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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08DOHA854 2008-12-14 07:05:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Doha
Cable title:  

QATAR OUTLINES DARFUR STRATEGY TO SE WILLIAMSON

Tags:   PREL PHUM QA SU 
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PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDU RUEHKUK RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDO #0854/01 3490705
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 140705Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8511
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1134
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0180
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1376
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 DOHA 000854 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2018
TAGS: PREL PHUM QA SU
SUBJECT: QATAR OUTLINES DARFUR STRATEGY TO SE WILLIAMSON

REF: A. PARIS 2251

B. DOHA 839

Classified By: Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron, for reasons 1.4 (b, d).

---------------
(C) KEY POINTS:
---------------

-- Senior Qatar officials described for the Special Envoy the
sequential elements of Qatar's Darfur strategy:
First, meetings between MFA State Minister al-Mahmoud with
UN-AU Mediator Bassole to agree on a common diplomatic
strategy on Darfur (in Doha, late November/early December)
Second, a ministerial meeting of the 12-member African-Arab
steering committee co-chaired by Qatar's Prime Minister, the
Arab League Secretary-General, and the African Union's Jean
Ping. (Doha, mid-December)
Third, a Darfur peace conference that brings together
representatives of the Government of Sudan, rebel groups, and
others. However, no conference will be held if it will not
lead to concrete action on the ground in Darfur. (Doha,
January)
-- At the Darfur conference, Qatar would follow the same
pattern as during the Lebanese mediation: bring the parties
to a hotel in Doha; lock down the hotel; have an opening
ceremony; establish committees and exercise shuttle diplomacy
to bridge the gaps; and ultimately bring the parties to the
same table when it would be productive to do so.
-- Meanwhile, Qatar's Amir, Prime Minister, and MFA State
Minister are deeply engaged in contacts with Sudanese
President Bashir, neighboring states such as Libya and Egypt,
and involved European states, such as France and the U.K.
-- The Prime Minister alluded to financial pressure Qatar was
putting on Bashir, but he stopped short of provided details.
He suggested, too, that Qatar was looking at the money flows
to Bashir, and how to influence them.
-- Ambassador Williamson said Qatar could be more successful
than the P-3 in moving President Bashir to action, but that
success would be contingent on the rebels eventually stepping
up as well. It will be delicate moving them from their
comfort zone, but this is an area where the P-3 can help.
-- Ambassador Williamson noted that the recent actions by the
ICC may make the Government of Sudan more willing to look
seriously now at necessary steps toward a peace process:
power-sharing, compensation, and some autonomy for the
rebels. He encouraged Al-Mahmoud to be firm, realistic, and
direct with the Sudanese Government. Qatar's financial
resources would be of help in securing a deal.
------------
(C) Comments
------------
-- Presidential Special Envoy Williamson's visit was
extremely effective. Ambassador Williamson established key
working relationships with the Qataris, who were candid and
responsive.
-- The Qataris made it clear that they were prepared to work
closely and cooperatively with the USG, realizing that USG
support and involvement was critical to the success of their
initiative.
-- The Prime Minister's comments about financing provide a
brief glimpse into Qatari diplomacy. The Al Thani ruling
family is accountable to virtually no one on its financial
ties to regional states and leaders. That gives the Al Thani
leadership great latitude in using money as a key instrument
of diplomacy.
End Key Points and Comments.


1. (C) In a November 24 meeting with Prime Minister Hamad bin
Jassim Al Thani (Shaykh Hamad), the President's Special Envoy
for Sudan Richard Williamson, accompanied by Ambassador, said
he was pleased to be in Doha to discuss Qatar's Initiative on
Darfur. Shaykh Hamad replied that Qatar needs the assistance
of all parties, and he appreciated the Special Envoy's visit
as Qatar tries to &rise above regional spoilers8 who could
kill a deal on Darfur. The PM added that he and State
Minister for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Al-Mahmoud are looking at
mid-December for the African Union-Arab League Ministerial
Steering Committee on Darfur to meet in Doha for further
consultations.


