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Cablegate: Abyei Administration Taking Shape, Slowly

VZCZCXRO0718
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1385 2551413
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111413Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1879
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001385

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL EAID EFIN KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: ABYEI ADMINISTRATION TAKING SHAPE, SLOWLY

REFS: A. KHARTOUM 1293 B. KHARTOUM 1351

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Elements of the new Abyei Administration,
notably on the security side, are taking shape, but Abyei Roadmap
implementation remains constrained by the lack of a functioning
civil administration. The local government should begin receiving
oil revenues (calculated by the Finance Ministry to now total around
US$17 million) when the administration starts to operate. END
SUMMARY.

Components of Abyei Administration Falling Into Place
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) On September 10, new UNMIS Political Affairs Chief Muin
Shrim told emboffs that the elements of the new Abyei Administration
are gradually falling into place, although more needs to be done,
and quickly. According to Shrim, SAF and SPLA have completed their
mutual withdrawals from the Abyei region, with the exception of an
SAF unit located at Difra, an oil-field site, for security. This
unit should be able to depart as soon as the new Abyei Joint
Integrated Unit (JIU) becomes fully operational and is capable of
providing oilfield security. He described the JIU as functional.
(Note: Although the Abyei JIU now is fully manned and is reported
to have coalesced into a cohesive unit, it continues to be
critically short of the equipment required to be able to perform its
security role, especially transport (ref. A). End note.)

3. (SBU) Shrim reported that the Joint Integrated Police Unit
(JIPU) has now completed the training program provided by UNMIS, but
still lacks infrastructure (e.g., police stations, vehicles) and
equipment. He said the SPLM component of the JIPU also is
under-strength and that recruiting in the south is lagging. The
biggest challenge facing the JIPU, however, is the lack of an Abyei
civil administration, putting judiciary responsibilities on the JIPU
that a police force should not have to shoulder.

Civil Administration Needed ASAP
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) Shrim said that the critical need now is for the new civil
administration to start operating as soon as possible. Although
Abyei Administrator Arop Mayak and Deputy Rahama al-Nour have been
appointed (ref. B), the district still lacks a Council and
administrative Directors. Shrim understood that although Mayak and
al-Nour have submitted a list of candidates for these posts to the
Presidency, they have yet to be confirmed. (The Presidency is
meeting on September 14 to discuss this and other matters).

5. (SBU) Shrim said that Administrator Arop Mayak had been in Abyei
the previous day, accompanied by an armed body guard of eight.
Shrim said that UNMIS had warned Mayak that such a show of armed
forces was inappropriate and could further inflame tensions in the
region. (Note. The situation in Abyei began to deteriorate in the
spring, when the SPLM's unilaterally appointed administrator Edward
Lino arrived in town with a "bodyguard" of about 100 heavily armed
SPLA troops, provoking (or providing a excuse) the SAF to reinforce
its presence in the area. End note.)

Oil-Revenue Transfers Await Civil Administration
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (SBU) On September 7, Norwegian Embassy oil advisor Anders
Hannevik told econoff that the Ministry of Finance has calculated
the amount of oil revenues due to the Abyei Administration under the
terms of Abyei Roadmap agreement. Hannevik said that the MinFin is
calculating the transfers from the date of the agreement, June 8,
amounting now to approximately US$17 million. Hannevik did not know
whether any funds had actually been transferred. Shrim also was
unaware of any revenues having been deposited, but doubted that this
would happen until the civil administration is in place. He
remarked that this is another reason why the civil administration
needs to be put in place quickly.

Comment
- - - -
7. (SBU) Shrim recently took up his new position of UNMIS Pol
Chief, after serving as JMST political chief. He is still very much
learning his new portfolio. His relatively upbeat assessment of
Abyei administration progress is good news. However, as he notes,
the critical need now is for the functioning civil administration
that Abyei has lacked for three years. It remains to be seen
whether the Presidency can resist playing politics with Mayak's
slate of appointments and approves the body of his administration
quickly and whether urgently needed equipment can be provided - and
allowed by Khartoum - for the JIU and JIPU.

FERNANDEZ

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