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Cablegate: Sudan Compromise Possible On National Petroleum Commission

VZCZCXRO3060
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2639 3121146
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081146Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5166
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 002639

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR ECON EPET EINV ENRG SU
SUBJECT: Sudan Compromise Possible on National Petroleum Commission


1. The National Petroleum Commission (NPC) has been mired since its
establishment by an inability to agree on terms of reference. The
SPLM also denied meaningful access to the existing oil contracts and
consistent access to the fields to read the meters and investigate
environmental concerns. The southerners argue these practices all
violate their right to monitor and seek redress under the CPA. They
are also concerned about long-term impact to the Sudd, the world's
largest freshwater wetlands, and the potential damage to the Nile.
The southerners blame GNU Energy and Mining Minister Awad Ahmed
al-Jaz-Al for blocking all Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS)
access.

2. The dispute in the NPC centers on SPLM insistence on an
independent commission with policy making and contract negotiating
authority, full participation by southern members including the
state representatives, and a delegation of administrative and
technical responsibilities to a joint secretariat. The northern
members had pushed for the NCP to play only a rubber stamping role
for all contracts which the Minister of Energy alone would have the
authority to negotiate and sign. Last month, however, the southern
and northern members met to try and break the logjam. Because
President Bashir sits on the NPC as one of the co-chairs of the
commission, along with First Vice President Salva Kiir, he was
reportedly embarrassed by the committee's ineffectiveness. The SPLM
members of the NPC say they are close to a compromise on many of the
key obstacles and expect that the National Congress Party (NCP) will
agree to allowing the GOSS Ministry of Mining and Industry and the
Government of National Unity (GNU) Ministry of Energy to jointly
negotiate oil contracts in southern areas and then refer them to a
joint secretariat for implementation.

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