2. (C) U.S./QATAR SHARE SAME GOAL: Envoy Williamson
responded that the U.S. and Qatar share the same goal: the
desire for concrete results on the ground in Darfur. The
agreement signed in Abuja led to some embarrassment, since
the expected results from it never fully materialized. Close
coordination would allow us to reach our mutual goal:
putting an end to the suffering on the ground. Noting that

DOHA 00000854 002 OF 005


he reports directly to President Bush and is the only Special
Envoy who does so, Ambassador Williamson underscored that
restoring security to Darfur is a U.S. goal that goes beyond
the current Administration; President-Elect Obama and Vice
President-Elect Biden had expressed a keen interest in the
Senate in the positive role the U.S. could play.


3. (C) Ambassador Williamson offered that joint cooperation
on Darfur could serve as a bridge to cooperation across
Administrations and help achieve success on Darfur. The
major challenge is to break the habit where Darfur and
agreements on it are concerned that words do not matter. The
Sudanese Armed Forces and the rebels have both violated
previous agreements not long after they were signed.


4. (C) ROLE OF BASSOLE: Special Envoy Williamson underscored
how well respected is UN and African Union Darfur Mediator
Djibril Bassole, offering that his expertise on Africa would
be an asset to Qatar, as the Qataris seek to alleviate
suspicions in certain quarters of Arab League involvement.
Fortunately, Qatar's successful mediation of the Lebanese
conflict helped differentiate Qatar from the rest of the Arab
League.


5. (C) Ambassador Williamson told the PM it is in the U.S.
interest to support Qatar's Initiative on Darfur, and the
U.S. intends to help strengthen the hand of Bassole and
Qatar. The Special Envoy added that he had told Secretary
Rice that Qatar and Bassole should work together and
complement what each other brings to the mediation effort.
Shaykh Hamad responded that he had told Secretary Rice the
same.


6. (C) USING THE LEBANON MODEL FOR SUDAN: The Prime Minister
observed that bridging internal differences of opinion within
the Sudanese Government would also be required. The PM said,
for example, he detected a rift between the President and
Vice President that would not be conducive to forward
progress. At the end of the day, when the time is right,
said Shaykh Hamad, the government and opposition of Sudan
need to bridge their gaps in Doha. Qatar would follow the
same pattern as during the Lebanese mediation: bring the
parties to a hotel in Doha; lock down the hotel; have an
opening ceremony; establish committees and exercise shuttle
diplomacy to bridge the gaps; and ultimately bring the
parties to the same table when it would be productive to do
so.


7. (C) Special Envoy Williamson cautioned that the biggest
obstacle to the approach is the Sudanese parties, history of
violence and inexperience with peaceful adjudication.
Peaceful discussions take the key players out of their
comfort zone, but this is exactly what needs to happen in
order for Qatar and Bassole to succeed. The P-3 can be of
help in this regard. Khalil Ibrahim benefits from the
biggest armed group and Abdul Wahid the most adherents (1.7
million people in IDP camps). Both must come to the table if
an agreement will be achieved, stressed Ambassador
Williamson. The PM agreed.


8. (C) BRINGING IN CHAD: Ambassador Williamson said it is
also vital for the bleeding along Sudan's border with Chad to
stop. The PM responded that Ibrahim benefits from Chad's
support; President Bashir must also help. Qatar would
continue its efforts with Presidents Bashir and Deby to calm
the border. The PM said the Amir would continue to talk to
President Bashir by phone, and the Sudanese leader was
expected to arrive in Doha November 29. The Amir had offered
to send a plane for President Deby, but he has not confirmed
his participation.


9. (C) It is vital, said Shaykh Hamid, to bring President
Bashir of Sudan and President Deby of Chad to Doha in order
to fix the personal problems between them. Libya remains
sensitive about Qatar's involvement, so the Amir would call
Qaddafi again soon to reiterate that Qatar welcomes Libya's
help and efforts. The PM noted that Minister of State
Al-Mahmoud and Bassole would meet soon (probably the first
week in December) to discuss how to move the mediation
process forward.


