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Cablegate: Goss Regional Affairs Underscretary On Splm Polititical

VZCZCXRO9691
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0647/01 1191259
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281259Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0666
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000647

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF S/E WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, DRL, AND EEB/IFD
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID SOCI KCRM SU
SUBJECT: GOSS REGIONAL AFFAIRS UNDERSCRETARY ON SPLM POLITITICAL
DYNAMICS, CHINA, AND THE SUDAN CONSORTIUM

REF: STATE 41697

1. (SBU) Summary. In a wide ranging conversation April 25, the
Undersecretary of the GoSS Ministry of Regional Cooperation said
that the Council of Minister's vote to delay the census in the South
reflected South Sudan's internal ethnic anxieties, that it is
unclear whether President Kiir will run for President of Sudan in
2009, and that China is interested in strengthening its presence in
the South, but that his Ministry lacks the resources to engage right
now. The GoSS hopes that the U.S. will send a political-level
representative to next month's Sudan Consortium to signal that Sudan
remains a high U.S. priority. End summary.

President Kiir and the Census
-----------------------------
2. (SBU) On April 25, Juba ConOffs met with Ministry of Regional
Cooperation (the defacto GoSS Foreign Ministry) Undersecretary and
SPLM insider Cirino Hiteng Ofuho. Cirino noted that he had just
returned from his home village in Eastern Equatoria state, where he
had gone with his family to be counted in the census. CG Datta
asked Cirino's view on what was behind the recent vote of the GoSS
Council of Ministers (later reversed) to significantly delay the
census in the South. Was it a revolt against the authority of
President Kiir, who had endorsed holding the census as scheduled?

3. (SBU) Cirino thought that the opposition was more a reflection
of the dynamics of South Sudan's ethnic/tribal anxieties. He said
that many of South Sudan's tribes fear that the census will indicate
that they are less numerous than they would like to believe compared
to other ethnic groups in the South. There is a fear, he said, of
being shown to be a minority by an undercount (or accurate count)
and thus become vulnerable. In the Council, the Ministers had cast
their votes based on the perceived interest of their native tribes.
The Council's vote on the census was not a reflection on Kiir's
authority. Kiir remains strong and secure as leader of the SPLM, he
said.

Will Kiir Run for President of Sudan?
-------------------------------------
4. (SBU) Asked whether he thinks it likely that Kiir will run for
President of Sudan in the 2009 elections, Cirino responded that it
is a difficult issue. Many in the SPLM think there is no point in
Kiir running, since Southerners are likely to vote for independence
from the North in the 2011 referendum anyway. There is growing
disenchantment among GoSS/SPLM leadership with CPA implementation.
The NCP is not making unity very attractive. Much will depend on
what happens at the SPLM convention in May.

5. (SBU) CG Datta noted that the people of the South seem to be
giving up on the CPA, but observed that it is too early to do so.
Cirino agreed that the SPLM needs to develop a national policy for
all of Sudan, not just for the South, for the 2009 elections. He
said that South Sudan Legislative Assembly Speaker Wani Igga had
just returned from a tour of the North impressed with the level of
potential support there for the SPLM.

Rising Crime in Juba
--------------------
6. (SBU) CG shared a draft letter from the international community
in Juba, expressing concern at the recent rise in violent crime.
NGOs in particular have been targets of robberies, because they must
hold large amounts of cash on hand due to the lack of banking
services in South Sudan. Many are feeling increasingly vulnerable
and are starting to move out of Juba. Cirino noted that the Council
of Ministers is seized with the issue and took up the problem on
April 21.

China in South Sudan
-----------------------
7. (SBU) CG asked about South Sudan's relations with China
(reftel), noting President Kiir's summer of 2007 visit to Beijing
and more recent newspaper reports. Cirino said that the Chinese
have expressed an interest in strengthening political and economic
ties with the South, but there has been little follow-up. Cirino
blamed this on a lack of capacity in his own Ministry to adequately
keep up with multiple issues. Instead, it is focusing its time and
limited resources on developing relations with a few high-priority
partners, e.g., immediate neighbors, the U.S. and the EU. Cirino
agreed when CG Datta noted that many South Sudanese seem to view
China with suspicion because of its close ties to the government in
Khartoum.

Sudan Consortium
----------------
8. (SBU) Cirino asked about the level of U.S. participation at the
May 5-7 Sudan Consortium in Oslo. The GoSS hopes for
political-level attendance by the U.S. (the Secretary or Deputy

KHARTOUM 00000647 002 OF 002


Secretary), even if for just one day. Cirino said that this would

SIPDIS
demonstrate continued U.S. political support for Sudan and would
greatly bolster GOSS President Kiir. The NCP, he said, would like
to keep the Consortium meeting low-key and out of the headlines.
U.S. political-level participation would send a strong signal that
Sudan has not been forgotten.

9. (SBU) Comment: The GOSS, which did not exist three years ago, is
stretched very thin and suffers in many respects from inexperience
and a lack of capacity. There is an interest, as Cirino indicated,
in engaging China, and a realization that doing so might help to
pull China away from support for the NCP in the North, but by
Cirino's own admission it is beyond their ability to engage further
than they already have. They simply do not have the staff who are
capable of handling all of the tasks they currently have before
them. As for the Consortium meeting in Oslo, this is the second
time the GoSS has appealed to the US to send a high level political
delegation. It is true that Kiir's reputation and status in the
South will be hurt if the US is thought not to have backed him up by
helping him to engage the meeting on the issues of Darfur and the
CPA, which he plans to raise. We urge high-level participation if
at all possible; attendance by Special Envoy Williamson would send
the right signal.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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