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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05NDJAMENA60
2005-01-18 06:57:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ndjamena
Cable title:  

SENATOR FEINGOLD GETS AN EARFUL ON DARFUR IN CHAD

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PREF  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.

180657Z Jan 05

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USEU BRUSSELS
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USLO TRIPOLI 
USMISSION GENEVA
						C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000060 

SIPDIS


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

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2015
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF CD SU
SUBJECT: SENATOR FEINGOLD GETS AN EARFUL ON DARFUR IN CHAD


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



1. (C) Summary: Senator Russell Feingold heard a number of
perspectives on Darfur-related issues during his visit to
Chad January 12-13. Feingold met with Sudanese refugees at
Iridimi Refugee camp, held discussions with Foreign Minister
Yamassoum and the Chad mediation team over the status of the
Darfur cease-fire and Abuja negotiations, and met with
N,Djamena-based Sudanese rebel leaders. The Chadian
mediation team and the Sudanese rebel movements
representatives expressed frustration with the African
Union's inability to enforce compliance with the cease-fire
agreement and identify a high-level negotiator to get the
peace talks on track. Meanwhile, the Chadians proposed that
the U.S. and Chad join forces to impose peace in Darfur.
Finally, Chadian Foreign Minister Yamassoum told Feingold
that there are other issues for joint cooperation besides
Darfur and pushed for President Deby to receive an invitation
to visit Washington. End Summary.

- - - - - - - - - - -
IRIDIMI REFUGEE CAMP
- - - - - - - - - - -



2. (U) At Iridimi Refugee Camp, Feingold was impressed by
the efforts of UNHCR and its partners to provide
infrastructure and services to the 17,000 Sudanese refugees
in the camp. During a tour of the camp, Feingold met with
the women,s refugee committee and community center. There
he saw examples of new income-generating programs for women.
He also witnessed the food distribution during the
supplemental feeding program. Malnutrition rates have
dropped as the result of these programs and as camp life has
stabilized. The President of the High Council of Refugee
Leaders at the camp told Feingold that attacks against
civilians continued in Darfur and that the refugees would not
return until security is restored. He also urged the Senator
not to forget Darufr in the wake of the tsunami disaster in
South and Southeast Asia. Female refugees told Feingold that
they appreciate the female Chadian gendarmes assigned to each
camp. There have been attacks by local residents on women
and young girls searching for firewood in the Iriba area.
Finally, Feingold and Ambassador Wall presented the refugees
with a small book donation from a junior high school in Ohio.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
DARFUR NOT ONLY ISSUE FOR US-CHADIAN COOPERATION
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



3. (C) On January 12, Feingold enjoyed a lively dinner event
with Foreign Minister Nagoum Yamassoum; Chairman of the Joint
Commission General Mahamat Ali Abdullah; JC member and
Special Advisor to President Deby for International Relations
Ahmat Allam-mi; and Daoussa Deby, the President,s
half-brother, head of Chad,s road parastatal, and trusted

go-between with the Sudan rebel movements. FM Yamassoum, who

was flown back from the AU,s Peace and Security Council
meeting by President Omar Bongo for the dinner with Feingold,
led several provocative discussions which ranged from the
controversy over the similarity of the flags of Chad and
Romania, the lack of an invitation for President Deby to
Washington, his view that the U.S. influence in the world is
stretched, and Chad,s views on the African Union,s
inability to resolve Darfur.



4. (C) Yamassoum asked Feingold why President Deby has not
received an invitation to the White House. He lamented that
Chad and the U.S. have a long-standing friendship and used an
analogy that it is odd that one long-time friend has not
invited the other to their house. Yamassoum stated that this
issue is problematic and could jeopardize a good
relationship. Feingold told Yamassoum that he (Feingold) has
not been invited to the White House by this Administration
either despite being re-elected and sharing areas of mutual
interest or cooperation with some Republican Senators. He
promised to raise the issue in Washington. Nonetheless,
Yamassoum was unrelenting throughout the evening on this
issue. He pointed out that the U.S. has invited many
undemocratic African leaders to Washington, such as Kabila.
Meanwhile, according to Yamassoum, Deby has been
democratically-elected twice and has not been received in
Washington. At one point during dinner, Yamassoum said that
he rejects insinuations that Chad is not a democracy. Chad
has a very free press, private radio stations, and Chadians
enjoy a great deal of freedom, he argued.



