US embassy cable - 05NDJAMENA262


Identifier: 05NDJAMENA262
Wikileaks: View 05NDJAMENA262 at
Origin: Embassy Ndjamena
Created: 2005-02-20 12:00:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PHUM PREF KAWC 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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C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000262 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/19/2014 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PREF, KAWC, CD, SU, Darfur Policy and Rebels 
Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Kathleen FitzGibbon for reaso 
ns 1.4 (b) and (d). 
1.  (C) Summary:  President Idriss Deby and African Union 
Commission President Alpha Konare opened the well-attended 
seventh Joint Commission on the Darfur Humanitarian Ceasefire 
(JC) on February 16.  Despite an announced "boycott" of the 
meeting by leaders of the rebel movements, the Sudan 
Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality 
Movement (JEM) were ably represented.  The movements 
negotiated a delinking of the JC from the N'Djamena Summit on 
Darfur and obtained the commitment of the GOS to withdraw 
from two key areas within two weeks.  The African Union's 
Ceasefire Commission Chairman criticized the GOS's 
disarmament plan because it did not target the jandjaweed. 
The ambiguous concept of a team to verify the locations of 
the parties surprisingly won support, for now.  The JC ended 
on a positive note in sharp contrast to the previous two 
meetings, where either side walked out or disputed the 
Chairman's conclusions.  Finally, SLM/A leader Mini Minawi 
will be meeting with President Deby in Chad in approximately 
two weeks.  End Summary. 
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2.  (U) Held on the heels of the N'Djamena Summit (reftel) 
and billed as a high-level meeting, most delegations had 
enhanced representation.  President Idriss Deby and African 
Union Commission President Alpha Konare attended the opening 
session on February 16.  The meeting was chaired by JC 
President Mahamat Ali.  Ambassador Sam Ibok headed the 
African Union delegation.  The Secretary General's Special 
Representative Jan Pronk led the United Nations group. 
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Tidjani spoke for the 
GOS.  The U.S. delegation consisted of Ambassador Wall, 
Ambassador John Yates (retired), and P/E officer. 
3.  (C) Adam Shogar and Jamal Abdulrhman-Arbab (SLM/A) and 
Mohammed Saleh (JEM) broke ranks with the Asmara-based 
leadership's boycott of the meeting.  On February 12 and 13, 
P/E officer received several calls from JEM's JC 
representatives Ahmed Lissan Tugod from Asmara and Talgedin 
Niam from Dubai saying that the movements would not attend 
the JC because they were not adequately consulted prior about 
the meeting, its agenda, and its relationship to the summit. 
Moreover, Tugod and Niam both said there was a plan afoot to 
include the National Movement for Democracy and Reform (NMRD) 
in the meeting.  (Comment: They were correct; National 
Security Agency chief Chaibo and Minister for Public Security 
Abderahman Moussa invited the NMRD, according to NMRD leader 
Norain Minawi.  JC President Ali and President Deby's 
half-brother Daoussa Deby ousted the NMRD from the room. End 
Comment.)  Shogar and Saleh were convinced to participate by 
arguments that the movements cannot gain anything by 
boycotting; the only way to obtain their goals is to make 
demands from within the process, not from outside. 
- - - - - - - - 
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4.  (C) On February 16, President Idriss Deby urged the 
Sudanese parties to respect their commitments.  He stated 
that nine months after the signing of the ceasefire, the 
situation on the ground was worse in Darfur.  He welcomed 
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir's pledges made during the 
heads of state meeting.  (Comment: These commitments were 
never publicly disclosed before the JC.  End Comment.) He 
also urged the rebel movements to respect the ceasefire.  He 
noted that the time had come to know the exact locations of 
the parties to devise a separation plan for the various 
forces and a disarmament plan for the jandjaweed.  As a 
result, the President of the Joint Commission would be 
sending of a verification mission to Darfur soon, Deby said. 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
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5.  (C) African Union Ceasefire Commission Chairman (CFC) MG 
Festus Okonkwo described an escalation of ceasefire 
violations, primarily by the Government of Sudan and 
jandjaweeed, over the past month.  He attributed the upsurge 
in militia attacks on civilians as attention-getting behavior 
as well as the result of uncertainty over the inconclusive 
peace talks in Abuja.  Many incidents involved armed groups 
that are not party to the ceasefire, but a major source of 
the attacks were the jandjaweed with GOS support.  In 
addition, Okonkwo lamented the five unprovoked attacks on the 
AU Mission to Sudan (AMIS), which he described as deliberate 
attempts to truncate AU operations.  Okonkwo said the GOS's 
attempt to prevent SLM/A and JEM members returning from Abuja 
peace talks from flying through El-Fasher Airport on January 
10 as an action that will hamper future peace talks if not 
6.  (C) Okonkwo described the AU takeover of Labado from the 
GOS and the CFC patrolling of major highways as major 
achievements.  Okonkwo confirmed that the GOS gave the CFC 
the location of their forces, but that the rebel movements 
have given AMIS a number of conditions.  These include the 
suspension of GOS aerial reconnaissance and bombardment, 
guarantees that the GOS will not use jandjaweed to attack 
their positions, the declaration of a no-fly zone in Darfur, 
a clear plan to disarm the jandjaweed, patrols of major roads 
by the CFC, the provision of jandjaweed positions, and the 
identification of SLA's own positions at the beginning of the 
mission.  (Comment: Okonkwo privately expressed surprise at 
the SLA's request.  End Comment.) 
7.  (U) As of January 10, 2005, the AU Mission in Sudan is 
made up 1853 personnel, including 378 military observers, 
1403 protection force members, 20 Ceasefire Commission 
Members and International Support Staff, and 52 civilian 
police officers. 
