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Cablegate: Cda Discusses Elections, Darfur with Key Ncp

VZCZCXRO5548
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1442/01 2551510
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 121510Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8498
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001442

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF S/E NATSIOS, AND AF/SPG
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID SU
SUBJECT: CDA DISCUSSES ELECTIONS, DARFUR WITH KEY NCP
ORGANIZER


--------------------------------------------- ----
Democracy, Peace in Darfur Key to Better Relations
--------------------------------------------- -----

1. (SBU) In a meeting with National Congress Party (NCP)
Chair for Mobilization Ibrahim Ghandour on September 12, CDA
Fernandez underscored the importance of a transition to
democracy in Sudan under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA), including free and fair elections in 2009. Despite
the difficulties in the bilateral relationship , CDA
Fernandez said that the NCP had an opportunity to improve
ties by demonstrating a commitment to the electoral process,
a peaceful resolution of the Darfur conflict, and CPA
implementation. The U.S. wanted to support these efforts.
It had lived up to its donor commitments from the 2005 Oslo
conference and was the lead international coordinator for the
census in Southern Sudan.

---------------------------------
Progress on Elections Preparation
---------------------------------

2. (SBU) Joined by former state minister from the Sudan
People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) John Dor, State Minister
for Information Farah Agar, and NCP Secretary for Women Afaf
Ahmed Abdulrahman, Ghandour complimented CDA Fernandez on the
"bridges" he had built since arriving to Sudan. He said that
the NCP had no interest in being an enemy of the greatest
country on earth. Sudan was "looking forward" to democratic
and transparent elections and "would do its all to ensure
their success." While a perfect electoral system was
impossible in Sudan's politically charged environment,
Ghandour said there had been real progress on the electoral
law. Following review of the first draft by the Electoral
Commission, the law would be sent to the National Assembly by
mid-October for review. Ghandour hoped that it would pass by
mid-November.

3. (SBU) Transparency in the development of the electoral
system was essential to ensure wide participation in the
elections, said Ghandour. The recent elections in Morocco,
where turn-out had been low, demonstrated that the public was
not behind the reforms. CDA Fernandez urged Ghandour to make
the election process easy to understand and implement. If
the system was too complicated, the Sudanese public would
feel disconnected from developments. "It must be
user-friendly for your constituency," said the CDA. Ghandour
said that the NCP had asked for input on the electoral system
from the SPLM and the opposition parties and was engaged in
discussions on a "first past the post" system versus
proportional representation. The NCP had endorsed a position
of 40 percent popular vote and 60 percent proportional,
according to Ghandour. It had also forged an agreement on
25-percent representation for women.

4. (SBU) Responding to a question from CDA Fernandez,
Ghandour said that the elections could not occur if the
Darfur conflict persisted until 2009. However, he predicted
that the census could proceed in the region, as only three of
the 48 localities in Darfur were affected by violence.
Ghandour acknowledged that the Government of National Unity
(GNU) needed to determine how to count internally displaced
persons (IDPs). However, he said that the NCP had made an
internal party decision that "fighting groups," including
those in Darfur or in the East, would not be excluded from
the overall democratic process.

-------------------
Unreasonable Rebels
-------------------

5. (SBU) While noting that there had been progress on Darfur
with the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1769, CDA
Fernandez said that considerable work remained on the peace
process and encouraged Sudan to be "generous and sensible" in
its negotiations with the rebel movements. Ghandour said
that many of the rebels' demands, such as one region for
Darfur and a vice presidency for a Darfurian, were
unreasonable--and not supported by all of Darfur's people.
"Individual compensation might also be a problem," said
Ghandour, saying that long-term development projects for the
region, supported by the international community, would be
more feasible. "We can't make all the rebel leaders vice
president," he said.

6. (SBU) CDA Fernandez agreed that some rebel demands were

KHARTOUM 00001442 002 OF 002


unworkable but said that the large question was how to
involve the voices of the people of Darfur in the peace
process. He also warned of the prospect of a Darfur Peace
Agreement (DPA) II, where only one faction of the rebel
movements signs an agreement and "the war continues" as the
hold-outs criticize the signatories for collusion with the
Government. Dor said that the ongoing violence was not due
to a problem with the DPA but to leadership struggles within
the rebel movements. Abdelrahman noted that Sudan Liberation
Movement (SLM) leader Abdulwahid Al Nur typified the Darfur
rebels who were not interested in genuine peace.

---
Bio
---

7. (SBU) Ibrahim Ahmed Abdelaziz Ghandour was born in 1952 in
El Dueim, White Nile State. A graduate of the Faculty of
Dentistry at the University of Khartoum, Ghandour also holds
a master's degree in public health from the UK. He is known
to be one of the most influential voices in the NCP. In
addition to his role as chairman of the mobilization
committee, Ghandour is an NCP member of the National
Assembly. He is the president of the Sudan Dentists'
Federation, former president of the Arab Dentists'
Federation, president of the Workers' Trade Union Federation,
vice president of the World Workers' Federation, and chairman
of the Committee of Dentists in the Arab World. He briefly
served as vice chancellor of the University of Khartoum but
left after opposition from the faculty. Ghandour speaks
fluent English. He is married to three wives.
FERNANDEZ

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