5. (C) Yamassoum, in rare form, also repeatedly told
Feingold, that Darfur is not the only area of cooperation
between Chad and the United States. He pointed out close
military cooperation, counter-terrorism efforts, and the
potential for joint-diplomatic efforts in other parts of
Africa, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central
African Republic. His statement that India could replace the
U.S. as a donor to other countries provoked debate.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
CHADIAN MEDIATORS ON DARFUR
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -



6. (C) On Darfur, Ali and Allam-mi raised several issues,
but focused on the inability of the African Union to control
the Darfur Peace Talks. Both complained that the AU,s use
of low-level functionaries to manage the discussions has
contributed to the current impasse. They claim that they are
the highest level diplomats participating in an ongoing,
routine basis in the peace process. The AU needs to appoint
an African leader with clout to force the parties to take the
AU and the talks seriously. In the absence of a change in AU
attitude and leadership on the issue, both Ali and Allam-mi
argued that the U.S. and Chad should team up and give the
process the leadership it needs. Besides Sudan, Chadians are
suffering the most of the consequences of the on-going
conflict. Chad is the only actor with a strong interest in

resolving the situation, they argued. Chad lacks the
firepower to impose a solution itself, but could do so if the
United States and Chad joined forces and took leadership of
the process.



7. (C) Feingold asked the team about the status of the
current peace process. Allam-mi explained that the talks
remain stalled because of the Government of Sudan,s military
offensive. The rebel movements refuse to participate until
the GOS withdraws to its December 8 positions. Meanwhile,
the GOS refuses to stop its operations and withdraw, as
required by the Joint Commission.



8. (C) Ali described the leadership of the rebel movements
as being out-of-touch with the plight of Darfurians on the
ground. He remarked that many of the movement leaders living
in European capitals and hotels around the world, with little
connection to the human suffering taking place. He wondered
if the leadership of the Sudan Liberation Movement and the
Justice and Equality Movement represented any Darfurian
constituency.



9. (C) Yamassoum, Ali, and Allam-mi agreed that it is
critical to implement the Naivasha agreement and continue the
Abuja peace process on Darfur. However, they pointed out
that even if Abuja can succeed in eventually getting a
working cease-fire, a more global solution to the issues in
Darfur will be needed. This solution must involve
traditional leaders, Sudanese refugees living in Chad, and
other members of civil society, not just the SLM and JEM.
Daoussa Deby echoed the need for a long-term settlement, but
pointed out that the Darfur crisis is taking a huge toll on
the local Chadian populations hosting the refugees. In
addition to assistance, they need a resolution to Darfur as
well.



10. (C) Feingold agreed that more focus is needed at the
highest levels on Darfur. He told the Chadians that he and
other members of the Congress have proposed a Special Envoy
for Darfur, who would play the same role as former Senator
John Danforth did. He stated that one way for the U.S. to
demonstrate the urgency and importance of resolving Darfur
would be the appointment of a prominent American to lead U.S.
efforts. The Chad mediators welcomed this suggestion.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
REBEL MOVEMENTS FOCUS ON GOS ACTIONS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



11. (C) The Sudanese rebel movements focused on the on-going
GOS military offensive during their meeting with Feingold on
January 13. Adam Shogar and Jamal Arbab Abderahman of the
SLM and Ahmed Lissan Tugod and Talgedin Niam of the JEM told
Feingold that they will not return to the negotiations until
the GOS returns to its December 8 positions. They also
expressed their frustrations with the AU,s inability to
enforce compliance with the agreements. The AU is too young

and inexperienced to resolve Darfur. Lissan said that the AU
CFC,s current strength of 700 protection force embers is too
small to patrol an area the size of France. In addition, the
AU CFC does not have the mandate to protect civilians. Niam
told Feingold that the GOS operations are forcing the rebel
movements to violate the cease-fire. Feingold raised the
SLM,s attacks on humanitarian workers. Shogar initially
responded that these attacks were the work of renegade
troops. He then said that there are a lot of violations
being committed by GOS associates and made to look like rebel
attacks. Nonetheless, Feingold said, the U.S. loses sympathy
when attacks on civilians, particularly humanitarian workers
helping Darfurians, occur.

- - - -
COMMENT
- - - -



12. (C) Feingold,s visit to Chad once again underscored U.S.
high-level interest in the Darfur crisis and in moving the
peace process toward resolution. He was treated to some
recurring themes: Chad,s frustration with the lack of
progress on the implementation of the cease-fire, the deep
impact of the crisis on local Chadian populations, and
disillusionment with the AU,s capacity to control the peace
process and the rebel movements, ability to represent
Darfurians. Feingold aptly raised and discussed sensitive
issues with our interlocutors, who sometimes responded with
unvarnished opinions. On Darfur, the Chadians appeared
pleased with the idea of a Special Envoy, but continue to
press for leadership of the flailing peace process.
Yamassoum,s preoccupation with a Washington visit for
President Deby was the first time we have dealt with the
issue so openly.



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


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