Cablegate: Gos Ministers Urge Splm to Return to Dialogue

DE RUEHKH #1612/01 2880522
P 150522Z OCT 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: On October 13, the MFA convoked the diplomatic
community in Sudan to a briefing at the MFA focusing on the
Government's reaction to the Communique issued on October 4 by the
SPLM Interim Political Bureau (IPB). The briefing was chaired by
State Minister Ali Karti with the participation of Sayed El Khatib,
Director of the Center for Strategic Studies, and Driss Abdelgadir,
State Minister at the Presidency. El Khatib addressed what he
believed to be the most critical accusations in the SPLM Communique
of October 4, namely, violations with respect to obstruction of
democratic transformation, lack of initiation of national
reconciliation and healing process, non-implementation of the Abyei
Protocol, non-completion of SAF re-deployment, lack of transparency
in oil sector operations, inadequate funding of census process,
delay of North-South borders demarcation, and inaction on the SPLM
reshuffle list in the Government of National Unity. He further
underscored the Government's concern with the temporary withdrawal
of SPLM members from their functions at the national level, and
urged them to return to their ministerial positions and re-engage in
dialogue in order to get beyond this impasse which will surely
further hamper CPA implementation. End summary.

2. (SBU) On October 13, State Minister Ali Karti opened a briefing
for the diplomatic community in Sudan on current issues hampering
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) implementation. He began with a
brief overview of how the CPA itself was achieved following years of
dialogue and negotiations, resulting in the end of a long war in the
south. He stated that the Assessment and Evaluation Commission
(AEC) is the primary mechanism for assessing AEC implementation, and
emphasized that this implementation is underway after just more than
two years out of a foreseen 6-year period. Admitting that there
were initial delays, he underscored that, notwithstanding this,
"many problems were solved."

3. (SBU) Minister Karti then passed the floor to Sayed El Khatib,
Director of the Center for Strategic Studies, who responded in a
methodical manner to the allegations of non-CPA implementation
raised by the SPLM in its communiqu of October 4. El Khatib stated
that the National Congress Party (NCP) had refrained from leveling
any accusations against the SPLM during a "three year fast," for it
believed that "it doesn't serve a purpose to engage in a war of
words" and that doing so would "not bode well for good management of
the CPA, even if the accusations were true."

4. (SBU) El Khatib stated that the briefing had been called because
of the need to explain and define the NCP's position against such
"false accusations." He thereafter addressed the NCP's responses to
the violations raised in the SPLM communiqu initially in English
and then in Arabic, an exercise lasting more than an hour. In
stating that the NCP is devoted to implementation of the CPA, he
repeated that raising accusations was "not in anyone's interest."
He reiterated that it is the mandate and responsibility of the AEC,
"the most important commission" stemming from the CPA to assess and
monitor implementation by both parties. In speaking not in his
capacity as an AEC member, but in speaking on behalf of the GNU and
NCP, he repeated that the AEC is the proper mechanism for verifying
CPA implementation.

Obstruction of democratic transformation

5. (SBU) El Khatib intoned that promoting a democratic process must
be "done in partnership," and "cannot be done by the NCP alone." He
asserted that there were clear-cut steps for advancing the
democratic process, including, in part, endorsement of the Political
Parties Act, Election laws, the Election Commission, and the
undertaking of a census. These steps, he felt, were "all being
followed very responsibly," and he had little doubt that "general
elections are going to be held." To prove that things were "in
course," a packet of documents were distributed at the end of the
briefing to all attendees, enabling them to "judge for themselves"
whether there are failures and who is responsible for them.

Process of national reconciliation

6. (SBU) In ending what El Khatib characterized as one of the
"ugliest wars on the African continent," he stated the Government's
aim had been one of "inclusiveness." He stated that the Government
had "knocked on everyone's door to join the GNU," not necessarily to
give every political party "its imagined weight," but to allow them
to be included in the GNU. Those who wished to participate could
choose to do so. Underscoring that steps had been taken with
respect to national reconciliation, he repeated that "negative talk
doesn't serve the cause of national unity."

Non-implementation of Abyei Protocol

7. (SBU) El Khatib admitted that the Abyei Protocol is a "major

KHARTOUM 00001612 002 OF 003

problem" and the Government has neither disguised nor concealed this
fact. He repeated that the report of the Panel of Experts was
"legally flawed and unbinding," and that the Government is not bound
to accept something "essentially flawed." In stating that the
Experts had exceeded their mandate, he concluded that their having
followed "neither the spirit nor the letter of the CPA," could
undermine the CPA itself. He indicated that the parties had held a
Leadership Meeting in order to move forward on the Abyei issue,
which had been aimed at engaging the parties politically and in
looking for a creative way to get around this stumbling block,
including the possibility of arbitration. El Khatib emphasized that
the parties have agreed to pursue a political solution to the Abyei
question and are engaged in discussion. He further stated that some
ideas are being considered by an Executive Committee chaired by the
President and the First Vice President, including the dispatching of
a joint technical team to the area. El Khatib believes that this
issue can be resolved, but that the NCP cannot do this alone, and
called for dialogue with the SPLM on this issue. The Government,
however, is unwilling to accept a "flawed report."

