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Cablegate: Splm Tells S/E Natsios Ncp Immune to Pressure, In

VZCZCXRO9418
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1554/01 2791307
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 061307Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8708
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001554

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF/SPG, AND AF/SE
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO UN AU SU
SUBJECT: SPLM TELLS S/E NATSIOS NCP IMMUNE TO PRESSURE, IN
FIRM CONTROL

REF: KHARTOUM 01479

-------
Summary
-------

1,. (SBU) Immune to pressure from the international
community, the National Congress Party (NCP) remains in firm
control of Sudan, is not interested in resolving the Darfur
conflict prior to elections, and is stalling implementation
of the CPA, five senior leaders of the Sudan People's
Liberation Movement (SPLM) told S/E Natsios in Khartoum.
They said that the NCP is operating from a position of
relative strength with no widespread violence outside Darfur
and has launched an offensive against the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA). In the absence of a holistic, consistent,
and coordinated international strategy for the transformation
of Sudan, the SPLM will concentrate on building the party and
military. S/E Natsios noted recent international efforts to
re-focus attention on the CPA and provide incentives for the
NCP's cooperation. While characterizing the NCP as unstable,
CDA Fernandez said that any improvement in U.S.-Sudan
relations could only be tied to concrete steps and that the
U.S. maintained the ability to exert pressure on the regime.
End summary.

--------------------------------
NCP "Immune" to Western Pressure
--------------------------------

2. (SBU) In an October 3 meeting with S/E Natsios, Minister
of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor, Minister of Humanitarian
Affairs Kosti Manibe, Minister of Transport, Roads, and
Bridges Kuol Maniang Jak, SPLM Deputy Secretary General for
the Northern Sector Yassir Arman, and Blue Nile State
Governor Malik Agar said that the NCP is now immune to
pressure from the international community. The regime
remains in firm control of Sudan, is not interested in
resolving the Darfur conflict prior to elections in 2009, and
is stalling implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA). "We have reached a point where we have to
make some tough decisions," said Alor on the eve of an SPLM
Politburo meeting in Juba scheduled to begin October 4. He
added that the SPLM needs to consider what pressure it could
bring to bear on the regime. Arman noted the lack of a
"holistic, coordinated approach (by the international
community) to bring an endgame to the transformation of
Sudan."

------------------------------------------
CPA Caused Crack but Regime Remains Strong
------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Playing the "devil's advocate," Arman argued that
the NCP was in a better position than before signing the CPA
because of the absence of fighting in Southern Sudan, the
Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Eastern Sudan. He said that
it is important to "take the NCP as they are, without
exaggerating their strengths or weaknesses." While the CPA
had made a crack in the essentially totalitarian nature of
the regime, the NCP is benefiting from an internal situation
where no alternative to its rule existed. Oil is flowing
northward, the NCP maintains "strategic pockets" in Southern
Sudan, and Khartoum is "making a full offensive against the
CPA," said Arman. As examples of the NCP's bold action, he
cited the break-down of the Assessment and Evaluation
Commission (AEC), the slow pace of civil service integration,
and the NCP's refusal to allow First Vice President Kiir to
reshuffle the cabinet ministers in posts designated to the
SPLM (reftel). "These are not indications of weaknesses,"
said Arman. "To me, these are indications of strength."

---------------------------
Strategy to Break Sanctions
---------------------------

4. (SBU) Maniang said the NCP strategy to break free of
sanctions had been to turn East to China, Malaysia and other
Asian countries for economic access and then to show the West
that it is missing important commercial opportunities in
Sudan. President Omar Al Bashir's recent trip to Rome, "the
center of Christendom," was the opening salvo of this
conscious strategy--an attempt to create a domino effect by
luring Italian, and then more European, investment to Sudan.
"If the Italians come, that will be a dismantling of the

KHARTOUM 00001554 002 OF 003


sanctions," said Maniang, who claimed that NCP officials had
described this tactic to him when he was previously scheduled
to accompany Bashir. The SPLM had attempted to cooperate
with the NCP in the last few months, explained Maniang, but
the regime had exploited it. Concurring with Alor, Maniang
said that the SPLM Politburo would now discuss how the party
could go on the "offensive."