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8.  (C) Okonkwo welcomed the Government of Sudan's (GOS) 
disarmament plan for the jandjaweed, but questioned its 
workability, the GOS's seriousness, and recommended that it 
be rewritten.  Okonkwo's key criticism was that the plan does 
not disarm the jandjaweed.  The GOS plan outlined four groups 
to be disarmed: armed tribal militias, armed robbery gangs, 
rebel groups, and ribat groups.  The jandjaweed were 
categorized under the armed robbery groups and described them 
as individuals from different tribes, both Arab and non-Arab. 
 Okonkwo said that this categorization was a "deliberate 
deviation" from the specified target group in all of the 
signed agreements, the jandjaweed.  The GOS plans to disarm 
the armed robbery gangs by erecting road barriers on all 
roads.  Okonkwo said that this should not be part of a 
disarmament plan and should be handled by the police. 
Okonkwo also pointed out that disarming the rebel groups is 
not the GOS's responsibility.  The plan for the tribal 
militias is to take a census of their weapons and the tribes 
will commit to use these weapons only in self-defense, which 
Okonkwo also criticized. 
9.  (C) In addition to not addressing the jandjaweed, Okonkwo 
said the plan lacked elements of a public information or 
civic education program, did not outline procedures for 
disarmament, such as the timing, methodology, disposal of the 
weapons; did not include procedures for verification and 
monitoring of the process or expertise and technical 
requirements, failed to address broader weapons management 
issues, and lacked an incentive package. 
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10.  (C) The withdrawal of GOS forces from pre-December 8 
positions and the delinking of any of the JC's conclusions 
from the previous day's N'Djamena Summit on Darfur dominated 
the 12-hour discussion.  At one point, after receiving the 
draft text of the conclusions of the meeting with 
instructions from JC President Ali to accept it on a 
take-it-leave-it basis, the representatives of the movements 
threatened to leave the meeting without an agreed document. 
Most other delegations encouraged them to present their 
objections and explore ways to address them in a revised 
11.  (C) In the end, two key outcomes were achieved.  The 
first was the GOS's commitment to remove its forces from 
Marla, Graida, and Ishma within two weeks.  The CFC agreed 
that it would take over those areas.  The movements were 
again called upon to provide their locations to the CFC. 
12.  (C) The second important development was the decision to 
send a JC team to work with the CFC to verify the locations 
of the parties.  The U.S. delegation raised concerns, which 
were shared by the AU and MG Okonkwo about the ambiguous 
verification mission.  It will be chaired by JC President 
Gen. Ali but no details have been shared with the parties or 
the international partners.  While the movements accepted 
this mission in the meeting, AU Special Representative Sam 
Ibok said that there will be considerable controversy over 
the idea once it becomes more concrete. 
13.  (C) The GOS delegation, adeptly-led by Minister of State 
Tidjani, cleared the way for acceptance of the Chairman's 
conclusions, which were blocked when the Libyan delegation 
insisted that a reference from the summit's communique that 
called on the international community to refrain from 
deploying non-African troops to Darfur remain in the 
conclusions.  The rebel movements insisted the reference be 
deleted.  Tidjani acquiesced, deferring to the AU, and the 
reference was dropped. 
- - - - - - 
- - - - - - 
14.  (C) The AU is aiming to restart the peace talks in Abuja 
in mid-March if conditions on the ground permit, according to 
Ibok.  Representatives of SLA/M and JEM remain skeptical and 
noted that on February 18 that Doma was under attack by 
jandjaweed and GOS forces. 
15.  (C) On the movement front, SLM/A leader Mini Minawi 
called P/E officer on February 19 to say that Daoussa Deby 
was arranging for him to come to Chad and meet with President 
Deby.  (Comment: This is a major development, considering 
Mini's deep distrust of President Deby and frequent 
statements that he is afraid to N'Djamena.  He asked for U.S. 
assurances for his safe passage.  End Comment.) Mini said 
that he will be preceded by several groups of field 
commanders and expects to be in Chad within about two weeks 
time.  He will travel from Libya to N'Djamena by air.  Mini 
also said SLM/A is planning a leadership conference in Darfur 
after his meeting in Chad.  When P/E officer asked him if 
SLM/A would stand by the JC session's conclusions, he replied 
that it would, but that he doubted the GOS would. 
16.  (C) The European Union told the international partners 
that it is willing to support a meeting for the rebel 
movements to organize themselves and clarify their leadership 
issues.  In addition, the E.U. would like Sudanese 
Vice-President Taha and SPLM leader John Garang to speak to 
the movements about the process of negotiating peace and 
outline for them the key features of the Naivasha Agreement. 
SLM/A's Adam Shogar has asked for such a meeting on several 
occasions.  He also said that once each movement has its 
house in order then the two movements would like to meet 
together to discuss a merger or at the minimum, a common 
front.  The E.U. proposal met a lukewarm response because the 
U.N., France, and the AU claimed it would take too much time 
to organize and delay the restarting of the talks. 
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17.  (C) We were pleased that the representatives of the 
rebel movements agreed to participate in the meeting.  Their 
confidence grew as they were able to amend the agenda to 
start off with the CFC report. This enabled the meeting to 
avoid the usual downward spiral of finger-pointing and 
denials about the situation on the ground.  Even the Chad 
mediation team, while not happy about the delinking of the JC 
from the previous day's summit, praised the movement's 
negotiating skills.  Most of the participants left the 
meeting more hopeful that the JC's tenor and concrete 
outcomes will give some momentum to the peace process.  The 
GOS's seriousness about its commitments remains the key. 
18.  (U) Khartoum and Tripoli Minimize Considered. 

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