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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05NDJAMENA1377
2005-09-10 17:52:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ndjamena
Cable title:  

SALIM ON THE NEXT ROUND OF DARFUR PEACE TALKS, SLM

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PREF  KAWC  CD  SU 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

101752Z Sep 05

ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  CIAE-00  INL-00   DODE-00  
      DOEE-00  PERC-00  DS-00    EB-00    EUR-00   FBIE-00  H-00     
      TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     M-00     NEA-00   
      NSAE-00  NSCE-00  OIC-00   OMB-00   NIMA-00  PA-00    GIWI-00  
      PRS-00   P-00     FMPC-00  SP-00    IRM-00   SSO-00   SS-00    
      STR-00   TRSE-00  SCRS-00  DSCC-00  PRM-00   DRL-00   G-00     
      SAS-00   SWCI-00    /001W
                  ------------------368951  101718Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2268
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
DARFUR COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
USLO TRIPOLI 
USMISSION GENEVA
						C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 001377 

SIPDIS


DEPARTMENT FOR AF, AF/C, AF/SPG, D, DRL, H, INR, INR/GGI,
PRM, USAID/OTI AND USAID/W FOR DAFURRMT; LONDON AND PARIS
FOR AFRICAWATCHERS; GENEVA FOR CAMPBELL,
ADDIS/NAIROBI/KAMPALA FOR REFCOORDS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2015
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF KAWC CD SU
SUBJECT: SALIM ON THE NEXT ROUND OF DARFUR PEACE TALKS, SLM
CONFERENCE


Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Kathleen FitzGibbon for reaso
ns 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: During his visit to Chad for consultations
over September 8-9, the African Union's Special Envoy for
Darfur, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, shared his views on the
upcoming round of peace talks. Salim is committed to
starting the talks on September 15, but acknowledges that
members of Mini Minawi's faction of the Sudan Liberation
Movement (SLM) will likely come late if their leadership
conference holds. In his meeting with SLM members in
N'Djamena, Salim urged them to be prepared to send
representatives to the workshops while the conference is in
progress. SLM expressed their concerns that SLM members
cannot be at the conference and the workshops at the same
time. SLM told Salim that they cannot go to Abuja without
holding the conference because the field commanders are
threatening to disavow them and the negotiations. Salim's
position on the postponement is deepening SLM suspicions of
him and the AU. Nonetheless, with no financing in sight for
the conference, SLM members are flexible, but becoming
increasingly discouraged that they will not be strong enough
or united going into the most important round of talks. We
share their concerns that the same negative dynamic will once
again play out in Abuja if SLM does not have a chance to
organize itself and its negotiating agenda. On the touchy
issue for Chad of its co-mediation on Darfur, Salim's visit
also appears to have alleviated some of the strain in the
AU-Chad relationship over Chad's role. End Summary.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
START DATE FOR NEXT ROUND
- - - - - - - - - - - - -



2. (SBU) Salim, together with AU negotiators Sam Ibok and
Boubou Niang, traveled to N'Djamena as part of their
consultations in various capitals in advance of the next
round of peace talks. During their visit, Ambassador and P/E
officer discussed the issue of the SLM conference and the
timing of the re-start of the talks with them on September 8.
Salim said that the September 15 date best accommodated the
views of the different parties. He said that the GOS, JEM,
and SLM Chairman wanted them sooner. Salim, who is traveling
to New York for the World Summit at the U.N., from September
14-16, said that had he known about his invitation earlier,
he would have proposed starting the talks later. In the
upcoming round of talks, Salim said the workshops will be run
by experts in power-sharing, wealth-sharing, and security
arrangements. The talks will use three resource persons to
run each session, which the AU would like to do concurrently.
President Obasanjo asked that the AU consider holding the
talks in Ota, Ogun State at a conference facility there.
Ibok and Niang are flying to Lagos in the coming days to view

the facilities. The idea is to isolate the participants from
outside influence and distractions.

- - - - - - - -
SLM CONFERENCE
- - - - - - - -



3. (SBU) Salim said that it is possible for the SLM group
to have the conference in the next two weeks, but it would be
difficult. In his opinion, international funding is not
forthcoming because the conference is not all-inclusive and
would appear to be an attempt to oust Abdelwahid. Salim told
us that the substantive discussions would not start until
both groups were represented.



