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Cablegate: Progress On Spla Defense White Paper

VZCZCXYZ0062
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0315 0631512
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031512Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0095

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000315

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, AND AF/RSA
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINS KDEM EAID MARR SU
SUBJECT: PROGRESS ON SPLA DEFENSE WHITE PAPER

1. (SBU) Responding to a request from SE Williamson during his visit
to Juba, SPLA Defense White Paper Committee Chairman Kuol Diem Kuol
told ConGen PolOff March 1 that he expected the paper to be
completed by March 7 and issued via Presidential Order shortly
thereafter. According to Kuol, GOSS President Kiir himself told the
Southern Sudan Defense Council (SSDC) to have the paper ready by
Wednesday, March 5. In order to meet this deadline, Kiir called an
extraordinary session of the SSDC for March 3 dedicated solely to
discussion of the paper, and scheduled an extraordinary session of
the GOSS Council of Ministers on March 4 to review the final draft.

2. (SBU) Kuol said GOSS President Kiir is "extremely pleased" by
progress on the White Paper. Vice President Machar, and other
ministerial members of the Council worked on the draft paper
throughout March 1 so that GOSS Minister for Legal Affairs and
Constitutional Development Michael Mikuei could review the draft's
compliance with the Interim National Constitution and Interim
Constitution of Southern Sudan on March 2.

3. (SBU) Following the Presidential Order, the SPLA will establish a
series of implementation committees to assist with and ensure the
SPLA's transformation. Kuol said U.S. advisors would be welcome to
serve on these committees. Post will follow-up with SPLA Chief of
Staff General Oyai Deng on the matter following Minister Makuei's
clearance on the draft.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: The SPLA Defense White Paper, begun in March 2007
but unveiled to SPLA allies and "security sector stakeholders" alike
at a GOSS-wide conference in Juba in September 2007, has received
only limited civilian vetting so far. While Southern Sudan
Legislative Assembly (SSLA) MP and vocal proponent of SPLA reform
Peter Bashir Bendi participated in the recent Addis Ababa-based
drafting round (attended by U.S. military advisors seconded to the
SPLA, in addition to select members of the USG-funded SST Training
and Advisory Team), President Kiir did not follow through on his
pledge to appoint five civilian members to the White Paper
Committee, and that, coupled with the paper's promulgation via
Presidential Order, could irritate the GOSS Legislative Assembly.
While Kiir's action is necessitated by USG funding constraints (the
SSLA does not reconvene until April), GOSS credibility would be
greatly safeguarded by a robust and detailed description of
forthcoming deliverables once the SPLA White Paper is officially
adopted. Having responded to SE Williamson's request that the White
Paper be completed within two weeks, the GoSS hopes the USG will
respond to their efforts with increases in U.S. security- sector
assistance. They will likely be disappointed if this is not
forthcoming.

FERNANDEZ

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