Cablegate: Darfur Peace Talks: Declaration of Principles

Published: Wed 6 Jul 2005 02:54 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
061454Z Jul 05
E.O. 12598: N/A
1. (SBU) Summary: The Government of Sudan, the Sudan
Liberation Movement, and Justice and Equality Movement
signed a Declaration of Principles for the Resolution of the
Sudanese Conflict in Darfur (DOP) on July 5. This evolved
after more than three weeks of African Union (AU) mediation
assisted by a final push through a focused negotiating
effort by a team consisting of the United Nations, United
States, Arab League, and AU. UN Special Representative to
Sudan, Jan Pronk, flew in on the next to last day to help
spearhead that initiative. In the final days of the talks,
the rebel movements were under significant pressure from
external parties, including Libya, Eritrea, and, reportedly
one of John Garang's political advisers. The SLM, though
deeply divided, was eventually persuaded by the
international community and its own self-interest to accept
the document. The AU plans to start the next round of
negotiations on August 24. End Summary.
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2. (SBU) The Government of Sudan, Sudan Liberation
Movement (SLM), and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)
signed the DOP on July 5 after a weekend of negative Libyan
and Eritrean interventions. In an elaborate signing
ceremony, Sudanese State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs,
Mohammed Youssif, SLM's Vice Chairman Khamis Abdullah
Abakar, and JEM's Ahmed Tugod Lissan signed the DOP with AU
Special Envoy Salim Ahmed Salim as witness. The final text
includes guidelines for future deliberations and basis "for
a just, comprehensive, and durable settlement on the
conflict in Darfur." These include power and wealth sharing
and social, economic reconstruction, and security
arrangements, including disarmament, demobilization, and
rehabilitation (DDR). The AU announced that the next round
of negotiations is set to begin on August 24.
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3. (SBU) Libyan Envoy Dr. Ali Abdul Salam Treiki arrived in
town to push a deal though prior to the AU Summit in
Tripoli. He and the Eritreans obtained Dr. Salim Salim's
blessing to "work with the parties" on the remaining areas
of disagreement over the text of the DOP. Beginning July 2,
it became evident that Treiki and the Eritreans were
shuttling between the parties to negotiate the DOP's text.
Norway's Special Envoy Ambassador Tom Vraalsen joined
Treiki, whom he knew from their UN days together, as the
Libyan moved between the parties. Other international
partners were not included. During the day, various members
of both the SLM and JEM began complaining about the Libyan
and Eritrean pressure, which allegedly included bribery and
threats of physical harm. In the late evening, the
movements realized that the U.S. and UN were not involved.
Around midnight, the Libyans publicly announced via an
interview on Al Jazeera that a deal had been struck. The
SLM immediately denied the reports. This added to the SLM's
suspicions and concerns about the AU's ability to manage the
process. JEM's position was less transparent and at one
point, team leader Ahmed Tugod Lissan told us an agreement
would be signed imminently.
4. (SBU) The pressure on the SLM eventually backfired as it
created common cause, however temporary, between the
disparate factions on resisting the outside influences.
Internally, however, the pressure, threats, and intimidation
also deepened distrust among SLM members and consensus was
not easily achieved. The SLM rented a room at another hotel
to escape the Libyan team. They eventually succeeded in
getting some privacy even though the Libyans followed them.
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5. (SBU) On Sunday, July 3 the AU called a partners meeting
to explain Saturday's diplomatic efforts. Dr. Salim
reported that there was movement on some issues, including
"voluntary" unity which the GOS resisted and separation of
religion from the state upon which SLM adamantly insisted,
with some language proposed by the Chadians, among others.
The UN's Jan Pronk arrived and Salim asked him and the US
(because of presumed influence with all three parties) to
work with the parties on the finalization of the Declaration
of Principles. The AU and Arab League were added for
balance. The team was given the day of July 4 for a final
effort to get agreement regarding the land use language of
operative paragraph 12.
6. (SBU) Beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 3:30 a.m. on
July 5, the team under UN SSRG Pronk's leadership conducted
three rounds of discussions with the parties. In the first
round, the team elicited from them their minimum and maximum
positions, focusing on the SLM, whose three factions were
equally represented. As expected, the SLM adopted a hard-
line against language which had been forced in by Treiki's
earlier effort and which the GOS and JEM had accepted. In
round two, the team was able to get further agreement from
the GOS and JEM on specific language fixes to the land use
paragraph. The SLM still reserved but appeared to be
listening. In round three, all three parties met for a face-
to-face discussion. Pronk started with the JEM, who
accepted the text, noting their reservations. The GOS then
accepted the text. The SLM's chief negotiator, Abdulgabar
Dosa rejected the text without further explanation.
7. (SBU) At approximately 1:00 a.m. on July 5, Salim called
the international partners together to explain the outcome
of the negotiating team's efforts. All of the partners
vented their frustrations with the SLM. Ambassador Yates
discouraged the AU from holding a 10:00 a.m. meeting between
the partners and SLM at which the partners would vent again
and made it clear that we cannot have a DOP signing with
only two parties, which is where most of the rest of the IC
was headed.
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8. (SBU) Later in the morning on July 5, Ambassador Yates
and P/E officer met with each of the SLM factions, including
Chairman Abdelwahid Nur, Secretary General Mini Minawi's
supporters, and the camp of other non-Zaghawas and non-
supporters of Abdelwahid. (Note: Minawi was in Libya. End
Note.) We outlined to each group the facts as the world will
see them: in effect, that the SLM will be seen as not
wanting an agreement while Darfurian suffering continued.
In addition, we emphasized that while the compromise
language was not perfect, it does give more than adequate
protection for the SLM in negotiating their key demands
during the political and wealth-sharing discussions. The
SLM met throughout the day, trying to obtain internal
consensus to sign the draft DOP. The task was made harder,
according to some sources, because of pressure from SPLM/A
political advisor Hafiz not to sign a document until after
John Garang is installed. Various SLM members told us that
they agreed to accept the document because it was important
for them not to lose the confidence and support of the
international community.
9. (SBU) The SLM overcame its differences and ultimately
came to agreement to accept the text, making a small change
which amounted to reordering the paragraph as well as some
other changes to other sections, two of which were accepted.
The AU's Sam Ibok met with the GOS and the JEM and obtained
their acceptance, paving the way for the DOP's signing at a
plenary ceremony with live national and international media
coverage. After a secession of speeches, Special Envoy
Salim announced that the implementation talks would
reconvene in Abuja on August 24.
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10. (SBU) The SLM's internal divisions, aggravated by
outside players, will continue to plague the process as the
much more difficult implementation issues are addressed. We
are urging the various SLM factions to take advantage of the
momentum of process to get their house in order prior to the
next round. It will behoove us to help facilitate this
reconciliation process, too. For now, all parties are
relieved that this round is finally concluded.
11. (SBU) However frustrating it may have been to require
three weeks of teeth-gnashing negotiation, the DOP does in
fact provide important, essential commitments toward the
resolution of the Darfur tragedy. These include, inter
alia, to: a multi-ethnic, multi-religious Sudan (operative
paragraph 1); democracy, political pluralism, independent
judiciary, and free media (operative paragraph 2);
formulation for separation of religion from the political
process (operative paragraph 3) and other important
commitments done through other paragraphs.
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