10. (C) PRESSURING THE REBELS: Turning to Abdul Wahid, who
is residing in Paris, Shaykh Hamad said the Amir had told
President Sarkozy that Abdul Wahid needs to cooperate or lose
the privilege of staying in France. Ambassador Williamson
said the U.S. agrees and he would make the same point to the
French in early December. (See Ref A.)


11. (C) Special Envoy Williamson returned to the importance
to Qatar of Bassole, a sub-Saharan African who can complement
Qatar in areas where the Qataris will be tainted by its Arab
League affiliation. He stressed again that the U.S. would
support both Qatar and Bassole as the mediation goes forward,
hoping to break the pattern of delay, diversion and denial of
which the Government of Sudan is especially guilty following

DOHA 00000854 003 OF 005


agreements with the rebels.


12. (C) PRESSURING KHARTOUM: The Prime Minister told
Ambassador Williamson Qatar would use financial levels to
bring around the Government of Sudan and that the GOQ had
told Khartoum that Qatar's financial support will stop if it
does not help the GOQ achieve a solution. The PM added that
Qatar is not striking out to do its own thing to resolve the
crisis in Darfur. Qatar's aim is to collect ideas and reach
a plan satisfactory to the region and to the international
community, including on bringing to justice those who may
have committed crimes in Darfur.


13. (C) Taking up the actions by the International Criminal
Court (ICC), Ambassador Williamson noted that these
proceedings are affecting Khartoum's thinking and are
pressure on the regime. While we cannot link Article 16
proceedings to the ongoing mediation, the pressure on Bashir
and those around him can nevertheless encourage them to do
what is in their own best interest. Shaykh Hamad offered
that when ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo visited Doha, the
GOQ tried to broker a deal on the indictments, but it fell
apart over the Sudanese Government's insistence on written
assurances which Ocampo could not provide.


--------------------------


MEETING AT MFA


--------------------------




14. (C) In a separate meeting and lunch with Minister of
State for Foreign Affairs Al-Mahmoud (who attended the PM's
meeting with Ambassador Williamson), the U.S. Special Envoy
welcomed Al-Mahmoud's willingness to accept leadership on a
conflict that was replete with broken commitments and
violence. The U.S. supports Qatar's Initiative on Darfur and
shares Qatar's goal of alleviating humanitarian suffering
there. The Special Envoy recounted in detail the
humanitarian suffering in Sudan based on his visits to
Sudanese camps for internally displaced persons. He
highlighted the violence earlier this year in Abyei, where
schools, homes and hospitals were burned to the ground.
Ambassador Williamson said he raised Abyei and the Sudanese
Government's unfulfilled promise allowing joint integrated
police units to permit the safe return of its displaced
residents as an example of the failure to follow through on
signed agreements that is all too common.


15. (C) NEED TO ESTABLISH TRUST AMONG PARTIES: A major
problem, Ambassador William identified, is the rebel groups,
lack of trust in the Government's promises. The rebels point
to the failed Abuja Agreement of April 2006 as an example.
Minni Minawi signed the Darfur Peace Agreement but eventually
left his office in Khartoum because of broken government
promises. A second government agreement with Minawi ten
weeks ago remains unfulfilled.


16. (C) Ambassador Williamson underscored that he did not
mean to discourage Al-Mahmoud. Rather, he sought to stress
the extent of the challenge to go beyond promises to
performance. The good news is the bleeding on the border
with Chad, international pressure, and the ICC indictments
may make the Government of Sudan more willing to look
seriously now at power-sharing, compensation, and some
autonomy for the rebels. He encouraged Al-Mahmoud to be firm,
realistic, and direct with the Sudanese Government.


17. (C) The Special Envoy said he did not doubt Qatar's
sincerity and that many key countries beyond the Middle East
welcome and support Bassole's and Qatar's efforts on Darfur.
Qatar's substantial financial resources could also help
advance some issues with respect to Darfur.


