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Cablegate: Implementation of Abyei Roadmap; Srsg Expresses Concerns

VZCZCXRO0435
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0899/01 1681453
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161453Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1072
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000899

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SOCI SU
SUBJECT: IMPLEMENTATION OF ABYEI ROADMAP; SRSG EXPRESSES CONCERNS
ABOUT JOINT INTEGRATED UNITS AND LANDMINES

REF: A. KHARTOUM 889
B. KHARTOUM 859

1. (SBU) Summary: President Bashir issued a decree June 15
implementing the legal framework for the Abyei agreement, but an
administration has yet to be named or confirmed. Observers continue
to disagree over which side got the better deal in the agreement,
however everyone agrees that the process could be lengthy, leaving
wide open the possibility of further conflict. UN/SRSG Qazi
expressed concern that UNMIS does not have access to Joint Defense
Board meetings that discuss deployment of the Joint Integrated
Units, and also that the SPLA and possibly the SAF may have laid
landmines outside of Abyei, which could endanger IDPs returning to
Abyei town. End summary.

2. (U) In the first step toward implementing the June 8 NCP-SPLM
Abyei Roadmap agreement (ref. a), on June 15 Sudan's Presidency
codified the agreement's provisions on establishing an interim
administration for the region. Paragraph 3 of the Roadmap provides
that the Presidency would take such action within two weeks (i.e.,
by June 22). In accordance with the Roadmap, Presidential Decree
146 provides for an interim Chief Administrator, to be nominated by
the SPLM, a Deputy, to be nominated by the NCP, and five department
heads. All are to be drawn from residents of the Abyei region. The
Decree also defines the region as that agreed to by the NCP and SPLM
in the Roadmap and depicted by a map appended to the agreement.
These boundaries are provisional, until a final determination of
Abyei's boundaries is reached through arbitration.

3. (SBU) In a meeting with CDA Fernandez June 16, NCP insider and
Director of the Center for Strategic Studies Dr. Sayed al Khateeb
said he believes that the current Abyei agreement "is the best that
can be hoped for" given the breakdown in political dialogue between
the two parties on the issue and expressed appreciation to SE
Williamson for his assistance in the discussions that led to the
agreement. Khateeb believes that arbitration was the only avenue
left for the parties and seemed confident that the NCP will fare
well in arbitration. By contrast, Khateeb said the 2004 Abyei
protocol was a "huge mistake" and was agreed to at a time when both
the NCP and the SPLM were "giddy" with the possibility of finalizing
the CPA and were eager to trust the other side and international
mediators like ABC chair Don Peterson "but we should have been more
cynical."

4. (SBU) Khateeb blamed SPLM Abyei representative Edward Lino for
precipitating the recent problems in Abyei after his arrival in
February 2008, but acknowledged that the Dinka and Misseriya had now
taken matters into their own hands and that the NCP and the SPLM
were no longer in full control of the situation. Khateeb expressed
distrust of the Misseriya Arabs "who are only out for themselves"
and want to retain power in both the South and the North to protect
their interests - and have largely achieved it through the dual
guarantees of freedom of movement and dual citizenship in the
agreement. He expected that the Misseriya will push for even more
favors in Kordofan in return for their acceptance of the latest
agreement.

5. (SBU) In a separate meeting June 16, UNMIS SRSG Ambassador Ashraf
Qazi told CDA that "the SPLM might fare well in arbitration" but
noted that the process could be lengthy and expressed concern about
delays in other items in the CPA - such as elections. Qazi
predicted that, as with other issues in Sudan, the parties will
allow the situation to continue to fester and put off final
settlement of Abyei as well as other CPA requirements such as border
demarcation and elections, allowing the situation on the ground to
reach another breaking point. "Conflict doesn't happen because it's
rational," he noted, but rather because of frustration on the ground
that gets out of control. Qazi observed that the rest of the border
beyond Abyei still has not been demarcated and seems to have been
dictated by power of force on the ground.

6. (SBU) Despite his concerns about the accord, Qazi noted that many
in the SPLM "seemed giddy" about the agreement even though it seemed
like something that could have been arrived at long ago. "The SPLM
got a bloody nose in Abyei, their people had to flee, and so they
had to play it up." He noted that, despite the rhetoric, Salva Kiir
seemed diminished by the Abyei events as he had been by the supposed
re-shuffling of the SPLM in May which in the end only confirmed the
status quo.

7. (SBU) Qazi expressed particular frustration with UNMIS' lack of
access to Joint Defense Board meetings when the Joint Integrated
Units are discussed, and asked for US intervention with the GOS on
this issue. (Note: Per the CPA, UNMIS does not have access to any
JDB meetings; Qazi asked that UNMIS at least be allowed access when

KHARTOUM 00000899 002 OF 002


the JIUs are under discussion since UNMIS is supposed to assist with
support to these units. End note.) Qazi also said that UNMIS still
doesn't have free access to areas outside of Abyei town, and per the
agreement UNMIS will not have access until the JIUs are in place,
"SAF tells us they are still waiting for orders from Khartoum on
what to do". He expressed concern that the parties will drag their
feet putting the new JIUs into place, and urged that the US and
other countries push for this to happen quickly.

8. (SBU) Qazi raised a final issue of considerable concern, that the
SPLA - and perhaps also the SAF - had laid mines to protect their
positions outside of Abyei town. Qazi was particularly concerned by
information that that SPLA has laid mines south of town, since the
IDPs in Agok and Turalei could potentially cross ill-defined mined
areas on their way back to Abyei town. He noted that the SPLA has
traditionally done a poor job in keeping track of its mines through
other parts of the South. Qazi asked for US intervention with the
SPLA on this issue.

9. (SBU) Finally, Qazi warned that the conflict over Abyei
underscored the importance of the CPA and how its potential
unraveling would affect all of Sudan, including Darfur. Given the
tactics of brinksmanship employed by both sides, the possibility of
miscalculation remains high and the first period of the CPA
(2005-2008) "when they could ignore problems and kick them away for
later" is almost over. The stakes are now higher and the margin for
error grows ever narrower. "We need to constantly warn New York and
Washington about the high possibility of further tension and
violence as we get closer to these deadlines," he exclaimed. CDA
heartily agreed.

10. (SBU) Comment: Post will raise the issue of the landmines with
the SPLA/SPLM. If UNMIS' information is correct and mines have
recently been laid, the damage has already been done and the SPLA
must be urged to map the areas where mines were laid as soon as
possible, and ensure that these areas are cordoned off. Post will
also raise the issue of the JIUs with the GOS. The GOS has
previously promised to include UNMIS in JDB meetings concerning the
JIUs, and may simply need an additional push to follow up on these
promises.

FERNANDEZ

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