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Cablegate: Embassy Hears Misseriya Side of the Abyei Situation

VZCZCXRO2574
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0939/01 1770755
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250755Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1148
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 000939

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PINR EAID SOCI SU
SUBJECT: EMBASSY HEARS MISSERIYA SIDE OF THE ABYEI SITUATION

1. SUMMARY: On June 23 and 24, two large groups of Abyei's Arab
Misseriya leadership in Khartoum met CDA Fernandez at the Embassy.
Both groups warmly praised Embassy's initiative for this outreach
and inviting them to the U.S. Embassy, but ticked-off a list of many
complaints including: alleged U.S. bias in favor of the Dinka Ngok;
the inequitable distribution of U.S. aid to south Sudan; and the
U.S.'s role in drafting the Abyei protocol and ABC report. Despite
these complaints, both groups encouraged the U.S. to play an
important role through hosting reconciliation talks between the
Dinka Ngok and Misseriya and increasing development assistance that
crosses ethnic lines. END SUMMARY

INTELLECTUALS
- - - - - - -
2. On June 23, a group of Arab Misseriya intellectuals met with CDA
Fernandez at the U.S. Embassy. The first speaker and leader of the
group, Dr. Hassan Mohamed Hamad, read a prepared paper (text
attached in para 11.) Dr. Abu Al Gasim Gor followed Hamad, calling
for a U.S.-sponsored conflict-resolution conference between the
intellectuals of the two tribes. Gor asserted, as other Misseriya
have in the past, that the conflict is not between Misseriya and
Dinka, but has come "from above." He mentioned that there are more
than 3000 Dinka among the IDPs that fled from Abyei to the largely
Misseriya town of Muglad. Gor said that they are welcome for now
but not forever. Gor also alleged a lack of USAID assistance to the
Misseriya area, to which the CDA and AIDoff replied that the USG has
many ongoing and planned humanitarian and development projects for
the Misseriya. CDA stated that one such project, an electrification
project in Abyei which would have benefited both the Dinka Ngok and
Misseriya, was intentionally targeted and destroyed last month in
Abyei when it was under SAF control. AIDoff noted that, whatever
the facts, it is widely believed that it was vandalized by Misseriya
militia. CDA Fernandez also stated that the Misseriya will suffer
from this vandalism, as they could have been the next recipients of
similar efforts, but now the international community will focus on
rebuilding Abyei.

3. Nimir Babo Nimir thanked the CDA for his frankness, but strongly
criticized the Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC) report, alleging that
the U.S. is responsible for the document and that it is one of the
reasons for Abyei's current problems. He stated that the U.S.
should play a role in solving the crisis although it has been biased
towards the Dinka Ngok in the past, he asserted, in particular
because the U.S. and Dinka share a common religion.

4. Dr. Mohamed Farah Jibreel stated that Abyei has suffered more
from 2005-2007 than it did during the years of outright war between
the North and the South. He said that this so-called period of
peace has been devastating to Abyei. He said that the U.S. as a
superpower has not played a positive role in the conflict,
especially through issuing the ABC report and favoring the Dinka
Ngok over the Misseriya. According to Jibreel, these two things
have created a sense of injustice and inequality which has led the
Misseriya to violence. He stated that the U.S. acknowledged that
Abyei is a national problem and if the U.S.'s biased policies
continue it will create hatred towards the USA. Abdallah concluded
that in order to encourage the co-existence in the area, the U.S.
should support joint development projects to strengthen the
relations of the two tribes.

COMMUNITY LEADERS
- - - - - - - - -
5. Misseriya community leaders echoed many similar concerns on June
24. Former parliamentarian Al Khair Al Faheem El-Mekki opened
stating the Abyei Protocol is a product of U.S. Senator (and former
Special Envoy for Sudan) John Danforth. He added that this document
and the Abyei Road Map were drafted without the participation of the
people indigenous to Abyei. "We have been living with the Dinka for
more than 233 years, and we are looking for a just and courageous
initiative from the U.S. to solve the issue and avoid
confrontation," stated Mekki. Mekki said that there should be a
U.S. led initiative to support the Roadmap, although "America and
the international community are biased against the Misseriya and
their media portrays us as killers of Dinka and as some sort of
janjaweed."