18. (C) ICC INDICTMENTS A LEVER: Taking up the ICC
indictment issue, the Ambassador Williamson noted that there
are only seven votes at present in the Security Council )
two short of the needed nine ) to defer any indictments.
This is a pressure point on the Sudanese leadership that can
be exploited.


19. (C) WORKING TOGETHER: Special Envoy Williamson provided
Al-Mahmoud with his contact information and made clear that
both he and Ambassador would provide as much support as
possible to Qatar. The Special Envoy stressed that
cooperation on Darfur is a platform that serves as a bridge
between Administrations in Washington and one that he would
help Qatar to traverse.


20. (C) Ambassador Williamson reiterated that Bassole and
Qatar can carry out different functions and complement each
other's efforts in coordinated fashion. There are things
Qatar can do that Bassole cannot and vice-versa.


21. (C) Al-Mahmoud thanked the Special Envoy for his advice
and support and stated that Qatar has no agenda other than
humanitarian. Saving the residents of the camps and solving
the Darfur crisis is the primary problem we face. Al-Mahmoud
said he saw much misery and suffering in the camps. The

DOHA 00000854 004 OF 005


residents told him they do not trust the Arab League. A
solution to what ails Darfur will require a collective
effort. Qatar is &in and intends to be in close
coordination8 with Bassole.


22. (C) BRINGING IN THE REBELS: Turning to contacts with the
rebels, Al-Mahmoud said he attempted to meet with Abdul Wahid
in Paris and was rebuffed. Khalil Ibrahim said he did not
want Arab League involvement. The Justice and Equality
Movement (JEM) plans to send a delegation to Doha, Abdul
Wahid as well. Al-Mahmoud said he will meet with any rebel
leaders to advance the prospects for peace. Unconcerned
about &politicians in hotels or palaces,8 Al-Mahmoud made
clear his sole aim is to save people in the camps.


23. (C) Al-Mahmoud said Qatar aims to hold a conference of
all the Sudanese parties but will not do so if the conference
will not lead to changes on the ground. Al-Mahmoud said he
was clear on this point in his media interviews in Sudan;
Qatar will not embarrass its partners over a lack of
implementation.


24. (C) ROLE FOR KHARTOUM AND ITS NEIGHBORS: On
implementation, Al-Mahmoud said he told the Government of
Sudan we need full implementation of agreements. Vice
President Taha said he would take some action. Al-Mahmoud
observed that the government needs to take action to show the
rebels that we are moving in the right direction. There are
some positives in the Sudanese People's Initiative, but we
can obtain more. The Sudan conflict extends beyond Sudan to
neighboring borders. Libya claims to be on board, but we've
had indications of Libyan slippage. The Amir will talk to
Qaddafi. The Egyptians also say they are with us. Of
course, Qatar proposed extending the Arab League's
involvement to African states. We will work with everyone,
Al-Mahmoud emphasized.


--------------------------


MAIN CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR QATAR, BASSOLE


--------------------------




25. (C) Al-Mahmoud described the main challenges in his
upcoming consultations with Bassole as 1) arriving at a
common position on approaching rebel groups; 2) dealing with
the fragmentation of the rebels in the context of an eventual
issuance of invitations for discussions in Doha; and 3)
whether to build on the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) already
signed or to start from scratch. Alongside the above,
Al-Mahmoud noted the need to transform the contempt for the
Abuja Agreement into a togetherness for forward progress. He
also expressed concern that the 2009 DPA elections timetable
would complicate the current mediation efforts, noting we did
not want to change one problem for another. In the end, we
need to move quickly to alleviate the humanitarian problems.


26. (C) Al-Mahmoud asked Special Envoy Williamson for advice
for three components he sees as vital. 1) Establishing
common understandings of the parties in areas of justice,
compensation, economic development, etc. 2) Identifying and
enacting confidence-building measures 3) Moving toward an
agreement on peace in Darfur and national reconciliation.


27. (C) Against this backdrop, Al-Mahmoud believed it is
important to speak frankly to all parties and that no party
should hold the process hostage. This is why seeking help
from the French to push Abdul Wahid is important. Finally,
Al-Mahmoud had the sense it would be important at some point
to bring civil society on board with a solution. Timing is
the key. He would discuss this with Bassole.


