INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Will Unamid Reach Sixty-Percent by December 31?

Published: Thu 18 Dec 2008 03:43 PM
VZCZCXRO9801
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1818 3531543
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181543Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2567
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001818
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
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: WILL UNAMID REACH SIXTY-PERCENT BY DECEMBER 31?
REF: A) KHARTOUM 1726
B) KHARTOUM 1626
C) KHARTOUM 1694
D) KHARTOUM 1670
1. (SBU) An Reuters article picked up by international media on
December 17 reported that UNAMID will fail to meet its target
deployment goal of sixty-percent by the end of 2008. UNAMID refuted
this and told Embassy Khartoum on December 18 that UNAMID fully
anticipates meeting or surpassing the 60 percent target by December
31. UNAMID currently has 10,937 troops on the ground and
anticipates receiving 1144 additional troops from Ethiopia and
Pakistan before December 31, which will bring total troop strength
to over 61 percent.
2. (SBU) On December 18 Poloff contacted Wolfgang Weiszegger, UNAMID
Deputy Head of Administration, Lt Col Andrew Moeti, Staff Officer of
J5 Military Plans, and Noureddine Mezni, Spokesperson for UNAMID, to
follow-up on the Reuters piece and verify whether UNAMID anticipates
meeting its 60 percent year-end target. Weiszegger was surprised to
hear about the Reuters' report and maintained that "UNAMID is on
target" to meet the 60 percent goal. Weiszegger pointed out that
UNAMID's mandate is for a total of 19,555 military personnel, per
United Nations Security Resolution 1769 dated July 31, 2007. Moeti
reported that the total figure of UNAMID TCC troops on the ground in
Darfur as of December 18 is 10,937, or 55.93 percent of the
authorized total. Moeti expects another 1144 troops to be deployed
before the end of the year, which will bring total UNAMID troop
strength to 61.8 percent by December 31. Moeti provided the
following break-down on troop deployments expected before the end of
the year:
Ethiopian Battalion:
Date of arrival Number of troops
December 19 206
December 20 206
December 22 206
December 24 173
Total: 791
Pakistani Battalion and Hospital
Date of arrival Number of troops
December 19 333
December 21 19
Total: 352
3. (SBU) Comment: It is not clear what Reuters' sources used in
preparing this story. Although Moeti was categorical in disputing
the Reuters' report, post notes that despite his confidence that
UNAMID will surpass 60 percent deployment by December 31, it is
also possible that, due to unforeseen obstacles, UNAMID may fall
slightly short of this goal. However, whether or not UNAMID reaches
60 percent deployment by December 31 or a few days later is
immaterial. The more important issue is whether the battalions
scheduled for deployment early in 2009 actually arrive on time
(before the next rainy season that begins in the summer,) and
whether UNAMID will take advantage of these additional troops to
improve its operational effectiveness and provide security to
Darfurians. UNAMID needs load lists immediately for the battalions
deploying in early 2009: Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and the second
Senegalese, Egyptian and Ethiopian battalions. Post will, of
course, keep the Department apprised of UNAMID's progress on
reaching its deployment goal. End comment.
ASQUINO
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