Cablegate: Pagan Amun Threatens to Leave Gnu Cabinet

DE RUEHKH #0740/01 1361038
O 151038Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: Khartoum 728

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: GNU Cabinet Affairs Minister and SPLM Secretary
General Pagan Amun cited irreconcilable differences with SPLM
Chairman and First Vice President of Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit as
his justification for why he intends to leave the Government of
National Unity (GNU) and join his wife in Colorado. Kiir is
reported to be comfortable with Amun's departure, and leading SPLM
officials are not entirely sympathetic with the Minister's
grievances. Despite this, many in the SPLM continue to press Amun
to reconsider a departure from the GNU before the 2009 elections.
Although slated to meet with Kiir again before the start of the
convention, Amun has also met with the divisive GOSS Vice President
Machar on two separate occasions since his threat to depart the
party - meetings which worry the SPLM leadership and international
observers alike. The SPLM convention begi.Q%Q#z\TPu) a public apology in front of the party" he would "never"
work with First Vice President and GOSS President Salva Kiir
Mayardit again. Feeling that he is being forced out of a senior
position in the party in an underhanded way, angry and humiliated as
a result, Amun told Acting CG that he plans to leave Sudan to be
with his family in Colorado. Amun, long embattled as Secretary
General of the SPLM due to his rocky relationship with party
Chairman Kiir, cited irreconcilable differences exacerbated by
"Salva's own demons and insecurities" as the primary motivation for
his departure from Sudan. "Kiir has said he cannot work with me,
and I cannot continue to cover for him in Khartoum, nor serve the
party, without his support." Amun said.

3. (SBU) Although Amun stressed the importance of continuing
American support for Kiir, he said he could no longer remain active
in the GNU. "Salva does not trust me - he believes I am favored by
the party, favored by the Americans, favored by Bashir." Amun
described instances in which he claims he has "covered" for Salva in
Khartoum: spiriting sensitive files to Juba, carrying documents for
the GOSS President's action, and making decisions in Khartoum in his
stead. "Salva is absent from Khartoum, absent from Juba, and
intimidated by the same relationship I have with Bashir that I need
to do my job," Amun claimed, before evisceraTing Kiir's(poorQ
ldAderqHip anl maagemdnt{iQls&- aldeoiNo!He!`aS oeve~!ravQ-Q~ttdD$g Bvun)ndS("Y"tTe0CMCSJfg{fO(Nns|e.@uaQcbdaObQe IG5EqLi3*KuepQIQzJ StWkQWfQ,0g5Q-i(final) Interim National Council meeting,
Amun reportedly took the floor to announce that he was not going to
compete for the position of Secretary General. Amun continued,
noting "I have heard from (Jonglei Governor Manieng) Kuol and others
that Salva has said he can't work with me, and that he has
questioned my role in the oversight of the party's finances, and
while I don't want to split the Movement, I believe the Chairman
should have addressed these concerns to me directly before bringing
them to this meeting." He stated he had raised $32 million for the
party and would not have his integrity questioned publicly. Kiir
responded from the podium "you wait, we must talk privately" but
Amun rebuffed the request, demanding to depart the session owing to
recent illness. (NOTE: Amun was hospitalized May 9 for bleeding
ulcers. Doctors in Khartoum believed he was close to death. END
NOTE). Former Southern Sudan VP Joseph Lagu, GNU Minister for Trade
and Investment James Kok, Unity Governor (and projected SPLM SG)
Taban Deng Gai, and SPLM elder statesman Abel Alier followed Amun
from the meeting to demand he reconsider. Kok reportedly yelled at
Amun at length, emphasizing that he risked the party's standing
nationally and had abandoned the vision of John Garang.

5. (SBU) Foreign Minister Deng Alor described for poloffs May 14 the
intra-party pressure tactics SPLM members were employing on both
Kiir and Amun, most heavily on the latter. Alor appeared
unsympathetic to Amun's demands to remain Secretary General and his
ire over Kiir's preference for Taban. "We are all for the Movement,
and we should be expected to serve in any capacity," he said, "I
asked Pagan today, 'are you really saying you only support the SPLM
if you are SG?'" Like others within the party approached by ConGen
staff, Alor, Kok, GOSS Minister for Energy and Mines John Luk Jok
all expressed concern that Amun's departure would deeply impact the
SPLM in a manner that jeopardized the future status and
implementation of the CPA. While acknowledging that Kiir and Amun
have traded accusations against one another for years, no SPLM
official we have spoken with has sided with Amun against Kiir.

6. (SBU) Vanguard SPLM leaders continue to push for reconciliation
between the two. Rebecca Garang, John Luk Jok, Taban Deng Gai,

KHARTOUM 00000740 002 OF 002

Abdelaziz El Helou, Yasir Arman and Michael Makuei have met with
Pagan separately or in groups for the last eight hours.
Simultaneously, James Kok and GOSS Representative to the U.S.
Ezekiel Lol Gatkueth have met with Kiir. Deng Alor told ConGen
staff that the pair is due to meet the evening of May 14. Noting
Amun's tendency to "become overheated," Alor nonetheless believes
Amun's demand for a public apology by Kiir is an impossible demand.
Unable to reach a compromise through a stalemate of egos and short
of securing the SG slot, it is unlikely that Amun will be persuaded
to change his mind. Equally disturbing, however, is news that Amun
has met with GOSS VP (and soon-to-be ousted SPLM Vice Chairman) Riek
Machar on two separate occasions since May 12. Amun has not QQ6kU) Amun told Acting CG that he plans to fully participate in
the SPLM National Convention and stand for election into the
250-person member National Liberation Council (which will replace
the Interim National Council). "I will still be committed to the
SPLM, as should the United States. Personally, I cannot stay
committed to Kiir." Challenged that he appeared to placing his
personal status above the party's welfare and the future of Sudan,
Amun detailed for Acting CG his rapport with President Bashir. "We
sit shoulder-to-shoulder at meetings, and Bashir jokes with me about
others in the room - he respects me and my word. Salva does not
have the psychological makeup to handle that closeness. Taking away
my status in the SPLM takes away my ability to be a threat to the
NCP. I am nothing then, I am just Pagan."

8. (SBU) Comment: It is possible that at some point during the
convention the mercurial Amun may reconsider his decision to leave
Sudan and join his wife in Colorado, but most observers in Juba seem
to believe Kiir will stand by his decision to remove Amun as SPLM
Secretary General, and that Amun may not be convinced to remain in
his position as GNU Minister of Cabinet Affairs. CG staff will
continue to urge Amun to stay on in the interests of party unity.
CDA Fernandez called Amun the evening of May 14 to urge that he
remain in his position as GNU Cabinet Affairs Minister. Pagan told
CDA his decision is irreversible and he looks forward to spending
time in the U.S. after a quarter century of struggle with the
movement. We anticipate additional developments and party shifts in
what appears to be a highly fluid situation in Juba as the SPLM
party convention is set to begin May 15.


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