28. (C) Special Envoy Williamson responded that Al-Mahmoud's
reputation for skill in diplomacy did not disappoint.
Responding to Al-Mahmoud's points, Ambassador Williamson said
Qaddafi needs to be a leader on Darfur and it is in Egypt's
interest to forge a solution on Sudan, where the Nile has its
source. Pleased that a JEM delegation was coming to Doha,
the Special Envoy nevertheless cautioned that JEM may be
coming to find excuses for not participating in the mediation
process. As far as groups at the table, Khalil Ibrahim,
Abdul Wahid, and Minni Minawi are vital. The Darfur Peace
Agreement (what Al-Mahmoud termed the CPA) should be
considered a failure, even though some of its elements could
form the basis for new consultations. On a cease-fire, the
U.S. had given consideration to monitoring mechanisms. This
is an area where the U.S. could help. As for elections, no
vote in Sudan would take place before 2010 given the current
state of organization and logistics.


29. (C) Over lunch, Special Envoy Williamson remarked that
there are &too many spoilers and not enough builders8 in
Darfur. Al-Mahmoud said he had the same sense. When the
Arab League-African Union Committee on Darfur asked Qatar to
take the lead, Al-Mahmoud said he insisted on visiting with
the people of Sudan and not make a plan in the office. Now,
said Al-Mahmoud, we are moving toward a plan. Bassole will

DOHA 00000854 005 OF 005


visit; we will develop a strategy as we prepare for a
ministerial of the Arab League-African Union Committee in
mid-December.


30. (C) ROLE OF ARAB-AFRICAN COMMITTEE: Al-Mahmoud offered
that the Committee was designed to work with both Qatar and
Bassole to plan the conference between the rebels and the
Sudanese Government, but the reality is that Al-Mahmoud and
Bassole are coordinating with each other and the Committee
members are merely lending support. Still, it is vital to
keep them on board by consulting with them; this is the
purpose of the mid-December Ministerial which the PM
discussed. In short, said Al-Mahmoud, we are continuing our
homework with Bassole but keeping the others in the picture.


31. (C) On President Bashir's intransigence, Al-Mahmoud said
the Amir continues to make clear to him that Qatar will not
move to a conference without assurances of his government's
cooperation. Ambassador Williamson responded that the rebels
eventually would have to step up as well. It will be
delicate moving them from their comfort zone, but France, the
UK, and the U.S. can help. Qatar, meanwhile, would be more
successful than the P-3 in moving President Bashir to action.



32. (C) Al-Mahmoud said he was optimistic that Qatar and its
partners would succeed, because God knows that Qatar has good
intentions. Ambassador Williamson said that this is also his
sincere wish. He said he would brief President Bush in
writing in early December on his meetings in Qatar and will
see him in person later in the month. The Special Envoy said
he would speak well of Al-Mahmoud and Qatar's efforts to both
President Bush and the Transition Team (which he would also
brief) and was heartened by Qatar's common vision with the
U.S. of achieving compensation, power-sharing and making
progress on the ground to combat the violence perpetrated by
security guards, rebels, bandits, militias, and the armed
forces. Finally, Special Envoy Williamson noted that U.S.
questions about the extent of Qatar's cooperation with
Bassole had been fully resolved.


33. (SBU) Delegation members:

Qatar


--------------------------


Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Al-Mahmoud;
Director for European and American Affairs Adel Al-Khal;
Youssef Khalifa Abdulla Al-Sada (Al-Mahmoud's office);
Khalifa Al-Soweidi (Al-Mahmoud's office);
Unidentified member of MFA Legal Affairs

United States


--------------------------


Ambassador to Qatar Joseph LeBaron;
Special Envoy for Darfur Richard Williamson;
Jana Chapman Gates (AF/SE);
Genevieve McKeel (AF/SE)
P/E Chief Rice



34. (U) Special Envoy Williamson has cleared this message.
LeBaron