Friday, August 21, 2015

From my Journal for the end of March 2004: Trying to Set up Talks with Darfur Rebels

March 23: Had junior officers over for dinner tonight, part of charm offensive and my new approach to trying to have and encourage fun. Went well I think but I had two martinis. At ten, USAID Roger arrived and we chatted and did some business till just late. We get on fine but I had two martinis. Rest of USAID probably still hates me. Can't please everyone and still do good. Busy day.

March 24: It was a crazy day but worked out ok. Chasing Salah [Gosh]. Looks like the Darfur talks may get off the ground sometime early next week. We launch our group from here early tomorrow. I have to get up at six to say goodbye to Roger [Winter]. Janice, our poloff, is going too. I played a big role in arranging this possibility but few will ever know. But it'll be good if it works to bring peace.

March 26: Had a nice dinner last night with my IGAD colleagues -- Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Kenyan host invited Somalia rep and South African. I really like the Africans. Stayed later than I expected cause Elijah, the Kenyan, wanted to talk more about Somalia. The IGAD countries want US help. Maybe I'll volunteer to do Somalia after Sudan.

March 27: Combined work with napping today. Tried to chase down a rebel leader not yet committed to talks. Also attended a UN reception for the departing UN chief. Standing for two hours was a killer. Last night was the excellent Rec Site dance. Sore knees but good time.

March 29: It seems like the work we did has managed to avoid being derailed by [USAID and French]. Darfur talks look to start tomorrow in Chad. Last minute efforts made here seem to have gotten chief rebel holdout to go. Now if the USAID/French crew don't fuck up the actual talks, there may be hope. But I feel good that the last month of effort has gotten to this point. Sure too bad that god isn't keeping score because that'd be all the credit I ever get. I made this happen in my typical way, mostly invisible but enough showed to get me more enmity than anything else from the USAID shits.

Met with leaders of chief opposition parties today including useful lunch with Sadiq El Mahdi in his pavilion in his back garden. Janice called from N’djamena to say that the arrival of the rebels was a scene out of Lawrence of Arabia. Ah what times we live in here along the margins of the Sahara.

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