disillusionment with the AU,s capacity to control the peace 
process and the rebel movements, ability to represent 
Darfurians.  Feingold aptly raised and discussed sensitive 
issues with our interlocutors, who sometimes responded with 
unvarnished opinions.  On Darfur, the Chadians appeared 
pleased with the idea of a Special Envoy, but continue to 
press for leadership of the flailing peace process. 
Yamassoum,s preoccupation with a Washington visit for 
President Deby was the first time we have dealt with the 
issue so openly. 
 
13.  (U) Khartoum and Tripoli Minimize Considered. 
WALL 
 
 
NNNN 

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