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Wikileaks/US embassy cables: UN asserts itself in Darfur

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Document leaked to Wikileaks whistle-blowing website. Published by the Guardian newspaper, Friday 17 December 2010 21.30 GMT

US embassy cables: UN asserts itself in Darfur

Thursday, 11 December 2008, 05:59
C O N F I D E N T I A L KHARTOUM 001768
DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, S/E WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, IO">IO">IO/PSC
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
EO 12958 DECL: 12/07/2018
TAGS PGOV, PREL, ASEC, KPKO, UN, AU-1, SU
SUBJECT: JSR ADADA DISCUSSES CEASEFIRE, IMPORTANCE OF
ARABS, AND ROLE OF MINNAWI
REF: A. KHARTOUM 1737 B. KHARTOUM 1751
Classified By: CDA Alberto M. Fernandez, Reason: Section 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: On December 7, UNAMID’s Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada said that UNAMID continues to work on its plans for a ceasefire monitoring mechanism and asserted that UNAMID, not the UN/AU Chief Mediator, should take the lead with ceasefire plans. Adada also said that UNAMID needs to give more attention to the important role of Darfur’s Arabs. Adada expressed concern about the lack of DPA implementation, saying that the GoS’s failure to honor its agreements does little to persuade non-signatories to the negotiating table. He was also scathing about wildly inaccurate statements about loss of life in Darfur made by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. END SUMMARY.

CEASEFIRE MECHANISM

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2. (C) Adada opened the meeting saying that he had just returned from a trip to UN Headquarters in New York where he briefed Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain LeRoy, on the U.S. proposal for a Darfur Monitoring Team (DMT). Adada reported that he was surprised that Special Envoy Williamson did not raise the DMT with Le Roy in their last meeting, as Adada had prepped Le Roy on the USG proposal. Reflecting on the U.S. offer, Adada stated, "This is normally our job - but if you can help us with equipment, we would appreciate that." Once the US raises this with the UN in New York, they will respond formally.

3. (C) Adada said that UNAMID continues to draft its plan for a ceasefire mechanism. (Note: Adada did not appear to be aware that his political chief, Abdul Mohammed, had discussed UNAMID’s ceasefire mechanism in depth with us on December 2 (ref. A). End Note.) He noted that most rebels are currently against the ceasefire offer, in particular SLA/Unity, which attack GoS assets to sustain their movements. "I have talked to SLA/Unity leaders like Sharif Harir and they have told me outright, ’We attack the GoS because it is like our marketplace," said Adada. Adada noted that any successful ceasefire must incorporate non-military logistical support for the rebel movements. He stated that although it was far from perfect, the generous monthly stipend allowance provided by AMIS served as almost a form of non-military logistical support for the rebels. Adada also hinted that the GoS will likely resist any form of assistance to the rebels as "the GoS wants the rebels to cause problems for everyone and make them (i.e. the rebels) look bad." He noted that while the international community may be eager for a ceasefire, they probably won’t be ready to pay for the rebels not to fight.

4. (C) CDA Fernandez asked how the Joint Mediation Support Team (JMST) led by Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole and UNAMID were coordinating their efforts on a ceasefire. Adada responded by saying that "Bassole can speak in general terms about the need for a ceasefire, but this is our job in UNAMID to monitor violence in Darfur." Adada then stated that UNAMID Force Commander Agwai had a meeting the morning of December 7 devoted to coordination between the JMST and UNAMID on ceasefire issues. Adada then asserted that Bassole should focus his energy on the political negotiations necessary for a ceasefire, not the details of any mechanism that will monitor the agreement. CDA urged closer coordination between UNAMID and Bassole.

NEED TO ADDRESS THE ARAB TRIBES

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5. (C) Unprompted, Adada then asked about the place of Darfur’s Arabs, asking: "No one is taking care of them; what should we do about Darfur’s Arabs?" Adada said that the Arab tribes are essential for the stability of Darfur, and provided an example of how Arabs, loosely integrated into GoS security forces, attacked GoS assets in the spring of 2008. He said it is important to differentiate between the Arab tribes and the janjaweed, and admitted that UNAMID has not done enough outreach to the Arab tribes. CDA Fernandez agreed with Adada and noted that it is important to encourage Darfur’s Arabs to take a position independent from the GoS. He noted that the U.S. (at least the US Embassy in Khartoum) has attempted to reach out to a broad spectrum of Arab leaders (e.g. ref. B), and said that successful USAID programming in Arab areas in Darfur (such as Ad-Daien) should be expanded. Adada agreed with CDA Fernandez that the GoS has very weak control in Darfur, and that it uses the Arab tribes to rule the region.

IMPORTANCE AND COMPLEXITY OF SLM/MM’S ROLE

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6. (C) Adada next turned to the role of SLM/Minnawi, saying that the GoS needs to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement in order to make a statement to the non-signatories. He joked, "The GoS better implement the agreement, otherwise every movement that signs an agreement with the government will be ’minni-mized’ like Minni has been!" CDA Fernandez concurred, and then briefed Adada on the GoS’s failure to make any significant progress in DPA implementation since Vice President Taha’s agreement with Minnawi on September 19. Adada appeared surprised by the CDA’s remarks, and said that implementing the DPA is one way to support CPA implementation, a clear priority to the U.S.

OCAMPO’S IMAGINARY NUMBERS

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7. (C) Adada poured scorn on the "wildly inaccurate" recent statements of ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo that "5,000 people were being killed each month in Darfur." He added that who would be so naive and ill-informed to believe such a thing? He noted that this would be over a hundred people a day being killed, a level of violence not seen in Darfur for several years (Note: probably not since 2005). Even the horrific Kalma camp massacre of August 25, 2008 which killed 33 innocent people was "one crime on one day, this doesn’t happen very often." He mused that such patently absurd and false information put out by Ocampo doesn’t make him look very credible in the eyes of those who actually know something about the reality of Darfur.

COMMENT

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8. (C) Adada appeared reluctant to discuss the ceasefire mechanism in any detail and made it clear that he would like UNAMID (and not the Chief Mediator nor the USG) to take the lead. Adada’s dismissive remarks about the Chief Mediator indicate once more the existence of a strained working relationship between the latter and UNAMID. Adada appeared poorly informed about the status of SLM/MM and the lack of any real progress in DPA implementation since the September Minnawi-Taha agreement. This is particularly disappointing considering the relatively substantial resources at Adada’s disposal, the fact that he needs to focus solely on Darfur, and the abundance of SLM/MM contacts in Adada’s headquarters in El-Fasher and in Khartoum.

FERNANDEZ

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