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Cablegate: Investment Minister Manibe On Pec, Aec and Cpa Issues

VZCZCXRO8262
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0230/01 0451437
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141437Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9968
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000230

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, AF/SE WILLIAMSON
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON EFIN EINV KDEM PINR SU
SUBJECT: Investment Minister Manibe on PEC, AEC and CPA Issues

REFS: (A) KHARTOUM 226

(B) KHARTOUM 216

1. (SBU) Summary: GNU Minister of Investment and SPLM insider
Kosti Manibe thinks that NCP-SPLM disagreements over the Elections
Law and the census will be resolved, but argued that the AEC needs
to take a more proactive role in resolving such issues. He outlined
SPLM reservations (which the GNU reportedly has ignored) about
candidate AEC chairman Derek Plumbly. Manibe complained that, while
the NCP talks about the unity of Sudan, it pursues policies that
undermine it. He said that his Investment Ministry is working to
encourage foreign investment outside of greater Khartoum, where the
bulk of it currently is concentrated. End summary.

2. (U) In a February 12 meeting with Political-Economic Counselor
and Economic Officer, Government of National Unity (GNU) Minister of
Investment Kosti Manibe reviewed the state of SPLM-NCP discussions
on implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). He also
discussed the relative roles of the AEC and the PEC in resolving
CPA-related issues. Manibe, a native of Central Equatoria State and
an ethnic Kuku, is a high-ranking SPLM insider and a member of all
of its senior governing bodies.

PEC Not Supplanting the AEC
---------------------------

3. (SBU) Emboffs asked Manibe about the relationship between the
international Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC) and the
joint NCP-SPLM Political Executive Committee (PEC), established when
the SPLM returned to the GNU in December, and whether the PEC is
supplanting the AEC as the main venue for the two parties to resolve
festering CPA issues. Manibe replied that the NCP seeks to
marginalize international involvement in CPA implementation and so
tries to avoid engaging in the AEC. However, he said that the
parties also have failed to make significant progress in the PEC.
Progress there has been made only on issues on which the SPLM and
NCP have previously agreed. They have failed to break any new
ground.

Elections Law and Census Forms
------------------------------

4. (U) Manibe said that the NCP and SPLM remain at loggerheads over
the issue of proportions in the draft Elections Law (ref a). The
NCP continues to insist on a 60%(direct)-40%(proportional) split,
while the SPLM is pressing for 50-50 split, to be elected on a
single ballot. This would reduce the cost of the election.

5. (U) Manibe said the SPLM is pressing the NCP to include
questions on ethnicity, residence and religion in the census. The
census forms that have been printed without those questions will
have to be replaced (ref b). However, Manibe said he is optimistic
that the NCP and the SPLM will agree eventually on the Elections Law
and that the census should be relatively easy to resolve. (Note:
The following day, February 13, President Al Bashir decreed that the
census will be held from April 15 to April 30. End note.)

Assessment and Evaluation Commission
------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Manibe confirmed that the SPLM has not decided to accept
UK Amb. Derek Plumbly as the new Chairman of the AEC. Manibe said
that while he has found Plumbly knowledgeable when the two met, many
in the SPLM have reservations, based on Plumbly's career
specialization as an Arabist, including serving as UK Ambassador to
Egypt. Manibe also said that Plumbly's wife is Egyptian. The SPLM
is concerned that this background may color Plumbly's views in favor
of the NCP. (Note: Despite Manibe's assertion that the SPLM had
yet to consent to Plumbly, the following day Sudanese press reported
that President Al Bashir had appointed Plumbly to the post. End
note.)

7. (SBU) Manibe praised the U.S. for its role in brokering the CPA
and in its implementation. He repeated that the NCP is suspicious
of the international partners in the AEC, not only the United
States. Emboffs commented that this is unfortunate. Time is
running short on CPA implementation. If issues continue to drag on
unresolved, it could build up into a crisis a year from now.

8. (SBU) Manibe said that the work of the AEC could be improved,
especially in the four Working Groups. He added that the SPLM would
like the international members of the AEC, including the United
States, to be more proactive. The AEC should not simply wait for
the NCP and SPLM to work out disagreements between themselves in the
PEC and then approve. It has to take an active part in resolving
issues. Emboffs remarked that it would be helpful if the SPLM would
make that point with the members and encourage the members to do
so.


KHARTOUM 00000230 002 OF 002


Wealth Sharing, Unity, and Elections
------------------------------------

9. (SBU) Manibe stated that whatever the outcome of the 2011
referendum on national unity, it would be useful to plan ahead on
wealth sharing between the North and South. He said that there had
been some initial discussion of this, but that nothing ever
developed. Now the SPLM is pretending that no such discussions have
ever taken place. Emboffs commented that this is a typical NCP
strategy, to agree to something and then back away.

10. (SBU) Manibe continued that while the NCP constantly harps on
the national unity of Sudan, it pursues policies that seem intended
to make unity unattractive. It is difficult to fathom their logic,
since it is most in the NCP's interest to make unity work and hold
Sudan together.

11. (SBU) Manibe said that the NCP, while publicly accusing the
SPLM of wanting to cancel the scheduled 2009 elections, has been
pressing the SPLM privately to agree to do so. Manibe admitted that
the SPLM had at first resisted elections during the Naivasha peace
talks in 2004, but it had firmly committed to them in the CPA and
now sees the elections as a key guarantee of CPA as a whole. Asked
about the impact of the recent election unrest in Kenya on Sudan's
election plans, Manibe said that the Kenya violence was worrisome,
but it was more important to hold elections in order to protect the
CPA.

Investment Ministry
-------------------

12. (U) Manibe said that within his Ministry, relations between NCP
and SPLM representatives largely depend on the personalities of the
individuals. He said that the Ministry is seeking to encourage
foreign investment outside of the Khartoum area, where he estimated
80% of it currently is directed. It is working with states to
develop there own investment plans and priorities. He also cited
the need for improved infrastructure, including roads and power, to
bring investment to outlying regions.

Comment
-------

12. (SBU) As we have found to be the case with many other SPLM
officials, Manibe was more comfortable discussing the ins and outs
of NCP-SPLM politics than with the operations of his Ministry.
Manibe was well informed and confident in his views and opinions.
His remarks son the Election Law and the census track closely with
what we have heard from other sources. However, it was remarkable
that within a day of Manibe saying that the SPLM had problems with
AEC chair Plumbly (and Manibe should know since he is an SPLM leader
on the AEC) President Bashir appointed Plumbly to the position.
Though it is possible that Manibe was not fully briefed his by SPLM
peers on the Plumbly appointment, it is likely another example of
the Presidency taking actions without obtaining full SPLM approval.
Although it is not clear who ordered the printing of the census form
-- apparently without SPLM approval on the questions posed -- it
appears to follow a similar pattern.

POWERS

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