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Cablegate: Capitalizing On Conciliatory Ncp Posture, Splm Continues To

VZCZCXRO0352
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1766/01 3421408
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071408Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2505
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001766

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI SU
SUBJECT: CAPITALIZING ON CONCILIATORY NCP POSTURE, SPLM CONTINUES TO
MAKE GAINS

REF: A. KHARTOUM 1701
B. KHARTUM 1687

-------
SUMMARY
-------
1. (SBU) Deputy Secretary of the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement
(SPLM) for the Northern Sector Yasir Arman told poloffs that the
SPLM leadership had a "productive" political bureau meeting in Juba
on December 4. Arman made it clear that the Government of Southern
Sudan (GoSS) will reject national census results if the population
figures show that the South has less than one third of the nation's
population (ref B). He was more positive about recent legislative
gains made by the SPLM at the national level. Not only have the
SPLM-NCP agreed to hold another session of Parliament starting in
late January of 2009, but they also agreed on reformed national
press/media legislation and both parties committed to discuss the
referendum bill in the upcoming Parliamentary session. While
generally positive about recent CPA implementation progress, Arman
cautioned that a number of things could throw this positive momentum
off track; the most worrisome event being an ICC indictment of
Government of National Unity (GNU) President Al-Bashir. End
Summary.

------------------------------
SPLM POLITICAL BUREAU MEETING
------------------------------
2. (SBU) Poloffs met with SPLM Deputy Secretary for the Northern
Sector Yasir Arman on 6 December to discuss outcomes of the SPLM's
Political Bureau meeting held in Juba on 4 December. Arman said
that the SPLM leadership discussed the potential ICC indictment of
Government of National Unity (GNU) President Al-Bashir, upcoming
national and state-level elections, pending national legislation on
security, media and the referendum, the Lord's Resistance Army,
issues in Southern Kordofan state, the roll-out of national census
results, and Darfur. He informed poloffs that he will travel with
SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum, Southern Sudan Legislative
Assembly speaker James Wani Igga, and Blue Nile State Governor Malik
Agar to Darfur in December to set the stage for SPLM Chairman and
GNU First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit's long-awaited and
previously delayed visit soon thereafter. Arman confirmed that FVP
Kiir's is still planning to travel to Ndjamena to meet with Chadian
President Idris Deby, also (media reports have Deby meeting with
President Bashir possibly this month in Darfur).

-----------------------
PARLIAMENTARY MATTERS
-----------------------
3. (U) Arman told poloffs that there is NCP-SPLM agreement on draft
media/press legislation which, in theory, would increase freedom of
the press in Sudan if ratified by the Parliament and approved by the
Presidency. According to Arman, the bill will be introduced to
Parliament around the 15th of December.

4. (SBU) Arman said that the Parliament has submitted a proposal to
the Presidency to close the current session of Parliament on 23rd
December and reopen for a new session in late January. If approved,
Arman said that the early 2009 session would focus on the
ratification of key legislation such as the security law, the
criminal code, the 2011 referendum bill, and the media/press acts
(if not passed in the current session). The referendum bill
currently being discussed by the NCP and the SPLM was first drafted
by SPLM Parliamentary Caucus Chairman Manoah Aligo Donga and refined
by the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) Ministry of Legal Affairs
(MoLA). In this controversial bill, all southerners living outside
of southern Sudan at the time of the referendum (i.e. -
internally-displaced southerners living in the northern Sudan and
Southern Sudanese refugees outside Sudan) are ineligible to vote on
southern independence. Arman claimed that the GoSS' reason for
excluding Southerners living in the North is to avoid NCP
manipulation of this population. Arman said that the NCP has
offered its opinion on the draft referendum law and objects to this
GoSS' formulation of who can vote. Work on the referendum bill will
be an "uphill battle" with the NCP now, said Arman.

--------------------------------------------- ---
NOT IF, BUT WHEN THE GOSS REJECTS CENSUS RESULTS
--------------------------------------------- ---
5. (SBU) Arman told poloffs that the GoSS is "waiting to see" the
census results and will surely reject them if the results are not
"logical and reasonable." (ref B) "If the results show that the
South has less than one third of the national population, the GoSS
will reject them," he said. In so many words, Arman told poloffs
that the rejection will come not because the GoSS truly believes the
population of the South reaches one third of the population of the

KHARTOUM 00001766 002 OF 002


nation, but because under the CPA the census figures have critical
North/South power and wealth-sharing consequences and it does not
want to see its relative share of national power decline vis-`-vis
the NCP.

----------
ELECTIONS
----------
6. (SBU) Arman said that the SPLM and the NCP should fix an
elections date through consultation, but told poloffs that the
National Electoral Commission will be able to greatly influence the
political decision on the choice of an elections date (ref B). "We
must push for elections on time," said Arman, "but there are a
number of big issues to tackle before elections take place,"
including managing the fall-out of a potential ICC indictment of
Al-Bashir, the need for a reformed legislative environment which
would enhance the chance of free and fair elections, and the
inclusion of Darfur in the electoral process. Arman said it would
be a "serious issue" to forgo elections in Darfur because of the
security situation. He cautioned that if state elections do take
place in Darfur and local representatives are elected to office, it
could put a major kink in GoS-Darfur rebel negotiations for
power-sharing arrangements in the national government.

--------
COMMENT
--------
7. (SBU) The SPLM continues to benefit from the NCP's recent, more
conciliatory posture in order to make positive democratic gains on
the introduction and ratification of reformed national legislation,
the push to adopt a referendum law before a newly-elected Parliament
is seated, and the SPLM's ability to play a greater role in the
Darfur peace process. While positive about current progress, Arman
and other high-level SPLM leaders remain cautious about NCP
movement, as they are keenly aware that the NCP is always positioned
to outwit, outplay, and outlast its opponents. They see the NCP's
current "reasonableness" as tactical - the result of international
and internal factors which could be dangerous for the regime's
survival. Whether the ICC decides to indict Al-Bashir and, if so,
whether the UNSC votes to suspend the indictment, the nature of
pressure on the regime will surely shift and opposition gains will
likely not seem as great.

FERNANDEZ

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