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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05NDJAMENA22
2005-01-07 10:05:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ndjamena
Cable title:  

SIXTH JOINT COMMISSION MEETING: REBEL MOVEMENTS

Tags:   PREL  PREF  PHUM  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.


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                  ------------------A063B2  071016Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0715
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
DARFUR COLLECTIVE
USMISSION GENEVA 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
COMSCEUR LONDON UK
SECDEF WASHDC
USEU BRUSSELS
USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
USLO TRIPOLI
						C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000022 

SIPDIS


LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICAWATCHERS, GENEVA FOR RMA,
ADDIS/KAMPALA/NAIROBI FOR REFCOORDS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2015
TAGS: PREL PREF PHUM CD SU
SUBJECT: SIXTH JOINT COMMISSION MEETING: REBEL MOVEMENTS
REJECT CONCLUSIONS

REF: KHARTOUM 1746

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



1. (C) Summary. The Sixth Session of the Joint Commission
on the Darfur Humanitarian Cease-fire (JC) was unable to
break through the impasse over the Government of Sudan's
(GOS) offensive operations in December. The mediation team
and international community failed to persuade the movements
to re-engage in the process. The movements insist that the
GOS withdraw to its pre-December 8 positions and were angry
over reports of the GOS attack at Mellit on January 3. They
rejected the Chairman's conclusions, walking out before they
were read. The AU and JC expects to hold a meeting with the
parties sometime over the next two weeks, perhaps in Addis
Ababa. Finally, we suspect that the French Ambassador in
Chad is using his position representing the European Union
(EU) to advance the interests of the Chadian Government and
the National Movement for Reform and Development (NMRD). End
Summary.

- - - - - - -
PARTICIPANTS
- - - - - - -



2. (U) General Mahamat Ali Abdullah chaired the sixth session
of the Joint Commission on the Darfur Humanitarian Cease-fire
which was held from January 3 to 4 in N'Djamena. Charge
d'Affairs Casebeer, P/E Officer, and DATT represented the
U.S. The African Union was represented by Sam Ibok and
Boubou Niang. The Chad Mediation team included Allam-mi
Ahmad, General Khamis Ouardougou, and Ambassador Mahamat
Habib Doutoum. The Government of Sudan's delegation included
General Mahamad Ahmed Mustapha Eldabi and Esmat Zain Alabdeen
and Sudan's Ambassador to Chad Osman M.O. Dirar. The
European Union was represented by France's Ambassador to Chad
Jean-Pierre Bercot. Ezzedine Choukri-Fisher and Taye-Brook
Zerihoun represented the United Nations. Jaed A.A.
Alhoudere, Libya's Ambassador to Chad, and the Nigerian
Ambassador to Chad M.K.Y. Argungu also attended. The Sudan
Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) was represented by Adam
Shogar and Jamal-Abdulrahman Arbab. Ahmed Lissan Tugod spoke
for the Movement for Justice and Equality (JEM). JEM's other
representative to the JC, Talgedin Niam, is in Libya.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
MOVEMENTS NOT BUDGING ON GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



3. (C) From the outset of the meeting, the Movements did
not want to participate unless the Government withdrew from
the positions it occupied during its offensive in December.
However, Movement representatives Shogar and Tugod told P/E
officer that they came to the meeting out of respect for JC
Chairman Ali. The movements insisted that the JC deal with
the conclusions of the fifth session of the JC held in Abuja
that called for the immediate cessation of the Government

offensive and withdrawal of its troops to pre-December 8
troop positions. In addition, the Movements raised the
military action at Mellit that had just commenced at the
beginning of the JC meeting. The Movements did not agree to
the agenda, which had changed from the one distributed with
the invitation to the meeting. (Comment: The changed agenda
was actually an improvement to the first one. The AU and
international community persuaded Ali to drop the agenda item
pertaining to the Libyan proposal for a committee to verify
the parties' military positions on the ground. Instead, the
CFC will veryify pre-December 8 positions. End Comment.)