Non-completion of SAF redeployment

8. (SBU) Limiting himself to noting that a UN report had cited 87%
SAF redeployment in comparison to only 6.7% SPLA redeployment with
respect to the 1956 line, El Khatib urged the international
community to review the document itself. He added, however, that
there are fewer than 3,600 SAF troops south the of the border line,
and primarily in those areas where there are oil installations. "We
are ready and willing to withdraw" even these troops, he stated,
once the Joint Integrated Units (JIU) are ready to cover these

Lack of transparency in oil sector operations

9. (SBU) El Khatib stated that there is an agreed formula for
apportioning oil revenues, and a Committee which meets periodically
to implement this formula. He offered to make available records of
the Committee meetings and minutes of these meetings bearing the
signatures of both parties. The report for the August 2007 meeting
was distributed in a packet at the end of the briefing to all

Inadequate funding of census process

10. (SBU) Admitting that the Government had not met its obligation
one hundred percent, El Khatib noted that the mapping phase of the
pre-census is complete with two major exceptions: Darfur and
Southern Sudan.

Delay in demarcation of North-South borders

11. (SBU) El Khatib intimated that the Commission's work is delayed
due to the absence of an SPLM representative at the meetings for
many months, along with delays due to the Commission's inability to
undertake its work during the rainy season. He stated, moreover,
that some of the teams sent to the area have been attacked, bullied,
and asked not to do their work. In responding to his own query "Who
is responsible for this," he replied "You'd be surprised."

Inaction on the SPLM re-shuffle list in GNU

12. (SBU) El Khatib spoke at length about the role of the President
with respect to the Council of Ministers. He urged that the CPA
"does not bind the President or the NCP to do the SPLM's job" (i.e.,
asking their minister-appointees to resign, if they so choose). El
Khatib explained that if the SPLM is not satisfied with their
ministers' performance, it is up to them to "deal with him according
to their party charter." "This is not our failure," he stated. "If
removing someone is a dirty job, then the President is not going to
do someone's dirty work; ...It's unfair to ask the President to fire
someone." According to El Khatib, the NCP doesn't have to be
involved;'s one hundred percent up to our partner."

Need for a strengthened partnership between NCP and SPLM
--------------------------------------------- ----------

13. (SBU) El Khatib concluded his exhaustive briefing in urging both
parties to work together to, at a minimum, manage the interim
period. He admitted that he felt that the SPLM "has been very
lukewarm about this partnership," but repeated that the GNU wants
the partnership to hold. In very strong language, he stated that we
"don't want it to be a card for blackmailing the other party" and
held that "ultimatums are not acceptable to us." Given the nature
of the tension and accusations made, El Khatib stated that it would

KHARTOUM 00001612 003 OF 003

take some weeks to resolve problems. He urged the international
community to impress upon the SPLM that they cannot be interested in
maintaining a partnership if they are threatening to pull out of its
most important forum at the same time. "Is pulling out of the
Government going to help resolve these issues?," he queried.

Questions and Answers

14. (SBU) An opportunity was afforded to the diplomatic community to
raise questions and make comments at the end of the briefing. In
response to a query as to whether the Salva Kiir himself is pulling
out of the Government, El Khatib noted that the Communiqu does not
indicate this, but suggested that only the SPLM could clarify this
point. As to whether these developments would have an impact on the
Tripoli Talks, El Khatib stated that such "bombshell" would cast a
shadow on the talks. He reiterated, however, that, notwithstanding
the "bad timing," the Government is committed to going to Tripoli.
In response to a concern raised by CDA Powers with respect to
whether the Government is prepared to take measures to reduce the
tension, El Khatib insisted that the beginning of a solution is the
return of the ministers. He underscored his belief that this crisis
cannot be resolved with the SPLM walking out from the Council of
Ministers. A solution is not possible without engagement and
dialogue. For this reason, he stated that a "significant step would
be a return to talks." Lastly, in response to the Kenyan
Ambassador's question as to whether the Government might foresee
resorting to IGAD arbitration as a possible remedy, El Khatib
replied that "We will abide by the CPA and will look to it for
remedies; our priority is reopening dialogue. We are not going to
leave any rock unturned in our search for a solution."

15. (SBU) In closing, State Minister Karti challenged the
international community to reflect on this recent development: "If
someone is complaining, then why send such a negative message on the
eve of the Tripoli talks?"

16. (SBU) Comment: On October 16 (after the Eid), the coordinators
of the AEC Working Groups, will meet to discuss ways to respond to
this current crisis and, more particularly, ways to ensure more
effective AEC monitoring of CPA implementation by both parties.


© Scoop Media

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