4. (SBU) Ambassador Ibok raised the possibility that the
Mini-Abdelwahid split cannot be repaired and that the AU will
be negotiating with three rebel movements: SLM-Abdelwahid,
SLM-Mini, and JEM. For practical purposes, this is what is
already happening. The AU sent its requests for participants
to both Abdelwahid and Mini and held consultations with both
separately. Salim described his meeting with Mini and
subsequent visit to Jebel Marra as inconclusive. He came
away from the trip with the impression that Mini and the
Zaghawa have the top field commanders in their camp and the
Fur and other ethnic groups constitute the middle and lower
ranks with loyalty to Abdelwahid.




5. (SBU) Salim expressed his concern that the conference is
being planned by one group and will solidify the ethnic split
within SLM rather than repair it. Salim said that Mini's
group could expand the meeting's scope and participation if
it found ways to undercut Abdelwahid's refusal to attend,
such as holding it in a neutral place and using an
international facilitator. Salim's proposed alternative is
for the donors to finance an all-inclusive conference to be
held during a break in the talks in late October.



6. (SBU) SLM members in N'Djamena met with Salim on
September 9 to discuss their plans for the conference and
request to push back the Abuja talks to October 1. According
to Abdeljabar Dosa and Traiyo Ali, Salim explained the AU's
reasoning for the September 15 date. Dosa and the others
told Salim that their group was not part of the Dar es Salam
discussions which confirmed the re-start date. They are
going ahead with conference preparations. The SLM members
told Salim that the field commanders are demanding the
conference. The "politicos" are literally "under the gun" on
this issue. The commanders want their positions well-known
by the negotiators prior to the upcoming talks. Moreover,
the commanders are complaining that they have not seen "their
Chairman" (Abdelwahid Nur) in over a year. Dosa said this
sentiment is shared by commanders in Jebel Marra as well.
They want Abdelwahid and Mini Minawi to explain what they
have been doing and where the peace talks are going. Without
these consultations, the negotiators believe the field
commanders will disavow them and the peace process. SLM will
remain flexible and consider options such as sending one or
two people to the workshops, according to Ali. The problem
is that key members of the negotiating teams need to attend
the workshops, but should also be at the SLM conference.
Even if SLM sent a few "seat-warmers", the result of this
arrangement will once again be an unprepared SLM. Ali and
Dosa are discouraged by the lack of response to their funding
appeals for the conference.

- - - - - - - - - - -
CHAD MEDIATION ISSUE
- - - - - - - - - - -



7. (C) While in N'Djamena, the team also met with President
Idriss Deby, Foreign Minister Ahmad Allam-mi, and JC Chairman
General Ali. According to Salim, President Deby was still
angry over attempts to oust or diminish Chad's role as a
co-mediator in the process. Salim said it is clear that the
Chadians felt humiliated. Ambassador Wall asked Salim the
status of Chad's current role. Salim said that he is the
AU's mediator and he will be "assisted by" the Chad mediation
team. He said that the Chadians accept this arrangement and
they will continue to play an important role in the mediation
efforts. Salim described General Ali as particularly helpful
in Abuja and noted that the Chadians' know the movements and
the terrain better than other international partners.

- - - -
COMMENT
- - - -



8. (C) Despite Salim's insistence, practically-speaking,
the September 15 start date is somewhat untenable. The AU is
still deciding on the venue for a meeting that should start
in less than a week. The logistics of bringing the rebel
movements should already be underway. Salim himself will be
in New York. It is entirely possible the start-up could slip
a week, which could give SLM more time for the conference.
Salim's scenario that includes an October break for a
conference will require a donor to take charge in planning
for it to succeed. In either case, the break between Mini
and Abdelwahid appears unbridgeable and we should be prepared
once again to deal with two separate SLM groups, possibly
three, for the upcoming talks. Meanwhile, the distrust of
Salim and the AU among Mini's supporters is growing daily.
They interpret his intransigence on postponing the talks for
two weeks as a sign of weak leadership and his bias in favor
of the Government of Sudan, Justice and Equality Movement,
and Abdelwahid. They are looking to the international
community to place pressure on the AU to delay the talks. On
the issue of Chad's co-mediation on Darfur, the Joint
Commission meeting and Salim's consultations in N'Djamena


over September 8-9 also helped patch up Chad's strained
relationship with the AU.



9. (U) Khartoum and Tripoli Minimize Considered.
WALL


NNNN