This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
061454Z Jul 05
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001217
E.O. 12598: N/A TAGS: PREL PHUM PREF NI SU CD DARFUR SUBJECT: DARFUR PEACE TALKS: DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES SIGNED
REF: ABUJA 1178
1. (SBU) Summary: The Government of Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Movement, and Justice and Equality Movement signed a Declaration of Principles for the Resolution of the Sudanese Conflict in Darfur (DOP) on July 5. This evolved after more than three weeks of African Union (AU) mediation assisted by a final push through a focused negotiating effort by a team consisting of the United Nations, United States, Arab League, and AU. UN Special Representative to Sudan, Jan Pronk, flew in on the next to last day to help spearhead that initiative. In the final days of the talks, the rebel movements were under significant pressure from external parties, including Libya, Eritrea, and, reportedly one of John Garang's political advisers. The SLM, though deeply divided, was eventually persuaded by the international community and its own self-interest to accept the document. The AU plans to start the next round of negotiations on August 24. End Summary.
- - - - - - DOP SIGNED - - - - - -
2. (SBU) The Government of Sudan, Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) signed the DOP on July 5 after a weekend of negative Libyan and Eritrean interventions. In an elaborate signing ceremony, Sudanese State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Mohammed Youssif, SLM's Vice Chairman Khamis Abdullah Abakar, and JEM's Ahmed Tugod Lissan signed the DOP with AU Special Envoy Salim Ahmed Salim as witness. The final text includes guidelines for future deliberations and basis "for a just, comprehensive, and durable settlement on the conflict in Darfur." These include power and wealth sharing and social, economic reconstruction, and security arrangements, including disarmament, demobilization, and rehabilitation (DDR). The AU announced that the next round of negotiations is set to begin on August 24.
3. (SBU) Libyan Envoy Dr. Ali Abdul Salam Treiki arrived in town to push a deal though prior to the AU Summit in Tripoli. He and the Eritreans obtained Dr. Salim Salim's blessing to "work with the parties" on the remaining areas of disagreement over the text of the DOP. Beginning July 2, it became evident that Treiki and the Eritreans were shuttling between the parties to negotiate the DOP's text. Norway's Special Envoy Ambassador Tom Vraalsen joined Treiki, whom he knew from their UN days together, as the Libyan moved between the parties. Other international partners were not included. During the day, various members of both the SLM and JEM began complaining about the Libyan and Eritrean pressure, which allegedly included bribery and threats of physical harm. In the late evening, the movements realized that the U.S. and UN were not involved. Around midnight, the Libyans publicly announced via an interview on Al Jazeera that a deal had been struck. The SLM immediately denied the reports. This added to the SLM's suspicions and concerns about the AU's ability to manage the process. JEM's position was less transparent and at one point, team leader Ahmed Tugod Lissan told us an agreement would be signed imminently.
4. (SBU) The pressure on the SLM eventually backfired as it created common cause, however temporary, between the disparate factions on resisting the outside influences. Internally, however, the pressure, threats, and intimidation also deepened distrust among SLM members and consensus was not easily achieved. The SLM rented a room at another hotel to escape the Libyan team. They eventually succeeded in getting some privacy even though the Libyans followed them.
5. (SBU) On Sunday, July 3 the AU called a partners meeting to explain Saturday's diplomatic efforts. Dr. Salim reported that there was movement on some issues, including "voluntary" unity which the GOS resisted and separation of religion from the state upon which SLM adamantly insisted, with some language proposed by the Chadians, among others. The UN's Jan Pronk arrived and Salim asked him and the US (because of presumed influence with all three parties) to work with the parties on the finalization of the Declaration of Principles. The AU and Arab League were added for balance. The team was given the day of July 4 for a final effort to get agreement regarding the land use language of operative paragraph 12.
6. (SBU) Beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 3:30 a.m. on July 5, the team under UN SSRG Pronk's leadership conducted three rounds of discussions with the parties. In the first round, the team elicited from them their minimum and maximum positions, focusing on the SLM, whose three factions were equally represented. As expected, the SLM adopted a hard- line against language which had been forced in by Treiki's earlier effort and which the GOS and JEM had accepted. In round two, the team was able to get further agreement from the GOS and JEM on specific language fixes to the land use paragraph. The SLM still reserved but appeared to be listening. In round three, all three parties met for a face- to-face discussion. Pronk started with the JEM, who accepted the text, noting their reservations. The GOS then accepted the text. The SLM's chief negotiator, Abdulgabar Dosa rejected the text without further explanation.
7. (SBU) At approximately 1:00 a.m. on July 5, Salim called the international partners together to explain the outcome of the negotiating team's efforts. All of the partners vented their frustrations with the SLM. Ambassador Yates discouraged the AU from holding a 10:00 a.m. meeting between the partners and SLM at which the partners would vent again and made it clear that we cannot have a DOP signing with only two parties, which is where most of the rest of the IC was headed.
8. (SBU) Later in the morning on July 5, Ambassador Yates and P/E officer met with each of the SLM factions, including Chairman Abdelwahid Nur, Secretary General Mini Minawi's supporters, and the camp of other non-Zaghawas and non- supporters of Abdelwahid. (Note: Minawi was in Libya. End Note.) We outlined to each group the facts as the world will see them: in effect, that the SLM will be seen as not wanting an agreement while Darfurian suffering continued. In addition, we emphasized that while the compromise language was not perfect, it does give more than adequate protection for the SLM in negotiating their key demands during the political and wealth-sharing discussions. The SLM met throughout the day, trying to obtain internal consensus to sign the draft DOP. The task was made harder, according to some sources, because of pressure from SPLM/A political advisor Hafiz not to sign a document until after John Garang is installed. Various SLM members told us that they agreed to accept the document because it was important for them not to lose the confidence and support of the international community.
9. (SBU) The SLM overcame its differences and ultimately came to agreement to accept the text, making a small change which amounted to reordering the paragraph as well as some other changes to other sections, two of which were accepted. The AU's Sam Ibok met with the GOS and the JEM and obtained their acceptance, paving the way for the DOP's signing at a plenary ceremony with live national and international media coverage. After a secession of speeches, Special Envoy Salim announced that the implementation talks would reconvene in Abuja on August 24.
- - - - COMMENT - - - -
10. (SBU) The SLM's internal divisions, aggravated by outside players, will continue to plague the process as the much more difficult implementation issues are addressed. We are urging the various SLM factions to take advantage of the momentum of process to get their house in order prior to the next round. It will behoove us to help facilitate this reconciliation process, too. For now, all parties are relieved that this round is finally concluded.
11. (SBU) However frustrating it may have been to require three weeks of teeth-gnashing negotiation, the DOP does in fact provide important, essential commitments toward the resolution of the Darfur tragedy. These include, inter alia, to: a multi-ethnic, multi-religious Sudan (operative paragraph 1); democracy, political pluralism, independent judiciary, and free media (operative paragraph 2); formulation for separation of religion from the political process (operative paragraph 3) and other important commitments done through other paragraphs.