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Cablegate: Ncp Blames Splm for Late Census and Defends Bellicose

VZCZCXRO4971
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1890 3341355
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301355Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9389
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001890

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF SE NATSIOS
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: NCP BLAMES SPLM FOR LATE CENSUS AND DEFENDS BELLICOSE
BASHIR

REFERENCE: (A) KHARTOUM 1796
(B) KHARTOUM 1612

1. (SBU) Summary: Meeting with poloffs November 27, Center for
Strategic Studies Director Sayed Al-Khatib predicted that the GOS
would attend the Addis talks (he was later contradicted by the MFA,
though it's not out of the question that the NCP will send someone).
Khatib said Abyei should not stop CPA implementation and claimed
that the South has sufficient funds to conduct a census and even if
conducted late would not affect the elections. He characterized
President Bashir's bellicose statements before the Popular Defense
Forces as a "gaffe." End Summary.

2. (SBU) Before the MFA had provided its official response, Khatib
said the NCP would attend the December 5 Addis Ababa Ministerial on
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) implementation. Khatib thought
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) might send Under Secretary
Mutriff Siddiq, who has political weight in the National Congress
Party.

3. (SBU) Turning to the standoff between the National Congress Party
(NCP) and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), Khatib said
the SPLM often accuses the NCP of not being serious about CPA
implementation but claimed this is not true. "We are serious, but
some of their proposals have no merit," such as re-calling the
experts to defend the Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC) report. The
experts repeating their report would be inconclusive, said Khatib.
In the meantime, he claimed the NCP wants to put the interim
administration in place, and not hold up implementation of the rest
of the CPA.

4. (SBU) Turning to elections, Khatib predicted that 2009 elections
will occur on schedule. He conceded that there are problems getting
the census organized, but pointed out that the UN has said that the
main delays are in the South, and are not due to any lack of funds.
(Note: Our understanding is that the GNU has released all funds
required for the census through December.) Khatib added that the
Government of South Sudan, as per the CPA, controls census
implementation in the South. Khatib believes that if the census is
held in February, it likely will not result in an accurate count due
to lack of adequate preparation. He said delaying the census by two
months should not interfere with elections.

5. (SBU) Asked about President Bashir's controversial speech before
the Popular Defence Forces (ref A), Khatib called the statements a
"gaffe" and downplayed their significance. These things have
happened in the past with President Bashir, he said. "The President
is a populist and sometimes gets carried away with the moment,
depending on the crowd he is speaking to."

6. (SBU) Comment: Khatib himself is a likely candidate to attend the
Addis Ministerial if the NCP ultimately agrees to attend (which thus
far it has declined through the MFA). We will continue to remind
the Sudanese that the Ministerial will move forward even if they do
not attend. Khatib's comments on the census indicate that the NCP
is looking to April as a likely date, which could be problematic
given the rainy season. Most observers agree that holding the
census during the rainy season will strongly disadvantage the South.


FERNANDEZ

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