6. Hassan Subahi repeated Mekki's concerns, adding that he has
little faith in the Abyei Roadmap, as the local communities were
neglected in the agreement and problems will come with its
implementation. According to Subahi, the U.S. officials view the
Misseriya as a militia or Islamic movement. CDA Fernandez agreed
that U.S. media and some groups in Washington have a distorted view
of the Misseriya, but that U.S. presence in Sudan has a more nuanced
and complex understanding. Subahi closed his remarks asking, "What
can we do to attract the U.S. to solve our problem?"

7. El-Sadiq Babo Nimir charged that the U.S. has been biased
historically in favor of the Dinka, as U.S. officials relied only on

KHARTOUM 00000939 002 OF 003


the views of US-based Dinka intellectual Dr. Francis Deng. Nimir
also stated that the Abyei Road Map "is not the solution," as
transparent arbitration is needed. Nimir stated that if Abyei is
not quickly solved "the CPA will collapse." Nimir stated that the
Misseriya need more development and assistance, particularly in
Muglad. Omda Mohamed Hamad Abdelgalil agreed with Nimir, saying
that the Misseriya have been marginalized and ignored, and are
willing to live peacefully and in co-existence with the Dinka Ngok.

8. Rahma Abdel Rahman El-Nour, the Misseriya Omda of Abyei, said
that since 2005 the situation in Abyei has deteriorated. He claimed
that in 2005 he was arrested and tortured by the SPLA. He too
asserted that most of the international assistance goes to Dinka
areas and that the U.S. has a distorted view of the Misseriya.
Abdel Rahman Hassan Omer (ex-commissioner of Abyei) and Al-Nazeer
Gibriel al Goni both added that there is the possibility for real
co-existence between the Dinka Ngok and Misseriya. They called for
U.S. sponsored conference to discuss this issue, as "Abyei has
become a political issue instigated by the NCP and SPLM without
considering the negative impacts on the two tribes." They noted
that Misseriya just want prosperity, peace and stability to herd
their cattle, they are less politicized than Americans think.

9. The leaders made clear that the various Abyei accords did not
have tribal buy-in and that the National Congress Party does not
speak for them (even though a Misseriya signed the June 8 accord for
the NCP). CDA Fernandez warned the tribal leaders about NCP agents
provocateurs in their midst, specifically mentioning a public
complaint he had heard in Muglad in April about GONU State Minister
of Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun providing arms and money for
Misseriya militias to sow further violence and turmoil in the
region. He also noted that the U.S. sees the Abyei agreements within
the context of our concerns about unkept agreements and broken
promises by the National Congress Party in Darfur and on the 2005
Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He cautioned them about "being
contaminated" by being seen as "puppets in the pocket of the NCP"
doing their dirty work in Abyei.

COMMENT
- - - -
10. Many of the remarks by the Misseriya leaders show the gap in
perception and the Misseriya's acute feeling of vulnerability and
the sense of victimization. For example, the assertion that the ABC
report is an American product and is the cause of Abyei's current
problems is a misperception that needs to be corrected. Both the
2004 Abyei Protocol and the June 8, 2008 roadmap are Sudanese
agreements, signed by both the National Congress Party and the SPLM.
Regardless of their complaints, over twenty leaders of the
Misseriya had the opportunity to visit the U.S. Embassy for the
first time, vent their frustrations, stated that they felt listened
to, and left smiling. This, in itself, is very positive and may
soften (if even only a little) these embittered leaders in their
future meetings with U.S. officials. The leaders do seek tangible
results from such a meeting with the Americans: more development
assistance, especially water yards and similar livestock assistance,
and mediation/reconciliation meetings with the Ngok Dinka. These are
not unreasonable demands and they are worthy of support and
attention.

