SUDANESE INTELLIGENCE CHIEF CALLS IDEA OF A US-LED INDEPENDENT DARFUR CEASE-FIRE MONITORING TEAM A "GOOD AND VERY POSITIVE RESPONSE"

Identifier: 
08KHARTOUM1698

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001698

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/23/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KPKO, UN, AU-1, SU
SUBJECT: SUDANESE INTELLIGENCE CHIEF CALLS IDEA OF A US-LED
INDEPENDENT DARFUR CEASE-FIRE MONITORING TEAM A "GOOD AND
VERY POSITIVE RESPONSE"

REF: A. KHARTOUM 1691
B. STATE 122270
C. KHARTOUM 1651

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Alberto M. Fernandez, reasons 1.4(b) a
nd (d)

1. (C) CDA Fernandez met with Sudanese National Intelligence
and Security Service (NISS) Chief Salah Ghosh on 23 November
to discuss the idea of a US-led independent Darfur Cease-fire
Monitoring Team in response to Ghosh's past request for
assistance in instituting a cease-fire monitoring mechanism
(ref B). CDA Fernandez explained to Ghosh that the temporary
team could act as a "bridging mechanism" for monitoring GoS
President Omar Al-Bashir's "unconditional and unilateral"
cease-fire until UNAMID could effectively take on the task
(ref A). "We know that UNAMID has to do this eventually, but
its capability is limited now," said Fernandez. "We don't
want to lose the effectiveness" of the cease-fire declaration
by not implementing a monitoring mechanism within the next
one to two months, he continued. Fernandez told Ghosh that
the USG is offering such an initiative not to criticize the
GoS, but to be helpful. He mentioned that UN and Darfur
rebel group buy-in to such an idea would be necessary, but
emphasized that the USG is sharing the proposal with the GoS
first. Fernandez told Ghosh that in the event the US-led
initiative is accepted by the GoS and other involved parties
and undertaken, the US contracting company hired to
logistically support this effort would not be one that the
regime has outright rejections to such as Pacific Architects
and Engineers (PAE) or Blackwater.

2. (C) Ghosh thanked the CDA for the USG proposal. He
suggested that the US-led team should have enough personnel
to properly carry out its work beyond verification or
assessing blame. "We don't seek to find out who is
responsible for the killing; rather we seek to stop the
killing," said Ghosh. The team "has to be a deployment of
more than 100" and should be assigned to specific locations
and organizations, said Ghosh. "They should deploy with the
GoS troops and the rebel movements and act as more than just
a verification team," he continued. "This way Washington
will know the truth" that it is not just the GoS carrying out
violence against the rebels, but the rebels also attacking
GoS forces, civilians and food convoys, Ghosh implied. It
will be practical to integrate the monitoring team into
UNAMID's forces in order to make it more effective, he said.
Fernandez again emphasized that in the end, UNAMID would have
to act as the permanent cease-fire monitoring force and that
the US-led team would only act as a transitional body. "This
(proposal) is a good and very positive response," said Ghosh.
While he was enthusiastic about the idea, he made it clear
that the GoS decision of whether to accept the proposal is a
political one. Ghosh promised to discuss it with his GoS
colleagues and get back in touch with the Embassy. "We will
work on it, but the political environment makes the
discussion harder; but I will do my best," said Ghosh.

3. (C) CDA also raised continuing complaints that SLM leader
Minni Minawi had made about the lack of implementation of the
September 19 El Fasher agreement seeking to strengthen the
moribund DPA. He noted that Darfur negotiator Ata al-Manaan
had recently said that promised limited funding for
compensation and reconstruction had been handed over to
Minawi, but that does not seem to be the case. Ghosh
reiterated past concerns that any funds handed over to
SLM-MM, without strings, will be wasted or stolen.

4. (C) Comment: Initial GoS reactions by MFA Under Secretary
Mutriff Siddiq (septel) and NISS Chief Salah Ghosh to the
idea of a US-led effort to put in place an independent Darfur
Cease-fire Monitoring Team have been positive. While the USG
tries in earnest to support the sweeping if unrealistic
ceasefire announcement made by GoS President Bashir on 12
November, the GoS must make up its mind whether it is ready
to practice what it has preached (ref C). While the GoS will
have to carefully weigh whether it is ready to swallow its
pride and welcome a US-led initiative to stop the fighting in

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Darfur, for now the USG-proposed monitoring mechanism is the
only one on the table, given UNAMID's lethargy. Rejecting
the plan would make the GoS appear not to be serious in
reaching a comprehensive solution to the Darfur crisis, but
fully supporting it would not be the modus operandi of this
cagey and paranoid regime. One possible scenario is that the
GoS will take its time deciding upon the type of monitoring
mechanism that would benefit it the most, accept it, then
half-heartedly implement the plan. The impending ICC
indictment of President Bashir keeps pressure on the regime
to do the right thing, but this pressure will only last so
long. In an alternate (but perhaps less likely) scenario,
the regime may calculate that it wants to keep the USG
engaged in Darfur with contracted personnel on the ground, in
hopes that this will help avoid a more aggressive approach by
the incoming US administration. End Comment.
FERNANDEZ