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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ADDISABABA1781
2006-06-29 16:15:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

AFRICAN UNION: FRAZER URGES KONARE TO REMAIN FIRM,

Tags:   PREL  KPKO  PTER  AU  SU  SO 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ADDIS ABABA 001781 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/29/2016
TAGS: PREL KPKO PTER AU SU SO
SUBJECT: AFRICAN UNION: FRAZER URGES KONARE TO REMAIN FIRM,
MOVE FAST ON AMIS TRANSITION


Classified By: AF A/S JENDAYI FRAZER FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND
(D).


1 (C) SUMMARY: In a June 25 meeting with AF A/S Frazer,
African Union (AU) Chairperson Konare initially expressed
deep concerns about the AU's ability to overcome renewed
Sudanese objections to the transition from an AU (AMIS) to a
UN Mission in Darfur. Konare explained that the GOS'
strategy was to delay the transition until at least January
in hopes of blocking it altogether, since the GOS believed it
could by then restore military control over Darfur alone.
Konare speculated that President Al Bashir would seek to use
his position as head of the Arab League to rally anti-U.S.
and anti-Israeli sentiment to block the Darfur mission and
perhaps undermine support for the UN in southern Sudan as
well. The Chairperson conveyed pessimism that either the UN
or AU member states would resist a relentless GOS diplomatic
initiative. A/S Frazer told Konare bluntly that the AMIS
transition was a defining moment for the AU and for his
leadership. The AU, member states and partners must not
allow the GOS to divide them. She assured Konare that the
GOS would back down from its opposition to the UN transition
in Darfur in the face of a united African front. UN Security
Council members, including China, would also respect a united
AU position on the issue. Frazer agreed with Konare's
suggestion that the USG intensify efforts to firm up the
resolve of key African leaders, including South Africa --
Chair of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) -- as well as
Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, and AMIS troop contributing
countries. The AU's June 27 ministerial-level PSC meeting
would be key. PSC Konare and Frazer also agreed that
southern Sudanese leader Salva Kirr could also galvanize
support within the GOS for the UN Mission in Darfur.
Although still skittish about assistance from NATO, Konare
accepted A/S Frazer's proposals that the AU accept the NATO
advisory and headquarters assistance offered as soon as
possible, and that the U.S. and Canada could provide help
with a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) using existing helos in
theater, with details to be worked out through PSC
Commissioner Djinnit and technical staff. End Summary.


2. (C) A/S Frazer called on AU Chairperson Alpha Omar Konare
June 25. Frazer was accompanied by Charge, CJTF-HOA
Commander RADM Rick Hunt, Lt. Commander Mike Sowa, AF Special
Assistant Kendra Gaither, AF Somalia/Djibouti deskoff Nole
Garey and Pol/Econ Counselor. Konare's special assistant,
Amb. Toure, joined the Chairperson. Discussions on Somalia,
Comoros and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will
be reported via septel. This message will focus on Sudan.

--------------------------------------------- -----------
KONARE RATTLED BY SUDANESE REJECTION OF UN DARFUR MISSION
--------------------------------------------- -----------


3. (C) A/S Frazer thanked Konare on behalf of the Secretary
for his letter requesting additional NATO help to build AMIS'
capacity. She expressed her concern, however, about recent
statements from UN U/S Guehenno to the effect that the
planned transition from AMIS to a UN Mission in Darfur could
not take place until January 2007. She highlighted the
financing problems that this would create, especially given
cost increases already expected at the upcoming donors
conference on Darfur. Frazer highlighted the need for both
the USG and the AU to pressure the UN to accelerate its
planning process, relying more on existing AMIS troops and
infrastructure. The A/S said Sudanese President Al-Bashir's
recent rejection of the UN deployment in Darfur was merely
another in delaying tactic. Some GOS concerns could be
addressed by a modified Chapter 6 mandate that would allow
for protection of civilians and peacekeepers, but the
transition must move ahead.


4. (C) Commenting on the situation on the ground in Darfur,
Konare told the A/S that there were no longer any attacks on
the ground between the GOS and rebel groups since the signing
of the DPA. Banditry continued, as did violence between
different rebel groups. The situation was in this sense even
more difficult than before for humanitarian workers trying to
operate where neither the GOS nor AMIS was in control, since
no one knew where attacks would come from next. Konare urged
that countries impose sanctions against those rebel leaders
who continued to foment violence and noted that SLM leader
Minni Minawi was increasingly exasperated at the lack of

ADDIS ABAB 00001781 002 OF 003


action against those attacking him. Minawi could now move
freely in El Fasher and the GOS was able to do the same in
areas Minawi controlled, which Konare called an important
step forward for the DPA.


