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08CAIRO2343 2008-11-12 15:20:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
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DE RUEHEG #2343/01 3171520
P 121520Z NOV 08
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 002343 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/10/2018

REF: A. CAIRO 1603

B. CAIRO 2264

Classified By: Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs
William R. Stewart for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: The Arab League (AL) Advisor on Africa
Affairs said the AL is pleased with the progress that the
Government of Sudan (GoS) has made on the AL's Solution
Package, based on his meetings with numerous Sudanese leaders
in November (reftel A). He highlighted Sudan's improved
relations with Chad, a commitment to UNAMID troop deployment,
and a Sudanese legislative bill, which would make it possible
to try people accused of crimes in Darfur as positive steps
taken by the GoS. The AL believes the Sudan People's
Initiative (SPI) is a starting point for the Qatari-sponsored
talks in Doha. No date has been set for the Doha meeting,
but efforts continue to recruit Darfur rebel leaders to
participate in the talks and there are plans for preliminary
Qatar/AL/African Union coordination meeting. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Zeid al-Sabban, the Arab League's Advisor to the
Secretary General on African Affairs told us November 3 that
he had met with Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor, National
Congress Party (NCP) Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail,
and Sudanese Presidential Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie. Sabban
concluded that the Government of Sudan (GoS) is committed to
using the Sudan People's Initiative (SPI) and Qatari
Initiative to resolve the Darfur crisis because its solution
is necessary to maintain the CPA, satisfy the ICC, and
improve Sudan's relations with its neighbors.


Sudan's Progress on AL Solution Package


3. (C) Sabban said discussions with Nafie focused on the
progress that the GoS made since the announcement of the Arab
League Solution Package in late July. Nafie told Sabban that
the NCP submitted a draft amendment to the constitution that
would change the penal code in Sudan to include genocide and
crimes against humanity. Sabban told us Nafie assured him
that the amendment would be ratified "soon." Sabban
classified the draft amendment as a "major step" in the
process. He said that Nafie was also keen to point out the
improvement in the situation in Darfur, the arrest of
Janjawid leader Ali Khushayb, and Sudan's improved relations
with Chad as evidence of the GoS' commitment to the AL
Solution Package. Nafie told Sabban that Sudan and Chad
would officially re-exchange Ambassadors in the coming week,
approximately six months after the two countries severed
relations over accusations of support for armed rebels.
Nafie also assured Sabban that 60 percent of UNAMID forces
would be deployed by the end of the year, with 80 percent
deployment by March 2009. Sabban said the Arab League
welcomed the GoS' actions, assessed that Sudan had shown
"very good signs" since the announcement of the "Solution
Package," and stressed the AL was working to preserve the
progress. However, he emphasized to Nafie that AL, African
Union and United Nations observation of the Sudanese process
was critical to its success.

4. (C) Sabban said that discussions with Alor were "open and
frank." Alor told him that the NCP's refusal to deal with
the ICC and push for an Article 16 was not in the best
interests of the country, or conducive to achieving peace in
Sudan. Alor instead prefers to deal with the ICC indictment,
and actively defend President Bashir against the charges.



Sudan People's Initiative: A Starting Point for Doha



5. (C) Sabban said there were initial doubts about the
potential for success of the SPI. However, he now believes
that the SPI serves as a starting point for discussions in
Doha. According to Sabban, no date has been set for the Doha
talks. He said the Government of Qatar (GoQ) is waiting to
invite "all the important parties," to Doha, but prior to
talks with the Sudanese parties there will be a preliminary
meeting that will include the Qatari delegation and the Arab
League/African Union committee to share information on what
progress has been made. (note: The Arab League/African Union
committee includes Qatar, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco,
Saudi Arabia and Syria on the Arab side and Burkina Faso,
Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania on the African
side. End note.) When queried about the role of UN/AU Chief
Mediator Djibril Bassole, Sabban said Bassole "knows how to

CAIRO 00002343 002 OF 002

play his cards," and the coordination of his efforts with
Doha and the Arab/African committee is crucial to the success
of the Qatari Initiative. Sabban said Bassole's role is to
engage in shuttle diplomacy with all the players and bring
them to the negotiating table.

6. (C) Sabban told us that discussions with Darfuri rebel
leaders to join the Qatari Initiative have produced mixed
results, but he believes that the involvement of the Darfur
armed movements, at this point, is not necessary for success.
He told us that JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim has expressed his
willingness to go to Doha. Sabban bemoaned the lack of
leadership among the Fur and said current leaders were
"obstacles to peace." He told us that SLA/M leader Abdul
Wahid al-Nur did not want to participate in talks with the
GoS because to do so would "give oxygen to Bashir's regime."
Sabban stated that al-Nur was "too attached to the West" and
"has bad relations with Egypt, Libya and all the African
countries." However, Sabban said Nur is "unpredictable" and
there still is a 30 percent chance he could decide to
participate in the Doha talks. Sabban called SLA/M Unity
leader Abdel Shafie "a mess" and said discussions with him on
his participation in talks were not productive. Sabban also
was uneasy that to date there was little talk of who would
represent the Darfur Arabs at the talks. He said that many
assumed the GoS would represent the Arabs, but he opined that
the GoS did not represent the Darfur Arabs.

7. (C) Comment: The Arab League argues to us that its
"Solution Package" is succeeding in Sudan, and has laid the
groundwork for the SPI and subsequent talks in Qatar.
However, it is evident that Sabban is concerned that none of
the major Darfur rebel leaders have agreed to participate in
the Doha talks. Despite public statements of support for the
Qatari/AL/AU peace initiative by FM Aboul Gheit, Egypt
remains skeptical of the plan (reftel B). The AL will
continue to try to convince rebel leaders to agree to talks
in Doha, but rebel group leaders and members--residing in
Cairo--tell us that AL efforts will not succeed because the
AL is perceived as being too close to the GoS to be an
impartial arbiter.