Cablegate: Dup Negotiates Alliance with Ncp

DE RUEHKH #0509 0970513
R 060513Z APR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Poloffs spoke April 3 with Tag El-Sir Mohammed
Salih, Deputy Secretary General of the Democratic Unionist Party'S
(DUP) Mirghani faction. Salih confirmed that elderly DUP leader
Mohammed Osman Al-Mirghani will soon return to Khartoum from Cairo
despite alleged threats against him by members of some armed groups.
The party realizes it cannot compete in elections on its own, so it
is negotiating an alliance with the ruling National Congress Party
(NCP). Salih claimed that democratization under the Cairo
Agreement of June 18, 2005 had achieved progress in the country,
pointing out that freedom of speech and assembly are now a fact of
life. End Summary.

Al-Mirghani to return soon despite threats

2. (SBU) Speaking to Poloffs in his downtown Khartoum offices,
Salih said that DUP party leader Al-Mirghani would soon be returning
to Khartoum. (Note: The DUP's original Mirghani faction, one of
five factions due to splintering, has been saying that Al-Mirghani
would be returning "soon" for the last six months. End note.) Salih
said the only impediment to Al-Mirghani's return is rehabilitation
of his residence and offices, which had been confiscated by "the
regime" and turned into a hospital. Asked to comment on news
reports that elements of Al-Fatah Forces, an armed movement
associated with the DUP, had threatened al-Mirghani should he return
(charging that the leader had "sold out" to the NCP), Salih
confirmed that threats had been made, but described them as a
"propaganda bubble" and told poloffs the party will take legal
action against those making the threats.

3. (SBU) While the party is concerned about their leader's safety,
Salih said the DUP had arranged Al-Mirghani's return with the NCP
regime. He said Al-Mirghani's son just returned to Khartoum last
week without any problems.

Election Strategy: Alliance with ruling NCP

4. (SBU) When asked what the DUP's election strategy would be, and
whether there was truth to reports that the party wants an alliance
with the NCP, Salih said his party realizes it could not hope to
compete on its own since the NCP controls all the resources. For
that reason, the party is negotiating with the NCP regarding the
terms of an alliance in preparation for the 2009 elections. (NOTE:
In an earlier meeting, Salih told Poloff that the party tries to
keep talks going with all the major political parties. End note.)

5. (SBU) On a related issue, we asked Salih about the recent
defection from the party and to the NCP of several wealthy backers
(reported in REFTEL). He replied that it is understandable that
business leaders need access to the halls of power to protect their
own interests, such as helping with customs problems. However, he
denied that the departure of the backers had caused any further
financial hardship for the DUP. The party was in tight financial
straits before the defections, so the situation had not improved and
is not any worse as a result.

Democratization is here now

6. (SBU) Salih claimed proudly that the provisions of the Cairo
Agreement signed between the NCP and the DUP on June 18, 2005 - with
provisions relating to democratization and political freedoms - had
born fruit for all of Sudan's people. He said the Sudanese people
and the media are now free to criticize the government, even to the
point of calling for the end of the regime. Political parties are
free to meet, and do so regularly, in cities and towns throughout
the country.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: The picture of the DUP (Al-Mirghani faction)
conveyed by Salih is of a political force unsure of its own
continued reason for being, a party that no longer plays a
significant role as political opposition. One faction of the party
currently participates in the Government of National Unity. The
original DUP faction is slowly being weakened by defections to the
ruling NCP (to say nothing of party schisms) even as the party
negotiates an election alliance with the NCP - because that's where
the money is. To a great extent, this lack of vigor and leadership
is the result of Al-Mirghani waiting endlessly in the wings in
Cairo. The DUP is essentially a spent force at this point, only
worth watching in the context of pre-election alliances.


© Scoop Media

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