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09PARIS1415 2009-10-21 14:40:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
Cable title:  

CHAD: PRESIDENT DEBY'S OCTOBER 16 MEETING WITH

Tags:   PREL PINR MOPS CD SU FR 
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1. (C) SUMMARY: Chad's President Deby told France's
President Sarkozy on October 16 that he would continue to
build political dialogue and reconciliation in Chad, that
Chad's relations with Sudan were improving after the recent
high-level Sudanese delegation's visit to N'Djamena, that
Chad needed help reintegrating ex-rebels into civil
society, that he would encourage JEM to engage with the
Khartoum government, and that Chad would appreciate French
help with the IFIs. Sarkozy said that France would support
UN and EU efforts to assist with reintegrating ex-rebels
and that France would support Chad's efforts at debt
reduction. Sarkozy encouraged Deby to "go all the way"
with respect to internal political reform, rapprochement
with Sudan and Chadian rebels, and a number of human rights
issues. The meeting was friendly and relaxed, according to
one of Sarkozy's AF-advisors. Khartoum's Special
Presidential Advisor Ghazi Salahadin, who led the
delegation that met with Deby, and South Sudan leader Salva
Kiir have tentatively scheduled visits to France in
November. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) Presidential AF-advisor Romain Serman on October
21 provided a readout on Chad's President Deby's October 16
meeting with French President Sarkozy, a meeting that took
place in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, according to
Serman.

Internal Political Reform


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




3. (C) Discussion began with Sarkozy referring to the
August 13, 2007 accord on political reconciliation in
Chad, with Sarkozy suggesting that the accord remained
viable and that all parties in Chad should work to achieve
its goals. Sarkozy credited Deby for what he had done
regarding Chad's electoral commission and the census, both
important elements of the upcoming electoral process. He
stressed to Deby the need for credible elections. In
reply, Deby provided an update, stating that one sticking
point had been the issue of voter registration cards
(reftel). Deby favored "classic" voter cards that
contained basic information confirming the bearer's
identity. Others, however, favored biometric cards. Deby
thought these were too expensive and a waste of money, but
he explained that certain members of the opposition
supported the more sophisticated cards because they sought
to delay legislative elections. A delay would allow them
and their allies to retain their current positions, which
they would likely lose if elections took place on time.
Sarkozy urged Deby to continue working towards national
reconciliation and that he should "go all the way" and not
settle for half-measures. (NOTE: Serman said that Sarkozy
employed his "all the way" argument with respect to most
other subjects he and Deby discussed. Serman said that
Sarkozy was trying to reinforce the need for Deby to take
forceful action to overcome Chad's problems and not simply
make gestures towards solving them. END NOTE.)

Sudan and the Rebels


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




4. (C) Sarkozy asked about the visit of the Sudanese
delegation to N'Djamena led by Special Presidential Advisor
Ghazi Salahadin, which had taken place a few days before
the Deby-Sarkozy meeting. Deby said that Ghazi's visit had
gone well, with Khartoum apparently willing to make a
number of commitments. Most notably, the Sudanese said
they would make Chad rebels in Sudan move at least 50 kms
away from the Chad-Sudan border and that Sudan would make
efforts to disarm these rebels. Deby indicated that if
Khartoum was sincere in implementing this commitment, he
would consider sending a high-level Chadian delegation to
Khartoum in return. Deby told Sarkozy that he wanted to
"lower the tone" of the Chad-Sudan dialogue, which Sarkozy
encouraged him to do.



5. (C) As he had on the topic of domestic reconciliation,
Sarkozy urged Deby to "go all the way" in terms of
reconciling with the Chadian rebels. Deby said he would
make an effort. He noted one problem where he hoped that
France and other outsiders could provide assistance --
there were now about 6,000 former rebels who had returned
to Chad after choosing to leave the rebel movement. These
rebels could not be absorbed into Chad's army and therefore
needed to be reintegrated into civil society. Sarkozy said
that France would try to provide assistance, referring to

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UN and/or EU programs that could serve as vehicles for
delivering the help Chad needs.

JEM
---


6. (C) Serman said that Deby made a brief reference to
JEM and Khalil Ibrahim, saying that he would urge Khalil
Ibrahim to engage with the Khartoum government and that JEM
should participate whenever possible in other fora devoted
to Sudan/Darfur.

IFIs


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




7. (C) In a short exchange on the IFIs and in response to
Deby's request, Sarkozy said that France would try to help
Chad in its debt reduction efforts,

Human Rights


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




8. (C) Sarkozy raised the case of Ibni Oumar Mahamat
Saleh, one of the three opposition leaders who disappeared
during the rebels' February 2008 incursion into N'Djamena.
His is the only one of the three cases to remain
unresolved. Sarkozy urged Deby to carry out an
investigation of the case and issue a report. Deby
indicated that he would "do the maximum" to resolve the
matter. The two leaders also discussed the Koro Toro
prison in northern Chad. Serman reported that Sarkozy
indicated to Deby the need for some sort of visit to the
prison in response to concerns that had been expressed
about possible human rights abuses there. Deby, Serman
reported, asserted that neither the UN nor ICRC had ever
asked to visit the facility.

Possible Sudanese Visits to France


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




9. (C) Serman said that Ghazi and South Sudan President
Salva Kiir had made tentative plans to visit France,
separately, in November. Nothing was set yet but Serman
said that preparations had begun for such visits.

Chad Needs to Keep Working


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




10. (C) Serman summed up by saying that Sarkozy's main
message to Deby was to continue working on domestic issues,
relations with Sudan, and reconciliation with rebel
elements. He advised Deby to persist and to build
momentum, rather than to engage on these issues in fits and
starts.

RIVKIN