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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1013, FORMER SUDANESE PM AL-SADIQ AL-MAHDI PRESENTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1013 2009-06-03 12:12 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO9323
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1013/01 1541211
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031211Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2781
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1310
RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA 0022
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001013 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA, AF/SPG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/03/2019 
TAGS: PREL SU CD EG
SUBJECT: FORMER SUDANESE PM AL-SADIQ AL-MAHDI PRESENTS 
SOLUTIONS FOR SUDAN 
 
REF: A. CAIRO 550 B. CAIRO 823 Classified By: Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs William R. Stewart for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(C) Key Points: -- Former Sudanese PM Al Sadiq Al Mahdi told us that the Government of Sudan (GOS) is beset by many problems in the country and has focused on the ICC charges against President Bashir to the detriment of the other problems. -- Al Mahdi praised the efforts of S/E Gration to negotiate a ceasefire between Sudan and Chad because it is a precursor to peace in Darfur. -- The Umma Party is taking a proactive position to resolving the crises with the CPA and in Darfur. Al Mahdi wants to facilitate a roundtable with the five main militias crucial to achieving peace in Darfur. He will travel to Juba in early June to discuss, with the Government of South Sudan (GOSS), ways to make unity attractive and facilitate cooperation with the National Congress Party (NCP) on CPA implementation. -- Al Mahdi noted that if the USG and the Government of Egypt (GOE) can articulate a common vision for all of Sudan they can get all Sudanese and the international community on board. -- There will be three main political platforms during the February 2010 elections. The NCP will promote continuity and stability, the SPLM will focus on creating a "New Sudan" and the Umma Party will try to take a middle ground focused on broadening out the political power in Sudan. -- The Umma Party supports the 2011 referendum, but is concerned that recent attempts by the SPLM to restrict voting to those living in the South would threaten the validity of the referendum.

2.(C) Comment: Al Mahdi just returned from a conference in Irbil, Iraq on unity and justice. Many of his ideas that he presented to us were influenced by what he told us was discussed at the conference. Al Mahdi has extensive plans to engage with many different parties in Sudan. His ideas are well thought out and he presents them in a eloquent manner, but we are skeptical that he has enough political support in Sudan to be able to implement his ideas. We are concerned that Al Mahdi's proposals will only create one more option in the plethora of solution packages to address Sudan's problems. End Comment. ----------------- Sudan's Conundrum -----------------

3.(C) Former Sudanese PM Al Sadiq Al Mahdi told us on May 28 that the GOS is overwhelmed trying to deal with multiple political crises in the country including Darfur, the ICC charges against Bashir, violence and border issues in Abyei and South Kordofan. At the same time, Sudan is also struggling to deal with an economic crisis due the drop in oil prices. He said that the main error is that the GOS has focused on trying to protect President Bashir from the ICC charges. In order to free the President from the ICC, the GOS is trying to use progress on the Darfur peace process and CPA implementation as bargaining chips.

4.(C) Al Mahdi lauded efforts of S/E Gration to negotiate a ceasefire between Chad and Sudan because reconciliation between the two countries is a prerequisite to resolving the situation in Darfur. Al Mahdi said that the problem is that the JEM is well integrated with the Chadian Government and does its bidding. He opined that if S/E Gration is able to reach a sustainable ceasefire this would be a sign of a successful mission because there is no trust between the Sudan and Chad. --------------------------------------------- ------ Umma Party Views and Efforts on Solutions for Sudan --------------------------------------------- ------

5.(C) Al Mahdi stated that Sudan needs a "Taif-type solution" to Darfur that includes the five main Darfuri groups, which he said were SLA-Abdel Wahid, JEM-Khalil, SLA-Minawi, SLA Unity-Bushra and URF-Abu Garda. He opined that these groups can represent the majority of the civil and CAIRO 00001013 002 OF 002 tribal society in Darfur. Al Mahdi said that the Umma Party is willing to host and facilitate a roundtable with these groups. Al Mahdi told us that the solution to the CPA lies in an "Asmara-type agreement" that will bring the CPA parties together for a "national solution." He said that the CPA needs to be reworked to be "comprehensive and inclusive" to include all parties and regions in the country.

6.(C) Al Mahdi told us that the Umma Party is taking a proactive approach to resolving the Darfur and CPA crises. He said that the party is working to get all Darfuris to agree on a declaration that will set the stage for negotiations with the GOS. He said that the Umma party will encourage the Darfuri leaders to use "soft power" to get what is wanted from the GOS. Al Mahdi told us that he will travel to around Juba June 7 to discuss, with the GOSS, ways to make unity attractive and facilitate cooperation with the NCP on CPA implementation. He said that he will encourage unity, but also realizes that if Southerners vote for secession they need to have friendly relations with the North. --------------------------------------------- -------- Combined U.S. and Egyptian Effort Would Pay Dividends --------------------------------------------- --------

7.(C) Al Mahdi believes that the GOE and USG can both play a role in bringing the Sudanese parties together for a comprehensive solution to the country's problems. He stated that the USG and GOE need to realize that problems are not just in Darfur and North-South, but there are North-North and South-South problems. However, Al Mahdi noted that if the USG and GOE can articulate a common vision for all of Sudan they can get all Sudanese and the international community on board.

8.(C) Al Mahdi said that the efforts of the regional countries and international community are essential to reaching solution in Sudan. He said that once the regional countries and international community agree on the solution for Sudan they can exert pressure on the GOS and parties within Sudan to subscribe to the solution. ---------------------------- Elections and the Referendum ----------------------------

9.(C) Al Mahdi told us that both the NCP and SPLM are shopping for coalition partners for the February 2010 elections. He said that the two parties will not run as the Government of National Unity because the groups have polarized views on the future of Sudan.

10.(C) Al Mahdi told us that there will be three main political platforms during the elections. The NCP will promote continuity and stability, the SPLM will focus on creating a "New Sudan" and the Umma Party and its allies will try to take a middle ground focused on "broadening out the political power" in Sudan. He told us that the Umma Party approach is pragmatic because it offer a workable solution to the ICC (reftel A-B) and will reach out to the marginalized areas so as not to exclude any region for the political process.

11.(C) Al Mahdi opined that giving the NCP another term would be disastrous. A prolongation of the NCP power structure would mean continued marginalization of outlying areas and the Darfur and ICC crises. He stated that the SPLM has a possibility to win leadership for Sudan although he opined that the country is not ready for Southern leadership and the "New Sudan." He said that the SPLM needs to have its ideas included as part of the national agenda, but it "cannot take the driver's seat."

12.(C) Al Mahdi stated that all the Sudanese parties support the self-determination referendum of South Sudan. However, he said that recent attempts by the SPLM to restrict voting to those living in the South threatens the voice of 40% of southern Sudanese not living in South Sudan and would call into question the validity of the referendum. SCOBEY