- - - - - - - - - -
GOVERNMENT OF SUDAN
- - - - - - - - - -



4. (C) General Mahamad Ahmed Mustapha Eldabi, leader of the
Government of Sudan's delegation, said that the GOS has
stopped fighting but is not withdrawing. The GOS refused to
allow the conclusions of the fifth session to be discussed
before the conclusions of the fourth session, which included
recommendations which the movements had not yet fulfilled.
The GOS also challenged the rebel movements to declare their
April 8 positions to the JC. Aside from these issues, the


GOS agreed to the JC's procedures and findings in an effort
to look more cooperative than the Movements. This included
accepting the Chairman's conclusions which were critical of
the GOS. It also presented two papers entitled "Positive
Results of the Recent GOS Foperations for Public Security and
Humanitarian Situation" and "GOS Proposals for Strengthening
the JC".

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
FUTILE ATTEMPTS TO END THE IMPASSE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



5. (C) AU, Chad mediation team, and international community
attempted to amend the agenda to allow both sides to talk
about whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, hoping that
the conclusions of the fourth and fifth sessions would
eventually be covered. For a number of hours, both sides
traded accusations. The JEM angrily presented a GOS letter
dated December 13 which explained the offensive military
operations to the CFC and notified rebel movements to move
out of occupied areas within four hours. The SLM/A and JEM
continued to insist that the GOS declare whether or not its
forces have withdrawn to pre-December 8 positions.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
CEASE-FIRE COMMISSION CHAIRMAN'S REPORT
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



6. (C) The report of Cease-fire Commission Chairman Festus
Okonkwo confirmed that the Government had not withdrawn.
Okonkwo said that the GOS had given maps of its positions to
the CFC. He told us privately, however, that the GOS noted
on its maps that the rebels only held four positions. This,
according to Okonkwo, is not true. The rebel movements
pulled back during the offensive to avoid loss of life.
Civilians bore the brunt of the Sudanese operations. Okonkwo
reported that since December 17, Darfur had remained
relatively quiet. A notable exception was an NMRD attack on
a GOS firewood party on December 24, 2004. The NMRD abducted
one soldier and seized a GOS vehichle; both were released
later.



7. (C) Okonkwo also told the JC that the failure of the
movements to give the CFC their positions is seriously
hindering his work. He added that the deployment of
additional monitors and protection forces and the
verification of positions will be delayed without this
information.



8. (C) The CFC reported that the GOS had responded to the
list of prisoners given by the Movements. The GOS claims
that the persons on the list are accused of criminal activity
and are not prisoners of war. According to the GOS, 27
persons are accused in the March 2003 coup attempt, 29
persons are accused in the September 2004 coup attempts, 25
persons are accused of forming cells to undermine the
constitution, 10 were released from September to December
2004 for lack of evidence, and fifteen persons on the list
are not being detained by the Government. The Movements have
not responded to the Government's list of "hundreds" of
prisoners of war. The Movements told us, but not the JC, that
they were working on it.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
CHAIRMAN'S CONCLUSIONS
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9. (SBU) Chairman Ali noted that the CFC cannot discharge
its mandate due to the parties' failure to respect the
decisions of the fourth and fifth JC sessions. He stated the
GOS needs to withdraw without delay to its pre-December 8
positions, in particular from Marla, Ishma, and Labado. The
movements were requested not to occupy positions evacuated by
the Government. The CFC would verify the situation.
(Comment: AU rep Ibok changed April 8 to December 8 in the
first draft of Ali's conclusions. End Comment.) The JC
asked the GOS should disarm the jandjaweed without delay.
The movements must give their positions to the CFC and
respond to the GOS list of prisoners of war. Earlier in the
meeting, but not in the conclusions, Ali indicated that the
GOS should release the prisoners the movements listed,
regardless of the "criminal offenses" with which they are


charged.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
STATUS OF AU DEPLOYMENT
- - - - - - - - - - - -



10. (C) As of January 3, Deputy Force Commander BG Jean
Bosco Kazura and the Gambian Protection Force members arrived
in Sudan. According to Okonkwo, there are now 1059 personnel
comprising 244 military observers, 789 Protection Force
Members, eleven Cease-fire Commission members, nine
international support staff and six civilian policemen. The
Protection Force members include: 201 Nigerians, 392
Rwandans, and 196 Gambians. There are seventeen AU military
observers in Abeche, Chad.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FRENCH ROLE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



