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Cablegate: Aec Plenary of August 5, 2008: Members Stress Need To

VZCZCXRO3863
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1185/01 2181441
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051441Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1522
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001185

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KSCA OTRA EAID CDC SU
SUBJECT: AEC PLENARY OF AUGUST 5, 2008: MEMBERS STRESS NEED TO
APPOINT ABYEI ADMINISTRATION

1. (U) SUMMARY: At the 34th Plenary Session of the Assessment and
Evaluation Commission (AEC) held August 5, 2008, members unanimously
stressed the need for the two CPA partners to finally agree on an
interim administration for the Abyei area to build on the momentum
of progress made on security in the troubled region. The AEC
chairman urged the four working groups to take the recommendations
contained in the recently completed Mid-Term Evaluation as their
work plan for the next six months. END SUMMARY

ABYEI: URGENT NEED FOR APPOINTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (SBU) Foreign members of the AEC who spoke were unanimous in
pressing the two partners to agree on naming the interim
administration for Abyei. AEC Chairman Ambassador Plumbly noted
that the action is now six weeks overdue. He had spoken to VP Taha
on August 4 and stressed the need for urgent progress. The delay
puts into doubt the credibility of the Abyei roadmap. CDA Fernandez
praised progress made in the realm of security for Abyei - namely,
withdrawal of non-JIU forces, particularly the 31st SAF brigade
which, he pointed out, had been quartered in Abyei town for 44
years. Now, he said, the two sides need to maintain that momentum
with agreement on the Administration. Speaking for the NCP,
presidential advisor Sayed el Khatib said an evaluation of the talks
on naming the Administration differs from day to day; right now, he
said, that outlook does not appear very positive. The SPLM rep
noted that progress on the nomination should be easier than it has
turned out to be.

3. (SBU) El Khatib noted that solving the interim administration
impasse should be easy. The Abyei Protocol and June 8 roadmap are
clear. "You name your position and I will name mine," but the need
for consensus has made it difficult. What El Khatib was implying was
that the NCP is well within its rights to name whoever it wants,
including a Misseriya Arab from Abyei, as Deputy Administrator.

4. (U) The Norwegian Ambassador said his country, the UK and other
donors are prepared to contribute to an Abyei reconstruction fund.
He suggested beginning work on at least a needs assessment so that
the incoming administration will be able to set to work more
quickly. The SPLM rep expressed strong support for this approach.
The NCP rep said preparing the groundwork might be possible, but
cautioned against any attempt to make an end-run around the
yet-to-be-named Administration.

5. (U) The UK DCM related details of a briefing by the UNMIS Police
Commissioner on progress made on the new Abyei police force. Each
side has already contributed 25 members for the new JIU police
force, and six trainers are to arrive in Abyei on August 6.
Overall, the briefing had been quite encouraging, he said.

WORKPLAN FOR NEXT 6 MONTHS
--------------------------

6. (U) Chairman Plumbly noted that the AEC's Mid-Term Evaluation
(MTE) was now posted on the AEC website, by agreement of the two
parties. However, more needs to be done to publicize the report.
He urged the four working groups to use the MTE's recommendations as
the basis for their work plan for the next six months.

NOMINATIONS TO NATIONAL ELECTIONS COMMISSION (NEC)
--------------------------------------------- -----

7. (U) Plumbly expressed hope that the Presidency would announce
the nominations to the NEC on time (by August 14). NCP rep Sayed el
Khatib said the nominations are "imminent," but noted that the
action requires consultations with all the major parties, most
particularly the SPLM. A list of names is under discussion within
the presidency, he said.

OTHER ACTIONS
-------------

8. (U) Among the various other matters discussed at the plenary:

-- CDA Fernandez invited all interested AEC partners to an August 6
session of the Wealth Sharing Working Group, which will feature a
presentation by the Joint Technical Committee on Oil Revenue
Sharing.

-- The AEC will arrange for a briefing on status of progress on the
other two of the three areas, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.

-- The Italian coordinator of the Power Sharing Working Group is
still working to schedule a workshop on elections; the workshop will
await appointment of the National Elections Commission.

-- The Netherlands coordinator of the Three Areas Working Group
reported that the agreement to refer the Abyei border issue to
arbitration at The Hague is in place; the next step is for the two

KHARTOUM 00001185 002 OF 002


sides to agree on the panel of judges.

-- The Dutch also announced they are organizing another AEC trip to
Abyei for the week of August 17.

9. (SBU) COMMENT: The Plenary session was marked by a positive
atmosphere, especially between the two CPA partners. The experience
of working together on, and producing, the Mid-Term Evaluation
obviously is still working its magic. The plenary sent out a
strong message on the urgency of following through on naming the
Abyei administration - a message we can only hope will be heard by
the Presidency in the coming days.

FERNANDEZ

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