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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08KHARTOUM1530 2008-10-17 08:39:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Khartoum
Cable title:  

MINNAWI SEES NOTHING NEW IN BASHIR INITIATIVE

Tags:   PGOV PHUM PREL UN SU 
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VZCZCXRO7892
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1530/01 2910839
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 170839Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2084
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001530 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF/SPG, SE WILLIAMSON, NSC
FOR BPITTMAN AND CHUDSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2018
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL UN SU
SUBJECT: MINNAWI SEES NOTHING NEW IN BASHIR INITIATIVE

REF: A. KHARTOUM 1528

B. KHARTOUM 1521

Classified By: CDA Alberto M. Fernandez, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: A skeptical Minni Minnawi will spend the
next several days trying to get full GOS implementation of a
September 2008 accord which sought to implement the May 2006
Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) at the same time that the much
hyped but (so far) underwhelming Sudan Peoples' Initiative
gets underway. If the confidence building measures are not
taken, Minnawi intends to return to the field in North Darfur
and weigh his options. Minnawi also described the confused
and divided ranks of both Darfur rebels and the Khartoum
regime. End summary.



2. (C) Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) leader and Senior
Assistant to the President Minni Minnawi told CDA Fernandez
on October 17 that he saw "absolutely nothing new" in the
much ballyhooed Sudan Peoples' (Ahl al-Sudan) Initiative
(SPI) launched on October 16 at Friendship Hall in Khartoum
(septel). Despite his skepticism, he was going to attend the
initial follow up meetings in the Gezira State sugar mill
town of Kanana on October 17 before returning to Khartoum.
Minnawi will spend the next 2-3 days trying to get full
implementation of confidence building measures agreed to by
VP Ali Osman Taha last month in El Fasher.



2. (C) Chief among these steps are the first installments of
the Development and Reconstruction Fund and Compensation Fund
outlined in the DPA, some official appointments to positions
in Darfur, funding for the TDRA, and the full establishment
of security mechanisms outlined in the 2006 agreement and
confirmed in the September 2008 El Fasher meeting. Minnawi
said that VP Taha told him that the financial steps would
wait upon the return of Finance Minister Awad al-Jaz who is
now back and indeed was present at the Initiative's gala
opening. "If they can't come through in the next few days, I
will return to Darfur and, believe me, it will not be good
for the NCP," he warned.



3. (C) Minnawi had spent much of the previous day meeting
with dignitaries visiting Khartoum to support the SPI. He
warned the Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs,
Libyan Representative Ali Treiki, and Arab League Chief Amr
Moussa that "the Arabs have zero credibility with the people
of Darfur" and that "if you are trying to save President
Bashir in order to be able to save Darfur, you have it
backwards." It is a breakthrough on Darfur that can help the
President, not the other way around. He noted that, while
the Libyans and Eritreans know a lot about Darfur's complex
reality, the Arab League and Qataris are superficial in their
understanding and instinctively take the ruling National
Congress Party's (NCP) side, to the detriment of Darfur and
its people. CDA agreed and noted that most Arab regimes
naturally gravitate towards each other, "they don't care much
for their own people, why should they care about those in
Darfur?" Minnawi agreed but asked that the US pressure the
Qataris not to blindly follow the Khartoum regime's
suggestions.



4. (C) Minni outlined the results of his discussions with
non-signatories in Darfur over the past few months. He said
that while SLA/Unity had initially leaned towards uniting
with him, Minni's rival and relative Suleiman Jamous had
lately encouraged SLA/Unity to draw closer to Khalil Ibrahim
and JEM. Minnawi said that SLA/Unity's progression into a
motley band of robbers and cutthroats was proceeding rapidly
and fingered an SLA/Unity faction as involved in the
September 2008 kidnapping of European tourists in
Southwestern Egypt. Minnawi said that rebel commanders Bahar
Abu Garda, Adam Bakheit, Ali Mukhtar, and Khamis Abdullah
were still in talks with him but had not yet committed. At
one point, they were so close that they asked Minni to summon
UNAMID and the press for an announcement on the SLA's
reintegration but JEM's and Jamous's machinations had
prevented it at the last moment.



5. (C) Minnawi said that, despite fears in Khartoum of
another imminent, spectacular JEM attack such as the May 2008
Omdurman raid, "Khalil is just not that strong yet". He has
not yet absorbed SLA/Unity and is trying to pick off some
forces from Minnawi to strengthen his hand. "He is not ready
to attack" one of Darfur's state capitals but has standing
orders from Chadian President Deby to fall on the West Darfur
capital of El Geneina when and if Chadian rebels supported by
Khartoum make another lunge towards Ndjamena.


KHARTOUM 00001530 002 OF 002




6. (C) The former rebel leader described the NCP as "still
divided about whether or not to take big steps towards peace
in Darfur." While VP Ali Osman Taha has worked hard to woo
Minni back, hard-liners like Presidential Assistant Nafie Ali
Nafie and MOD Abdel Rahim Hussein are up to their usual
tricks. Minnawi had complained to Taha about regime attacks
burning villages in the Muhajeria region of South Darfur even
as the SPI conference was getting underway. Taha had
responded that the attacks were caused by Arab (Maaliya)
tribal militias and not directed by Khartoum. Minni responded
that the Maaliya and janjaweed don't have helicopters, and
his people had observed logistical support provided to the
Maaliya by SAF choppers, "it is (MOD) Abdelrahim doing this,
just as his boss President Bashir talks about peace."



7. (C) Comment: Minnawi described a paradoxical reality that,
just when the actual parameters of a potential Darfur deal
can be dimly perceived (accelerated UNAMID deployment, a
revitalized peace process coupled with early concessions from
Khartoum, Arab funding for development and compensation),
both rebel ranks and the apparently monolithic NCP seem to be
in disarray and unsure about how best to proceed. He is
absolutely right that many regional powers in Africa and the
Middle East seem more concerned with saving President
Bashir's skin from a possible ICC jail cell than coming up
with a peace deal acceptable to Darfur's fractious rebel
groups and restless civilian population. End comment.

FERNANDEZ