-----------------------------------
International Pressure Inconsistent
-----------------------------------

5. (SBU) Inconsistent relations between the international
community, including the U.S., and Khartoum exacerbated the
problem, complained Agar. "During the war in the South, the
international community came up with carrots and sticks," he
said. "That stick never falls on any heads and then it turns
into a carrot. And then, when it's frustrated again, it goes
back into a stick. You never know what it really is."
Khartoum was "not interested" in resolving the Darfur
conflict or implementing the CPA because it knew the
international community would "never tighten the bolt." "We
thought the bolt had tightened," said Agar, alluding to U.S.
sanctions in May, "but now the international community
already changed its tune."

6. (SBU) Arman emphasized that the NCP was "not stupid" and
closely followed international events, such as the war in
Iraq, the looming conflict between the West and Iran, and the
2006 Israeli war against Hezbollah as "part of the
equation"--all of which they believed had seriously weakened
the U.S. If the NCP was panicking, it would strive for good
relations with the SPLM and the U.S., but "I don't believe
this is the situation," said Arman. The SPLM's response
would be to build the party and the military, regardless of
the international community's actions. He urged the U.S. to
keep one eye on Darfur and one eye on the CPA because they
were intrinsically linked. "There will be no election
without Darfur," said Arman.

--------------------------
West Re-Focusing on CPA...
--------------------------

7. (SBU) S/E Natsios explained that the international
community is broadening its focus from Darfur to Southern
Sudan, and, during a ministerial-level meeting in New York on
September 21, "the Western democracies had set up a process
to mobilize on the CPA." He characterized the NCP as "losing
control," saying that on his recent trip to Darfur he had
seen that Khartoum's support among its core "constituents,"
such as the Northern Rizeigat, had eroded. The Misseriya had
begun to fight the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and nations
such as China and Saudi Arabia were ambivalent and pressing
Sudan to fulfill its international commitments. As the NCP's
position weakened, it had become a "bully," said S/E Natsios,
remarking that weaker governments tended to become more
aggressive. He maintained that while the NCP did want to
hold elections and "win," it was limiting implementation of
the CPA "to make its election strategy easier."

------------------------------------
...And Willing to Provide Incentives
------------------------------------

8. (SBU) The NCP sought an improved relationship with the
U.S., said S/E Natsios, and after using pressure to achieve
the USG's aims on Darfur, the U.S. was prepared to provide
incentives for NCP cooperation on CPA implementation. The
U.S. remains skeptical about the NCP's intentions, and he
admitted that such incentives could fall on deaf ears among
the regime's hard-liners. The NCP had "seriously"
miscalculated in believing that outreach to Italy would
change its international standing, noting that Italy had no
influence on Sudan policy or sanctions. CDA Fernandez said
that while the U.S. had told the NCP that the possibility of
improved relations existed, it was tied to concrete issues
such as a resolution to the Abyei dispute and the rapid and
full deployment of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). He
underscored that despite U.S. obligations in other parts of
the world, the USG could take actions to chasten the Sudanese
Government. He encouraged the SPLM to forge greater party
unity, political and military discipline and alliances with
like-minded groups outside of Southern Sudan.


KHARTOUM 00001554 003 OF 003


-------
Comment
-------

9. (SBU) The grim tone and defiance of these senior SPLM
leaders underscores the mood of the movement's leadership in
the run-up to the SPLM Politburo meeting in Juba. They are
deeply concerned that the CPA, the cornerstone of a
transformed and better Sudan, has succumbed to the NCP's
favorite political game: the triumph of form and "process"
over substance and reality. Dismissive of some very real
progress in CPA implementation, the SPLM's fears about the
future now outweigh their hopes about the CPA. End comment.

10. (U) S/E Natsios cleared this message.
FERNANDEZ

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