11. (C) France's Ambassador to Chad Jean-Pierre Bercot, who
is representing the EU, raised the issue of the NMRD in the
opening round of discussion between the Chad mediation team,
the African Union, and the international community. Bercot
asked whether or not the NMRD will be included in the peace
process. He wanted to know if the other rebel movements had
been "vacuumed" up by the NMRD Finally, he asked if there
had been any commission contact with the parties since Abuja
to determine if progress can be made in the peace process.



12. (C) Chairman Ali explained that the issue of including
the NMRD in the Abuja process had been raised previously and
the JEM had threatened to walk out if NMRD was included. Ali
said that the NMRD wants to be part of the process. However,
Chad as mediator, cannot insist on it. It is up to the AU
and other members of the process to decide. Ali told Bercot
that the situation on the ground is not clear and that the
AU's CFC is best-placed to answer that question. Allam-mi
Ahmad, Special Advisor to President Deby for International
Relations and member of the Chad Mediation Team, said that
the NMRD was not included because of questions about its
legitimacy from the international community and AU. He said
that he hoped that a comprehensive agreement would eventually
be reached that includes all Darfurian parties. He warned
that if the process with the SLM/A and JEM reaches an
impasse, then the issue of which parties are included in the
talks should be revisited.



13. (C) The AU's Sam Ibok and Chairman Ali said the NMRD is
not part of the Abuja process, but that the Cease-fire
Commission is talking with them. Bercot persisted, saying
that the European Union needed to know if the NMRD will be
recognized as a party. If not, Bercot queried, is the NMRD
an interlocutor in the process? Ibok told Bercot that the
AU has many peace processes where not all the parties are
involved directly, but are consulted. During the second day
of talks, Bercot rushed into the room with an "important"
message for Ali. At that time, rebel representatives
observed Allam-mi giving Bercot a copy of the Chairman's
conclusions hours before the meeting ended and well before
any of the parties saw them. This action heightened the
movement's suspicions of the intentions of the French and of
the JC procedures. For the second time, it appeared the
chairman's conclusions were written before the end of the
meeting.

- - - - - -
WHAT'S NEXT
- - - - - -



14. (C) The AU was discouraged by the inflexibility of both
parties. Ibok expressed his frustration several times during
the meeting and suggested waiting until early February to
begin the next round of talks. Shogar and Tugod held a
marathon meeting with JC Chairman Ali and Daoussa Deby,
President Idriss Deby's brother, on January 5. The outcome
of that meeting was the possibility of holding another
JC-like meeting in another two weeks. This could occur in
Addis Ababa. During the JC, the Chad Mediation team passed
out a draft terms of reference paper for the establishment of
the Joint Humanitarian Facilitation and Monitoring Unit
(JHFM) to be headquartered in El Fasher. This draft will be


considered at the next JC. (Note: A copy of this document
and the Chairman's conclusions were scanned to AF/SPG and
Embassy Khartoum. End Note.) In the absence of AU personnel
in N'Djamena, P/E officer assisted in making arrangements for
eight members of the movements, who have been stranded in
Chad since December 22, to leave for El Fasher on January 6.

- - - -
COMMENT
- - - -



15. (C) No progress was made at this JC. The movements are
losing faith in the AU's ability to enforce the JC's
conclusions and remain suspicious of the JC procedures. We
are working with the AU and Ali on improving communications
over procedural issues prior to the JC meetings in order to
avoid arguing over the agenda for two days. We also warned
the movements that "preconditions" and the appearance of
inflexiblity is playing into the hands of those who do not
want the process to move forward and propose the NMRD as an
alternative. The GOS delegation seems confident in its
ability to take actions without consequences for the peace
process. We are concerned that the French Ambassador's
remarks about the NMRD may not reflect the EU position on the
NMRD.



16. (U) Khartoum and Tripoli Minimize Considered.
CASEBEER


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