5. (C) Konare initially expressed deep concerns, however,
about the AU's ability to overcome renewed Sudanese
objections to the transition from an AU (AMIS) to a UN
Mission in Darfur. He noted that Al Bashir had been clear
and unequivocal about his rejection of the UN Mission to PSC
Commissioner Djinnit in their recent meeting in Khartoum
during the visit of the UN/AU Joint Assessment team. Konare
explained that the GOS' strategy was to delay the transition
until at least January in hopes of blocking it altogether,
since the GOS believed it could by then restore military
control over Darfur alone. Konare speculated that President
Al Bashir would seek to use his position as head of the Arab
League -- and potentially AU President in 2007 -- to rally
anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli sentiment to block the Darfur
mission and perhaps undermine support for the UN in southern
Sudan as well. The UN would be unable to move without GOS
permission, and China would block UNSC action without GOS
approval. The Chairperson conveyed pessimism that either the
UN or AU member states would resist a relentless GOS
diplomatic initiative. He emphasized that "in these
organizations (AU and Arab League), people don't tell the
truth to those concerned," so countries were capable of
taking unhelpful and surprising positions. The GOS appeared
less and less constructive, with no coherent plan for a
unified country, Konare noted with alarm.

--------------------------------------------
FRAZER: DEFINING MOMENT FOR AU/UN COMMITMENT
TO CIVILIAN PROTECTION
--------------------------------------------


6. (C) A/S Frazer told Konare bluntly that the AMIS
transition was a defining moment for the AU and for his
leadership. "History will judge us," she said. "The AU,
member states and partners must not allow the GOS to
intimidate us into failing to protect innocent people." She
assured Konare that the GOS would back down from its
opposition to the UN transition in Darfur in the face of a
united African front. UN Security Council members, including
China, would also respect a united AU position on the issue.
Konare denied that either he or the AU had backed down on the
AMIS transition. He merely wanted to share his concerns with
A/S Frazer. "I know the GOS. They will use everything they
can to fight this. We must have a coherent, common position.
You must fight, but your friends and allies must also do
so. And we must begin now. If things continue as they are,
Bashir will win." Konare agreed that the AU's credibility
was on the line, as well as on the need to work closely with
the UN.


7. (C) Frazer agreed with Konare's suggestion that the USG
intensify efforts to firm up the resolve of key African
leaders, including South Africa -- Chair of the Peace and
Security Council (PSC) -- as well as Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt,
and AMIS troop contributing countries. Konare claimed that
Ethiopia should be "neutralized" on the issue. (NOTE: GOE
FM Seyoum told Frazer separately that Ethiopia would stand
firm on the existing plan for AMIS transition END NOTE.) The
AU's June 27 ministerial-level PSC meeting, to be chaired by
South African FM Zuma, would be key. PSC Konare and Frazer
also agreed that southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir could
also galvanize support within the GOS for the UN Mission in
Darfur. Frazer urged Konare not to let President Bashir
frame the AMIS transition as an issue of sovereignty; it was
important to keep the focus on the people of Darfur. She
said the U.S. would try to work behind the scenes rather than
taking a high-profile role on the issue.

--------------------------------------------- -
UN TRANSITION MUST BEGIN NOW WITH PARTNER HELP
--------------------------------------------- -


8. (C) Frazer also pressed hard on the need to commence the
transition to a blue-hatted Darfur mission immediately, and
to build the capacity of the mission now under AMIS using
assets and resources from partners like the U.S., Canada and
NATO. She argued that Sudan and the AU had already accepted
NATO's help with strategic airlift; additional assistance in
other areas should not require additional approval. Konare

ADDIS ABAB 00001781 003 OF 003


said he agreed, and suggested that strengthening AMIS would
be "most easily done through the UN, since they are already
there." The UN should not wait until January, he added. "I
know our (AMIS) weaknesses, and it is more than a lack of
money. More integrated troops could handle the situation in
Darfur, and the AU does not have them." Although still
skittish about assistance from NATO, Konare accepted A/S
Frazer's proposals that the AU prepare to accept NATO Joint
Operations Center Advisory and training teams to commence as
soon as possible and that U.S. and Canada could provide help
with a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) using existing helos in
theater, with details to be worked out through PSC
Commissioner Djinnit and technical staff. When Konare said
that the report of the joint UN/AU assessment mission would
be useful in planning, Frazer replied,"we don't need another
assessment. We need to act now." She agreed that if it
would be easier for individual NATO member countries to
supply assistance on a bilateral basis, that was another way
to proceed now.


9. (C) Summarizing the meeting, A/S Frazer concluded that the
AU, UN and partners must push forward rapidly on all fronts,
including:

1) Standing up to Sudanese pressure in the upcoming PSC
meeting in Banjul;

2) Beginning deployment of UN assets and personnel now;

3) Finding other creative ways to assist AMIS now, to
include: (a) assistance from NATO; (b) assistance to AMIS
from individual countries like the U.S.-Canadian QRF concept;
and (c) bilateral assistance from a partner country direct to
a deploying troop contributor, for example, providing
training or mobility equipment (e.g. APCs, trucks).

Konare agreed with this strategy, and promised to take up the
details with PSC Commissioner Djinnit at the AU Summit
in Banjul.
HUDDLESTON