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Cablegate: Special Envoy Williamson's Meeting with Spla

VZCZCXYZ0364
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0317 0631555
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031555Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0101
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000317

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINS KDEM EAID MARR SU

SUBJECT: SPECIAL ENVOY WILLIAMSON'S MEETING WITH SPLA


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: SENIOR SPLA LEADERSHIP GREATLY APPRECIATES USG
SUPPORT IN BOTH HELPING TO BUILD MILITARY INFRASTRUCTURE AND IN
MILITARY TRAINING, AND THEY EXPRESSED THE DESIRE FOR A CONTINUED
CLOSE WORKING RELATIONSHIP. BOTH LT. GENERAL DOMINIC DIM DENG, THE
MINISTER FOR SPLA AFFAIRS, AND LT. GENERAL OYAY DENG AJAK, CHIEF OF
STAFF OF THE SPLA, ALSO EXPRESSED THEIR RISING FRUSTRATION AT THE
SLOW PACE OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CPA. THE SPLA LEADERSHIP HAS
FUNDAMENTAL DOUBTS ABOUT THE INTENTIONS OF THE NCP ON THE
NORTH-SOUTH BORDER, EXACERBATED BY THE CONTINUING FAILURE TO
PROPERLY SEPARATE FORCES, AND BY THE EFFORTS OF THE NCP TO
DESTABILIZE THE BORDER AREA TO ENABLE IT TO SUCCEED IN CLAIMING MORE
TERRITORY IN THIS MINERAL RICH REGION. THE SPLA WARNED THAT IN
THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, EVEN A SMALL SPARK COULD LEAD TO WIDESPREAD
FIGHTING. FINALLY, THE GENERALS COMMITTED TO THE QUICK COMPLETION
OF THE SPLA DEFENSE WHITE PAPER. END SUMMARY.

------------------------------
SPLA PLEASED WITH U.S. SUPPORT
------------------------------

2. (SBU) DENG AND AJAK, ALONG WITH OTHER SENIOR COMMANDERS OF THE
SPLA, MET WITH THE SPECIAL ENVOY ON FEBRUARY 28 IN JUBA AT THE NEW
SPLA HEADQUARTERS RECENTLY BUILT FOR THEM BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT.
THEY EXPRESSED THEIR GRATITUDE FOR THE NEW FACILITY, NOTING THAT IT
ALLOWED THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME TO HOUSE THE ENTIRE SENIOR
LEADERSHIP OF THE SPLA IN ONE SPACIOUS LOCATION. IT WAS, THEY SAID,
AN IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SPLA FROM A
GUERRILLA BUSH ARMY INTO A MODERN, PROFESSIONAL MILITARY. THEY WERE
ALSO GRATEFUL FOR THE ONGOING MILITARY TRAINING THAT THE USG IS
PROVIDING, AND EXPRESSED THEIR STRONG DESIRE FOR MORE SUCH SUPPORT.

-----------------------
GIVE US THE WHITE PAPER
-----------------------

3. (SBU) THE SPECIAL ENVOY STRONGLY URGED THE SPLA TO FINISH THE
DEFENSE WHITE PAPER IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, HIGHLIGHTING THAT WITHOUT
IT THE USG WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT TO THE
SPLA THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO GIVE. THE GENERALS RESPONDED THAT THEY
UNDERSTOOD THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PROJECT AND WOULD ACT QUICKLY TO
GET A FINAL DRAFT TO PRESIDENT KIIR, WHOM THEY WOULD ENCOURAGE TO
ISSUE IT BY PRESIDENTIAL DECREE RATHER THAN WAIT UNTIL THE NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY MET AGAIN IN APRIL. THEY PROMISED TO DO THEIR BEST TO HAVE
IT INTO AMERICAN HANDS IN THE TIME FRAME URGED BY THE SPECIAL
ENVOY.

--------------------------
SKEPTICAL OF NCP INTENTIONS
--------------------------

4. (SBU) ON DARFUR THE SPLA HAS HELPED THE REBELS POLITICALLY BUT
NOT MATERIALLY. THEY BROUGHT 19 REBEL GROUPS TO JUBA AND SUCCEEDED
IN CONSOLIDATING THEM INTO 4 TO HELP WITH THE PEACE PROCESS, BUT
THEY WERE NOT OPTIMISTIC THAT THEIR EFFORTS WOULD COME TO MUCH
BECAUSE IN THEIR OPINION THE NCP WAS NOT SERIOUS OR COMMITTED TO THE
PEACE PROCESS. KHARTOUM'S GOAL WAS TO TOPPLE THE GOVERNMENT IN
CHAD. IF THEY SUCCEEDED, KHARTOUM WOULD NEXT SEEK TO PUSH FOR A
MILITARY VICTORY OVER THE REBELS, AND THE FIGHTING WOULD CONTINUE
INDEFINITELY. THE GENERALS ADVISED THAT THE SITUATION IN DARFUR AND
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CPA WERE CLOSELY TIED, AND THAT IF THE CPA
FAILED, THERE WOULD BE NO SOLUTION OF THE FIGHTING IN DARFUR,
EITHER.


----------------------------
CPA IMPLEMENTATION TOO SLOW
----------------------------

5. (SBU) THE GENERALS WORRIED THAT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CPA
WAS MOVING MUCH TOO SLOWLY, ESPECIALLY ON THE POTENTIALLY EXPLOSIVE
ISSUE OF THE BORDER DEMARCATION. ONCE AGAIN, THE NCP LACKED TRUE
COMMITMENT TO MAKING THE PEACE PROCESS WORK. THEIR REAL INTEREST WAS
IN GRABBING AS MUCH SOUTHERN LAND AND MINERAL WEALTH AS THEY COULD,
AND THAT WAS WHY THE SAF HAD NOT FULLY FROM OIL-RICH PARTS OF THE
BORDER (THE SPLA HAS ALSO NOT FULLY WITHDRAWN). WHAT WAS NEEDED,
THEY SAID, WAS A TRUE BUFFER ZONE, TO PREVENT CLASHES NOT ONLY WITH
THE SAF, BUT WITH THE LOCAL MILITIAS THAT THE SAF WAS ARMING AND
SUPPORTING WITH THE GOAL OF CREATING INSTABILITY THAT WORKED TO
THEIR FAVOR. THE GENERALS WARNED THAT IF FIGHTING STARTED IT HAD
THE POTENTIAL TO SPREAD ALONG THE ENTIRE BORDER AND ERUPT INTO
ANOTHER FULL SCALE WAR. THE SPLA WAS PATIENT, BUT IT STOOD READY TO
REPLY TO NCP PROVOCATIONS IF REQUIRED. A BUFFER ZONE ALONG THE
BORDER WOULD GO A LONG WAY TO PREVENTING THAT FROM HAPPENING.

FERNANDEZ

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