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Cablegate: Abyei Roadmap Implentation: Jiu Deploys, International

VZCZCXRO2340
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0904/01 1701328
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181328Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1084
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000904

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 KPKO SU
SUBJECT: ABYEI ROADMAP IMPLENTATION: JIU DEPLOYS, INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY DISCUSSES SUPPORT

REF: KHARTOUM 899

1. (SBU) Summary: Elements of the new Joint Integrated Unit were
deploying to Abyei on June 18, as both the SAF and SPLA are
concentrating their regular forces outside the region to be part of
the new unit. The SAF reportedly tried in the June 12 JDB meeting
to walk back the timeline agreed to by the NCP on withdrawing forces
from the region. U.S. and European Chiefs of Mission agreed in a
June 17 meeting on the need to jointly press the two sides to meet
the Roadmap deadlines get the agreement's basic building blocks in
place. End Summary.

New Abyei JIU Deploys
- - - - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) The Abyei Roadmap decrees that a new Joint Integrated
Unit (JIU) battalion will deploy within ten days, i.e., June 18.
During the May outbreak, the SAF and SPLA components of the previous
Abyei JIU fought each other and that unit was hopelessly
compromised. According to the UN Deputy Regional Coordinator for
Abyei, the SPLA troops designated for the new Abyei JIU flew from
Juba to Wau on June 17 and are traveling overland to Abyei as of
June 18, according to SPLM contacts. The SAF contingent reportedly
arrived in Muglad from Khartoum on June 15. The date of their
arrival in Abyei is unknown, though given the relative proximity of
Muglad to Abyei, the SAF contingent should be ready for deployment.


While the Two Sides Concentrate Over the Horizon
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) Both the SPLA and the SAF reportedly continue to
concentrate troops on either side of the 1956 border. Two SPLA
divisions are reported to have moved South and Southwest of Abyei
town, one of which is believed to be north of the 1956 line. UNMIS
confirms SAF continues to be build-up within Southern Kordofan
state.

Stormy June 12 JDB Meeting
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) SPLA sources said that the SAF tried to walk-back the
portions of Roadmap dealing with withdrawal of regular SAF (this
would include the notorious 31st SAF Brigade in the hear of Abyei
town) and SPLA units from the area at the June 12 Joint Defense
Board (JDB) meeting that was to approve plans to deploy a new Joint
Integrated Unit (JIU) to Abyei. SPLA Chief of General Staff Ajak
reported that that the SAF JDB representatives resisted the timeline
for redeploying , "trying to renegotiate the agreement just signed
by their political leadership," but that they ultimately relented.


In Juba, Kiir Takes Charge of Abyei
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) SPLM sources tell ConGen Juba that President Kiir has
personally taken charge of Abyei-related issues in Juba. Although
Kiir initially resisted demands for a robust SPLA intervention
during the May fighting, his patience now appears to have worn thin.
He reportedly told a June 14 meeting of the South Sudan Defense
Committee that he would "reconsider" the June 8 Roadmap agreement if
the SAF 31st Brigade has not left Juba town by July 1.

International Community Confers on Roadmap
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (SBU) On June 17 in Khartoum, the EU Mission convened a meeting
of the EU-Member States, the U.S., and Norway to compare notes on
the Abyei Roadmap and coordinate the International Community's
support of its implementation. CDA Fernandez emphasized the need to
focus on getting the Roadmap's basic building blocks - JIU
deployment, UNMIS patrols, the interim administration - right.
Without these elements in place, the agreement will unravel and
never reach the point where arbitration of the boundary dispute can
actually take place. The CDA reviewed his June 16 meeting with
UNSYG Special Representative Ashraf Qazi (reftel), noting that Qazi
said that local SAF commanders still are prohibiting UNMIS patrols,
on the grounds that they required clarification from Khartoum, and
Qazi's complaint that UNMIS is excluded from Joint Defense Board
Meetings, especially those that discuss the JIUs. The CDA
highlighted the need for the international community to press the
GoS on both these issues. He also flagged Qazi's claim that land
mines were laid in the Abyei region during the recent fighting.
Qazi feared that mines laid by the SPLA in defense of their
positions could pose a particular threat to IDPs returning to their
homes from the south, to which the majority fled.

7. (SBU) Other participants seconded the CDA's comments. Dutch
Ambassador Johan Wolfe said his embassy has been in contact with
UNMIS on providing support and training to the new JIU and to

KHARTOUM 00000904 002 OF 002


police. He added that a Dutch arbitration advisor is coming to
Sudan to brief both sides on arbitral procedures, traveling to Juba
first and then to Khartoum. AEC Coordinator Derek Plumbly noted that
the two sides have now resolved the thorniest issue, sharing of oil
revenues, and he hoped this is a cause for optimism. He urged that
the international partners press the parties to quickly resolve some
key immediate "pressure points:" mutual withdrawal of forces,
freedom for NGOs to return, and the return of IDPs.

Reservations About Arbitration
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8. (SBU) The Norwegian representative noted his embassy's
reservations about arbitration of the boundary dispute. He said
that arbitration should be a last resort if two sides cannot
negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. Arbitration ultimately
will result in a winner and a loser. The side which believes it
lost may reject the decision, resulting in further conflict and risk
to the CPA. CDA Fernandez added that the Roadmap does not specify a
role for the ethnic Misseriya - ie. are they "residents" of Abyei or
nomads? - leaving them in a position to play a spoiler role, abetted
by NCP hardliners. AEC Coordinator Plumbly suggested that a
workshop on arbitration be organized for both the SPLM and the NCP,
to ensure that both sides would hear the same message.

Comment
-------

9. (SBU) The next few days are critical for the implementation of
the Abyei agreement - a true test of whether the NCP is serious
about resolving the Abyei dispute. Vice President Taha plans to
travel to Juba on June 20 to discuss the installation of the interim
administration and the terms of the arbitration mechanism. We will
know by June 22 whether this agreement will hold and whether we may
actually see some progress in Abyei and other areas of the CPA, or
whether the CPA partners are likely to return to the status quo with
an ever-increasing risk of a return to war. Post is counseling both
sides not to let this agreement fail.

FERNANDEZ

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