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Cablegate: Communist Party Suspends Talks with Ncp

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PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0202 0411300
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101300Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9935
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000202

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, AF A/S FRAZER, AF S/E WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO KDEM SU
SUBJECT: COMMUNIST PARTY SUSPENDS TALKS WITH NCP


1. (SBU) Summary: The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) announced
January 14 the suspension of its coalition-building talks with the
National Congress Party (NCP) following the murder of a student at
Al-Gazeera University. The SCP claims that radical Islamist students
associated with the ruling NCP were involved in the murder. The
communist party said it would not resume talks with NCP until the
perpetrators are brought to justice. End summary.

2. (SBU) In a meeting with Poloff on January 22, Elshafei Khidir, an
SCP political officer, claimed that SCP eyewitnesses at Al-Gazeera
University saw students associated with NCP attack students
associated with the Democratic Front(DF). Elshafei claimed several
cars blocked an exit while students who are NCP members attacked the
DF students with knives, killing one of them. (Note: The DF is a
political front led by the SCP and composed of leftists who are
sympathetic to the SCP, but not formally organized within the party.
They often serve as a tool of the SCP in the syndicates, trade
unions and students unions, where SCP once had a very strong hold.
End note.)

3. (SBU) The communist Party is taking the alleged incident
seriously enough to call off talks with the NCP. (Note: The talks
had been initiated by NCP during the crisis between the two partners
of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), when both the NCP and
the SPLM began a series of consultations with other parties in a bid
to gain leverage. End note.) Khidir said his party's meetings had
been positive; they agreed on the need for reconciliation as well as
a road map to lead the country to peace and stability. His party's
agenda during the consultation with the NCP included: the
implementation of all signed agreements; reaching a democratic
peaceful solution to Darfur problem; finalizing the elections laws;
realizing the democratic transformation; and ending the hardships of
the Sudanese people.

4. (SBU) The NCP agreed to this agenda and the now-familiar
six-member committee format - three from each side - was used to
schedule future meetings and organize efforts to implement the
agenda. The committee's first meeting was to occur Monday January
14. However, following the murder of the student on Sunday, January
13, the SCP suspended its participation.

5. (SBU) Background: The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) was founded
in 1946. It was a significant force in Sudanese politics and one of
the most influential communist parties in the Arab World until 1971,
when an abortive coup-d'etat by pro-communist officers prompted
military ruler Jaafar Nimeiry to launch a crackdown against the
party. The SCP is led now by the elderly Mohammad Ibrahim Nugud and
plays only a marginal role. It advocates a return to democratic rule
and opposes the possible secession of the Southern Sudan.

5. (SBU) Comment: It is not clear precisely what happened at the
university, and reportedly the murder is still under investigation.
Although it seems possible this may have been a feud between
students, the communist party is convinced the attack was
politically motivated. The NCP is continuing its consultations with
most northern parties in the lead-up to elections, and will likely
reach out again to the Communist Party at some point to resolve this
issue. Political activity on university campuses is especially
sensitive, given that two previous regimes were toppled by movements
begun on university campuses. Post will seek additional meetings at
the university to follow up on this particular event but also other
trends, which may foreshadow broader national political trends.

POWERS

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