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Cablegate: Abyei Roadmap Implentation: Dutch Legal Advisor Briefs Aec

VZCZCXRO2542
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0938 1770725
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250725Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1147
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000938

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG
L/AN FOR CHRISTINA SANFORD
NSC FOR HUDSON AND PITTMAN
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO UNSC SU
SUBJECT: ABYEI ROADMAP IMPLENTATION: DUTCH LEGAL ADVISOR BRIEFS AEC

REF: KHARTOUM 928

1. (SBU) On June 23, Dutch arbitration advisor J.G. Lammers briefed
international partners of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission
(AEC) on the Terms of Reference (TOR) on arbitration of the Abyei
boundaries dispute, agreed to by the NCP and the SPLM. Prof.
Lammers said that the two sides have agreed on all of the main
issues involved in the arbitration.

2. (SBU) Under the TOR, the two parties to the arbitration will be
the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement
(SPLM), the two parties to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA). The venue will be the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the
Hague. The arbitration panel will be made up of five members, two
selected by the GoS, two selected by the SPLM, the fifth member to
be chosen by the first four. The GoS and the SPLM will make their
choices from the members of the Court of Arbitration. Lammers
commented that he believed that the two parties had limited their
choices in this way to avoid politicizing the membership of the
panel. Dutch Ambassador Wolfe remarked that the Court of
Arbitration has over 100 years of experience in resolving boundary
disputes, including the dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Thus
the Permanent Court has a long list of precedents on which to draw,
covering any legal eventuality that might come up in the current
dispute. (Comment: Of course, this doesn't mean that the parties
will have the political will to implement the court's ruling, it
just means the court has a long history ruling on such cases. End
comment.)

3. (SBU) The issue for the panel to decide will be whether the
Abyei Boundaries Commission (ABC) exceeded its mandate under the
Abyei Protocol of the CPA when it issued its report on the borders
of the Abyei region. If the panel determines that the ABC acted
within its mandate, then its report will stand as the final borders
of Abyei. If the panel determines that the Commission exceeded its
mandate, then the arbitration panel will determine those boundaries
based on "the area of the nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms transferred to
Kordofan in 1905," per the CPA. Lammers said that the TOR dos not
include an enforcement provision, but that such a provision would be
unusual in a case such as this.

4. (SBU) Separately, Norwegian Oil envoy Anders Hannevik told CDA
that he believes it is a mistake for the parties to resort to
arbitration on the Abyei border. Hannevik believes this "removes
chips from the table" in the negotiation on future oil revenue
sharing arrangements assuming that the South secedes. He also
feared the parties would view the ruling as producing a "winner" and
a "loser." However, Hannevik was pleased that the June 8 Abyei
agreement set a precedent for separating land from oil in future
discussions, since although Heglig is not part of the interim
border, its oil revenues will be shared. Hannevik believes the
international community should begin advising the CPA parties now on
possible scenarios for oil revenue sharing - and other issues that
must be negotiated such as debt, border security, taxes and customs,
etc - to prevent conflict as 2011 approaches. Even if the South
does not secede, Hannevik believes the parties need advice on the
security of the oil fields. Hannevik reported that when he last
traveled to the oil fields in Unity State, he noticed that many of
the "soldiers" in the area actually appeared to be militia or other
armed groups very loosely tied to the SPLA. CDA and poloffs
observed that the presence of armed ethnic militias in oil areas is
a recipe for instability in the long run. CDA noted that one could
eventually see a "Nigerian" scenario, where these ethnic militias
disrupt supplies in order to get more attention or acquire more
funds for local needs.

5. (SBU) Comment: While we agree with Hannevik that an early
discussion of oil revenue sharing scenarios is much needed, we
disagree that it was a mistake to remove the discussion of Abyei's
borders from political negotiations. The parties have been unable
to reach a compromise on Abyei's borders for almost three years and
have often pointed to arbitration as a solution. Hannevik's
observations on ethnic militias in the oil areas are sobering, and
point to the desperate need to encourage real development in
marginalized areas including those where oil is produced.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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