US embassy cable - 91KHARTOUM2961

CONVERSATION WITH FORMER PM SADIQ AL MAHDI

Identifier: 91KHARTOUM2961
Wikileaks: View 91KHARTOUM2961 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Khartoum
Created: 1991-07-02 14:21:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PINR PHUM PREF ET SU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 021421Z JUL 91
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1483
INFO AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY SANAA
USMISSION GENEVA 6692
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY RIYADH
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 02961 
 
 
E.0.12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL, PINR, PHUM, PREF, ET, SU 
SUBJECT:  CONVERSATION WITH FORMER PM SADIQ AL MAHDI 
 
1. CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2. SUMMARY:  AMBASSADOR CALLED ON FORMER PRIME 
MINISTER SADIQ AL MAHDI JUNE 26.  SADIQ DESCRIBED THE 
CURRENT GOVERNMENT AS HAVING THE WORST 
CHARACTERISTICS OF DICTATORSHIP AND A COALITION 
GOVERNMENT.  THE GOS, HE SAID, IS FAILING DISMALLY 
ECONOMICALLY AND CAUSING THE PEOPLE GREAT SUFFERING. 
THE SEPTEMBER LAWS, HE DECLARED, MUST GO.  PEACE AND 
A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT CAN STOP THE SUDAN FROM BEING 
A "MAVERICK" COUNTRY.  (COMMENT:  FOR THE FUTURE, IT 
APPEARS THAT SADIQ WILL WAIT ON THE SIDELINES AS THE 
AL BASHIR GOVERNMENT CONTINUES ITS DOWNWARD ECONOMIC 
PLUNGE.  HE WILL THEN BE AVAILABLE TO PICK UP THE 
PIECES. END COMMENT) 
 
3.  AT THE INVITATION OF SADIQ AL MAHDI AMBASSADOR 
CALLED ON HIM JUNE 26.  THE ATMOSPHERE WAS 
COMFORTABLE AND THE CONVERSATION RELAXED.  DCM 
ATTENDED, SADIQ WAS NOT ACCOMPANIED. 
 
 
THE GOVERNMENT 
-------------- 
 
4. SADIQ DESCRIBED THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT AS HAVING 
THE WORST CHARACTERISTICS OF A DICTATORSHIP AND A 
COALITION GOVERNMENT.  THE GOVERNMENT, HE SAID, IS 
DIVIDED BETWEEN THE NIP UNDER HASSAN TURABI AND THE 
ARMY, THOUGH HE IMPLIED THAT THE NIF HAD THE UPPER 
HAND NOW.  HASSAN TURABI, SADIQ SAID, IS NOT A TRUE 
ISLAMIST BUT ONE WHO USED ISLAM FOR THE POLITICAL 
BENEFIT.  SADIQ COMMENTED THAT HE HAD BEEN VISITED BY 
MEMBERS OF THE NIP (ALI OSMAN TAHA AND IBRAHIM MAHDI 
AMONG OTHERS) WHO WERE INTERESTED IN SECURING HIS 
SUPPORT.  HE COMMENTED THE NIF HAD DIVISIONS AND 
TURABI WAS AWARE OF THEM. PRESIDENT AL BASHIR HAD 
ALSO VISITED HIM ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION TO DISCUSS 
POSSIBLE INVOLVEMENT/SUPPORT FOR THE GOVERNMENT, 
SADIQ SAID.  SADIQ SPOKE WELL OF THE HONESTY OF AL 
BASHIR BUT WAS LESS THAN COMPLIMENTARY REGARDING HIS 
INTELLECTUAL ABILITY. 
 
5.  SADIQ WAS VISIBLY UPSET WITH WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS 
THE GOS DISMAL ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE WHICH HE 
EMPHASIZED IS CAUSING PEOPLE GREAT SUFFERING.  HE 
ALSO CONDEMNED THE GOS FOR NOT REQUESTING 
INTERNATIONAL AID FOR THE FAMINE VICTIMS AS HE HAD 
DONE WHEN HE WAS PRIME MINISTER.  AMBASSADOR AND 
SADIQ AGREED THAT THE NIF, SPECIFICALLY HASSAN 
TURABI, OPPOSED RELIEF AID EVEN IF ITS LACK WOULD 
CAUSE THE DEATHS OF SUDANESE PEOPLE. 
 
 
PEACE 
----- 
 
6. SADIQ APPRECIATED USG PEACE EFFORTS.  HE 
ACKNOWLEDGED THAT AT TIMES PROGRESS COULD NOT BE SEEN 
BUT HE SAID THE USG MUST PERSEVERE IN THESE EFFORTS. 
IT WAS ONLY A "GREAT POWER" LIKE THE UNITED STATES 
WHICH COULD MOVE BOTH SIDES TOWARD PEACE. PEACE 
REQUIRED A PLURALISTIC, DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY WHICH 
RESPECTED HUMAN RIGHTS.  IN RESPONSE TO A QUESTION, 
SADIQ SAID THE SEPTEMBER LAWS "MUST GO".  AMBASSADOR 
PROVIDED A BRIEFING ON USG PEACE EFFORTS AND GAVE A 
COPY OF A/S COHEN'S SPEECH ON CONFLICT RESOLUTION. 
SADIQ REEMPHASIZED THAT PEACE AND A DEMOCRATIC, 
PLURALISTIC GOVERNMENT WOULD KEEP THE SUDAN FROM 
TURNING INTO A "MAVERICK COUNTRY".  PEACE WOULD ALSO 
ALLOW SUDAN TO HAVE NORMAL RELATIONS WITH ITS 
NEIGHBORS AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. 
 
7. COMMENT: SADIQ SAID MANY THINGS WHICH HE KNEW THE 
USG SUPPORTS.  HE IS IN FAVOR OF COOPERATION ON 
RELIEF, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND A PLURALISTIC DEMOCRATIC 
SOCIETY.  IN SUPPORT OF THE LATTER, IS HIS STATEMENT 
THAT THE SEPTEMBER LAWS MUST GO. 
 
8. SADIQ'S ASSERTION THAT HE IS BEING VISITED BY THE 
NIF AND OTHERS LOOKING FOR HIS SUPPORT IS TRUE. 
SADIQ IS A WILY AND UNSCRUPULOUS POLITICIAN.  HE IS 
POSITIONING HIMSELF IN THE EVENT THAT THIS GOVERNMENT 
FALLS.  ONE SHOULD NOT TAKE HIS STATEMENT ON THE 
SEPTEMBER LAWS AT FACE VALUE; HE DID NOT SAY HE 
WANTED A SECULAR STATE.  SADIQ COULD FEEL COMFORTABLE 
INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE GOVERNMENT.  HIS OPPOSITION TO 
THIS GOVERNMENT IS NOT DOCTRINE, IT IS OVER WHO HAS 
POWER. 
 
 
CHEEK 

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