TEXT PROVIDED BY MISSERIYA INTELLECTUALS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

11. Begin Text:
"A wrap up of the main points to be discussed with and conveyed to
his Excellency the U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Khartoum. Presented
by: A group of Misseriya Intellectuals."

1. We believe that all of the official solutions provided, so far,
to address the Abyei issue, have fallen short of reaching a
pragmatic, viable and sustainable settlement of this ticklish issue.
In our opinion, the top down political agenda and concerns of the
two stakeholders have surpassed and omitted the legitimate rights
and options of the indigenous people and other local communities of
the disputed area. Therefore, a solution that stands to reason,
whether the Sudan is split into more than one country or not, should
be worked out to this problem, well before the 2011 referendum.

2. Needless to say, the indigenous people (Misseriya and Dinka
Ngok) together with the other local communities of the area, have
not been given the opportunity to express themselves and exercise
their right to opt for what they believe to be a sustainable
solution. In fact, they have been caused to fall prey to a
people-for-oil deal, instead of oil-for-people deal. We believe
this approach is technically futile and, most likely, will end up in
a Kashmir-like dilemma in the region.

3. We strongly recommend and stand ready for, a Misseriya Dinka
Ngok joint civil society action, to be steered and guided by the

KHARTOUM 00000939 003 OF 003


intellectuals of both sides in a spirit, and with a view of,
fostering the longstanding peaceful and brotherly co-existence of
the two peoples. For this purpose, we seek Your Excellency's
support and goof offices to bring us together with our counterparts
from Dinka Ngok, for a heart-to-heart dialogue.

4. We consider if of vital importance to note that the current and
prospective efforts of the international community, aimed at
providing aide to and effecting infrastructural economic and social
development in the area, should be carried out fairly and
evenhandedly among all of the local communities living therein.

5. We call for a brotherly conclusive compromise between the
Misseriya and Dinka Ngok, in order for the two parties to open up
new vistas for a better future of peaceful co-existence and
prosperity for their present and upcoming generations. To achieve
such a compromise, we need the genuine, unpoliticized support and
blessing of both the NCP and SPLM, and of course, we need Your
Excellency's good offices and support to bring the two main
communities (Misseriya and Dinka Ngok) together for a historical and
promising compromise.

END TEXT.

PARTICIPANTS
- - - - - -

A. Intellectuals (meeting on June 23).
(Name / Clan / Phone):
- Dr. Hassan Mohamed Hamad (Awlad Surur) 0923490558
- Hamadain Abdallah (Awlad Surur) 0122951422
- Dr. Obeidallah Mohamed Obeidallah (Awlad Omran)0912398674
- Hassan Jifour (Mazaghna) 0912696619
- Dr. Abu al Gasim Gor (Fayareen) 0912282559
- Dr. Mohamed Farah Jibreel (Jubarat) 0912974928
- Nimir Babo Nimir (Awlad Kamil) 0911374111
- Hussein Jibreel al Goni (Ziod) 0912134121
- AlBakheet AlNaiem (Fadliya) 0915074968
- Hyder Babo Nimir (Awlad Kamil) 0123048389

B. Community Leaders (meeting on June 24)
(Name / Clan / Phone):
- Engineer Adam Mohamed Salim (Awlad Surur) 0122050195
- Al-Nazeer Gibreil al Goni (Ziod) 0912697283
- Abdel Rahman Hassan Omer (Mataneen) 0912373178
- Alradhi Balah (Jubarat) 0912149540
- Mahdi Babo Imir (Awlad Kamil) 0912394188
- Abdelrasoul al Nour (Fayareen) 0912354792
- Hamid Osman (Mazaghna) 0122371815
- Yaqoub Abu Algasim (Salamat) 0915446801
- Hassan Subahi (Awlad Omran) 0912145275
- Omda Mohamed Hamad Abdelgalil (Omran) 0129445863
- AlKhair al Faheem (Fayareen) 0912151528
- Ahmed Salih Salouha (Kamil) 0912396468

FERNANDEZ

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