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Cablegate: Aec Coordinators Meet to Plan Work in the New Year

VZCZCXRO3969
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0011 0031418
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031418Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9656
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000011

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KSCA OTRA EAID CDC SU
SUBJECT: AEC COORDINATORS MEET TO PLAN WORK IN THE NEW YEAR

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: AEC working group coordinators met January 3 at
the behest of the Acting AEC Chairman (the Norwegian Ambassador) in
advance of the first AEC plenary session for 2008. The Norwegian
Ambassador said the NCP and the SPLM had agreed to brief the
Commission on terms of the agreements they had concluded ending the
SPLM walkout from participation in the Government of National Unity
(GoNU) in mid-October. The agenda will also include a discussion of
plans for producing the mid-term report on CPA implementation. END
SUMMARY.

Waiting for Presidential Decree
-------------------------------

2. (SBU) The Norwegian Ambassador, Fridtjov Thorkildsen, told
representatives of the U.S., UK and Netherlands embassies, along
with the new Italian and Kenyan ambassadors, that the two parties
(SPLM and NCP) had agreed that the Norwegian Embassy should chair
the AEC until a new chairman is named in a Sudanese Presidential
Decree. He said that his discussions with Presidential Advisor
(NCP) Sayed al Khatib indicated that the decree would probably be
limited to naming a new chairman, and would refrain from making
changes in the international membership of the AEC. The Kenyan
Ambassador said the NCP had expressed to him its preference that
Kenya chair the AEC. However, he stated that he informed the NCP
that Kenya is not prepared to perform this function.

Next Plenary on January 8
-------------------------

3. (SBU) The newly arrived Italian Ambassador urged maintaining the
January 8 date for the first AEC Plenary of the new year because of
its symbolic importance, one day before the three-year anniversary
of the CPA. With all AEC coordinators in agreement, the Norwegian
Ambassador said he would seek concurrence from the SPLM and NCP.
The main items on the agenda will be (1) a briefing by the parties
on their agreement for resuming their partnership in the GNU; (2)
discussion on forthcoming working group meetings; and (3) discussion
on drafting the required mid-term CPA report. On the last issue, it
was agreed that an ad hoc committee would be formed to establish the
terms of reference for the three-year review. Working group
coordinators agreed not to raise the issue of a high-level
international conference to review CPA implementation at the first
plenary.


Status of UK candidate for AEC Chairman
---------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The UK rep said there was still some way to go before
obtaining approval of the two parties to the candidacy of Sir Derek
Plumley for the post of AEC chair. He thanked the other parties,
particularly the Norwegian Ambassador, for weighing in with the two
parties on behalf of the candidate, and asked the others for
suggestions as to when might be a good time for Plumley to visit
Khartoum to present himself personally to the parties. Participants
agreed with the CDA Powers that the UK Embassy should get the
parties to agree on this point, and that Plumley's attendance at the
January 8 AEC plenary would not be a good idea.

Comments on SPLM team, Abyei proposal
-------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Commenting on the SPLM's new team of ministers in the GNU,
the Norwegian Ambassador opined that while the NCP considers Pagan
Amum a hardliner, it also seemed to believe that Amum's presence
would strengthen the SPLM's presence in the AEC. He added that the
SPLM had still not identified its primary AEC representative, but
that Minister Kosti Manibe would be present at the first plenary.
Presidential Advisor Sayed Al Khatib would probably remain a strong
AEC focal point representing the NCP. Thorkildsen also said the
SPLM had made it known that it had offered to the NCP two options
for resolving the Abyei issue: Either the NCP accept the ABC report,
in which case the SPLM would support the NCP for the presidency in
the 2008 elections; or the SPLM would begin looking for other
electoral partners in the election.

Recruiting new staff for AEC secretariat
----------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Amb. Thorkildsen said the issue of recruiting new staff
members for the AEC secretariat would be delayed pending selection
of the next Chairman.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: We expect Amb. Thorkildsen to proceed with his
interim AEC leadership by pushing for progress in a cautious and
measured fashion, which is what is called for at this time when the
two parties begin their renewed partnership in the GNU. We will
continue to weigh in with the parties on behalf of the UK candidacy
for the chairmanship.

POWERS

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