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Viewing cable 09NAIROBI2497, Kenya responds to Sudan tank demarche

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09NAIROBI2497 2009-12-16 14:02 2010-12-08 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Nairobi
Appears in these articles:
http://www.spiegel.de/
VZCZCXRO7793
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #2497/01 3501415
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O R 161415Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0140
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0002
<<240168>>
12/16/2009 14:15
09NAIROBI2497
Embassy Nairobi
SECRET//NOFORN
09NAIROBI2487|09STATE122115
VZCZCXRO7793
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #2497/01 3501415
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O R 161415Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0140
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0002
TAGS: MARR MCAP MOPS MASS PARM PINR PTER PREL KE UG UP SU
SUBJECT: Kenya responds to Sudan tank demarche 
REF: 09 STATE 122115; 09 NAIROBI 2487


S e c r e t section 01 of 02 nairobi 002497

Noforn
sipdis

E.o. 12958: decl: 2019/12/16
Tags: marr, mcap, mops, mass, parm, pinr, pter, prel, ke, ug, up, su
SUBJECT: Kenya responds to Sudan tank demarche

Ref: 09 state 122115; 09 nairobi 2487

CLASSIFIED BY: Rachel Meyers, Deputy Political Counselor, State, POL;
reason: 1.4(a), (b), (d)

1. On December 15, Ambassador Ranneberger discussed the tank
transfer issue with Prime Minister Odinga, who said that the GOK
was committed to assisting the GOSS and that there was "intense
pressure" from the GOSS to deliver the tanks. He hinted that the
GOK might instead transfer the tanks to Uganda (and, he implied,
from there to South Sudan). On December 16, following AF guidance,
Ambassador Ranneberger reiterated to the PM that any further
transfer of the tanks, via Uganda or otherwise, would violate U.S.
law and could trigger sweeping sanctions against Kenya. He also
noted that the likelihood of receiving a waiver for past transfers
of LME to the SPLA since 2007 would be remote if the GOK proceeded
with moving the tanks to Sudan. Ambassador Ranneberger also briefed
Minister of Finance Uhuru Kenyatta on the issue on December 16, and
Kenyatta responded that he understood the U.S. position.



2. xxxxxxxxxxxx, COL McNevin and DAO notetaker met with xxxxxxxxxxxx. 
xxxxxxxxxxxx also attended. McNevin reiterated
the points made by Ambassador Ranneberger to the PM (see para 2)
and noted that we are open to discussing possible future options
for disposition of the tanks so that the GOK is not stuck with
assets it does not need. Before the meeting, xxxxxxxxxxxx mentioned that
in the GOK's view, the tanks belong to the GOSS and that his
government is receiving "increasing pressure" to deliver them. He
added that President Kibaki was personally very angry about this
issue. During the meeting, xxxxxxxxxxxx commented that the GOK was "very
confused" by our position and did not understand why they needed a
waiver, since the past transfers had been undertaken in
consultation with the United States and they thought we were in
agreement on the way forward towards implementation of the CPA. He
added that this was causing a "major problem" between the GOK and
the GOSS. xxxxxxxxxxxx asked about the significance of what appeared to
him to be a major policy reversal, and questioned whether the
United States is rethinking the CPA, increasingly shifting its
support to Khartoum, and/or now seeking a unitary state in Sudan.
xxxxxxxxxxxx asked that the United States explain directly to the
GOSS/SPLA why we are blocking the tank transfer. Following that
discussion, xxxxxxxxxxxx indicated the GOK would like to participate in
a high-level trilateral meeting (GOK, GOSS, and USG) to reach a
collective understanding of U.S. and regional partner countries'
objectives with respect to implementation of the CPA.



3. As McNevin was departing the meeting, xxxxxxxxxxxx called him back and
asked, on xxxxxxxxxxxx behalf, for a list of all DOD programs and
funding for Kenya, due to xxxxxxxxxxxx later today (December 16) in
preparation for an upcoming Defense Council meeting scheduled for
December 21. The Defense Council is chaired by President Kibaki,
and it appears likely that xxxxxxxxxxxx will use the list to underscore
the importance of the U.S.-Kenya mil-mil relationship and to
convince Kibaki not to transfer the tanks. In addition to Kibaki
and xxxxxxxxxxxxx other Defense Council members are NSIS Director
Gichangi, Minister for Defense Haji, Minister for Internal Security
Saitoti, Commandant of the Administration Police Mbugua, and Police
Commissioner Iteere. (Note: The Defense Council is composed
entirely of advisors who are close to the President and come from
his Kikuyu ethnic group or closely related groups. End note.)



