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Cablegate: Aec Extraordinary Plenary Addresses Abyei: Splm Leaders

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RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0806/01 1471516
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261516Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0917
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 000806

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KSCA OTRA EAID CDC SU
SUBJECT: AEC EXTRAORDINARY PLENARY ADDRESSES ABYEI: SPLM LEADERS
WARN OF WAR

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC)
held an extraordinary plenary session May 25 to address recent
violence in Abyei, a situation that all agreed is a "crisis."
Members of the international community joined AEC Chairman Derek
Plumbly in pressing the two parties to exercise extreme restraint,
to allow unhindered UNMIS access to the entire Abyei area, and to
redouble efforts to agree on implementation of the CPA's Abyei
Protocol. In their presentations, the SPLM and the NCP restated
their prior positions, but agreed on the need for a political
solution (although there was divergence as to as to what this
means). Both sides lamented the suffering endured by the local
population. The SPLM repeatedly warned the region is on the verge
of war if the Abyei crisis is not solved, and said the threat will
remain acute until the Abyei protocol is implemented, including the
ABC (Abyei Boundary Commission) report. The NCP agreed that a
political settlement was urgently needed, and reiterated its support
for the Abyei Protocol, but said that its objections to the ABC
report are well known and remain. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Reflecting the seriousness of the situation in Abyei, all of
the foreign "stakeholders" to the CPA agreement attended the May 25
session. Those addressing the session included representatives of
the embassies of the U.S., UK, Norway, Netherlands, Italy, France
(representing the E.U.'s Slovenian Presidency), EU, African Union,
Kenya (as AEC vice chair), Ethiopia, and the UN. The SPLM in
particular was represented by a high-level delegation of Pagan Amum
(GonU Cabinet Affairs Minister and SPLM Secretary General) and Deng
Alor (GoNU Foreign Minister and SPLM Polit-Bureau member). The NCP
delegation was led by Presidential Advisor Sayed el Khatib.

Foreign Stakeholders urge restraint, access for UNMIS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (U) AEC Chairman Plumbly opened the meeting with a brief review
of tensions in Abyei. He stressed several times that the situation
represents the most serious threat to the CPA in the agreement's
history. Between fifty and one hundred thousand people have been
left homeless and are now IDPs. One of the most alarming aspects of
the situation is that fighting broke out within the JIUs (Joint
Integrated Units). No decision has been taken to allow UNMIS
unfettered access to the area.

4. (U) In turn, every member of the foreign stakeholders spoke up
to second Plumbly's plea to the two parties. U.S. DCM Powers
underscored the gravity of the situation regarding Abyei, the need
for humanitarian access to the area, and the need to implement the
Abyei protocol. Finally, he said, there was a need for an impartial
investigation of the events leading up to the violence. These
sentiments were to be shared by all the foreign delegations.

SPLM and NCP agree on Abyei Protocol, disagree on ABC
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

5. (U) The NCP acknowledged the seriousness of the problem in
Abyei, and said "we want to see this contained as soon as possible."
Fighting is not in the interests of either of the parties. The
most urgent need i for a humanitarian esponsg`to t(e ILPc. UheMQ
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