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08KHARTOUM778 2008-05-20 13:54:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Khartoum
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1. (C) Sudan will not support Chadian rebels in another bid
to unseat President Deby, but rather will seek multilateral
sanctions against Khalil Ibrahim and JEM and will participate
in the African Union mediation between Sudan and Chad, MFA
U/S Mutriff Siddiq told CDA May 20. Siddiq said that to the
surprise of some in the regime, President Bashir immediately
accepted African Union Chairman Ping's proposal for mediation
between Chad and Sudan. Siddiq claimed "we are not in a
position to support the Chadian rebels anyway - we have a
shortage of munitions and arms" because of the amount of
materiel used to repel JEM. However, Siddiq predicted that
the Chadian rebels would probably take advantage of Deby's
weakness and said that the GOS could not prevent the Chadian
rebels from attacking Ndjamena if they are determined to do
so. Although the GOS remains convinced of Chadian support
for JEM, Siddiq said that French Presidential Advisor Bruno
Joubert told the GOS that "Libya was involved" in supporting
the May 10 attack on Omdurman. CDA Fernandez urged the GOS
to avoid any confrontation with Chad as such a move would
freeze the Sudan-US dialogue.

2. (C) With regard to follow-up on the Rome talks, Siddiq
acknowledged that although the GOS plans to provide security
escorts to WFP food convoys into Darfur every 48 hours, this
hasn't yet happened. He claimed that once WFP provides the
necessary information about its convoy departures, the
escorts will begin in earnest. (Note: Polchief will follow
up with WFP May 21 to assess this claim and review
coordination between the GOS and WFP. End note.) Siddiq
confirmed that the GOS had had also pledged in Rome that it
would provide security to UNAMID convoys. Siddiq claimed
this hadn't started because JSR Adada hadn't yet followed up
on the offer, which the GOS communicated to him. Siddiq
criticized UN officials "who are always moving" between
Geneva and New York and are difficult to find in Sudan. It
is in the interests of the Government, according to Siddiq,
to provide this security "while UNAMID is still growing" and
can't defend itself adequately from rebels and bandits. The
GOS is angry about the theft of several UN vehicles by
rebels, in which he claimed the armed UN staff had allegedly
allowed the rebels to take their vehicles without a fight.
Siddiq pointed out that JEM used some stolen vehicles in
their attack on Omdurman, and that banditry has become a
common way for the rebels to resupply themselves.

3. (C) CDA passed the message that SE Williamson would likely
arrive for his next visit May 30, and would like to hold
bilateral discussions June 1 and 2. Siddiq confirmed that
the dates for the visit are fine but asked for greater
details about when and where the Special Envoy wants to go in
Darfur given the particularly unsettled situation there. He
added that Sudan had cleared the backlog of all American visa
requests except for six remaining UNAMID Milobs and that
should be taken care of soon.

4. (C) Comment: The regime continues to exploit the limited
goodwill gained by the JEM attack on Omdurman, which has
allied many in Khartoum with the NCP, at least temporarily.
We note that Umma party leader Sadiq al Mahdi will sign an
agreement today with President Bashir on broad principles for
resolving the conflict in Darfur and participation of
political parties in the elections. The agreement has been
in the works for a while and doesn't represent a serious
break-through since the Umma party will not join the
government, nor is there a "deal" on elections, however the
NCP continues to gain by demonstrating alliances with
political forces in the North. Agreeing to negotiations with
Chad now is a no-brainer for the regime, as Sudan can
continue to pursue its bilateral talks with the US and press
for further sanctions on JEM at little expense, while
surreptitiously probe whether JEM is susceptible to attack by
the Khartoum regime's Chadian surrogates. Siddiq's comment
that the regime is currently running short on munitions is
probably accurate, as the battle with JEM in both Omdurman
and Wadi Sayedna, the arming of Chadian rebels for the
February attacks on Ndjamena not to mention militias in
Darfur, as well as the on-going and escalating confrontation
in Abyei, have probably put a strain on supplies.