4. As directed in ref A, the demarche regarding transfer of
Ukrainian-origin LME by the Government of Kenya (GOK) to the Sudan
People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was originally delivered by Deputy
Assistant Secretary for Defense Vicki Huddleston and Kenya-US
Liaison Office Chief COL McNevin to Kenya Assistant Minister for
Defense David Musila and xxxxxxxxxxxx. COL McNevin also discussed the issue
further with the xxxxxxxxxxxx. In addition, the Political RA Chief met
with Director of National Security and Intelligence Service (NSIS)
General Gichangi on the issue on December 16.The GOK
representatives assured DASD Huddleston and COL McNevin that no
tanks would be delivered to the SPLA for the foreseeable future.
(Note: There are 32 T-72 tanks remaining in Kenya from the
shipment that arrived in Mombasa aboard the M/V Faina. End note.)

Nairobi 00002497 002 of 002


5. xxxxxxxxxxxx also noted that all other transfers
have been done with full disclosure to the United States, and the
GOK has shared all information regarding these transfers without
hesitation. He further noted that stopping this shipment will
incur "big costs" and that "Salva Kir will not be happy." He went
on to state that the GOK may seek waiver support from the
Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and that the basis for the
waiver would be the implementing instructions of the Comprehensive
Peace Agreement (CPA), which allow other nations to support the
modernization and conversion of the SPLA from a guerilla force to a
small conventional civilian military that would be capable of
future integration with the Sudanese national military. As noted in
ref A talking points, McNevin and xxxxxxxxxxxx also briefly discussed
that U.S. legislation does contain a waiver provision. xxxxxxxxxxxx
McNevin held a subsequent meeting with xxxxxxxxxxxx at the
Ambassasdor's request and noted that the likelihood of a waiver
being granted by the United States would be remote if the GOK went
ahead with the tank transfer.



6. Comment: As of 16 December, the 32 T-72 tanks remain on
flatcars at Kahawa Army Barracks in Nairobi. If indeed the tanks
are not going to be transported in the "foreseeable future," we
would expect to see them off-loaded soon and the flatcars returned
to Rift Valley Railroad service. The GOK is understandably
confused, as transfer of these tanks, in their view, dove-tailed
with the goals of the United States to implement the CPA by
converting the SPLA from a guerrilla force to a small conventional
force capable of defending Juba (but not take Khartoum), able to
integrate with a national force, and able to counterbalance the
significant military capacity of Khartoum. Despite the GOK
assurances, there are a number of factors that may lead to the
eventual transfer of the tanks, including: the need to maintain
good relations with South Sudan and keep a friendly ally on Kenya's
unstable northwestern border; the substantial financial losses
Kenya will incur if it does not complete the transfer; the fact
that Kenya has no need to add additional tank assets to its
military; and Kenya's financial and, to a lesser extent,
cultural/ideological links with South Sudan.



7. Over the past two years, KMOD officials have shared full details
of their engagement with the SPLA as we have shared details of our
training program for the SPLA, including combat arms soldier
training, under a May 2007 Presidential Directive. The GOK views
this as a reversal of U.S. policy that has significant
security,financial, and political implications for them. It is
difficult to persuade the Kenyans that transferring this equipment
to the SPLA violates the terms of the CPA and therefore will merit
sanctions if completed when they are well aware that the United
States is continuing military to military security sector reform
assistance to the SPLA.



8. We have been pushing the GOK very hard on the civilian side to
bring about reform and good governance, and have sparked mounting
resistance as a result. Despite that pressure and tension, our
military to military relations have been excellent and our
unimpeded access has been of significant benefit to the USG in
terms of counterterrorism and anti-piracy. Given the competing
policy issues on the table, we welcome ideas to defuse this
situation, discuss options for alternative dispositions of the
tanks, and to harmonize the "apparent disconnect" between the CPA
and U.S. legislation mentioned in ref A. We urge Washington to
consider the GOK's request to convene a high-level dialogue with
the GOK, GOSS, and other relevant stakeholders as soon as possible
to foster a clear understanding of U.S. policy and develop a way
forward towards CPA implementation.
Ranneberger