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Cablegate: Sudan: North-South Transport Stoppage Reflects

VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #1744 3120536
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 080536Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9112

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001744

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN: NORTH-SOUTH TRANSPORT STOPPAGE REFLECTS
CONTINUED POLITICAL/MILITARY TENSION

REF: A. KHARTOUM 1723
B. KHARTOUM 1709

1. (U) The Governors of White Nile State (in Sudan's
"North") and Upper Nile State (part of South Sudan)were to
confer November 7 on reopening North-South river and road
traffic along the Nile. National Congress Party (NCP) White
Nile Governor Mohamed Nurallah had halted North-South
transport on November 1, alleging increased tension along the
1-1-56 boundary between Northern and Southern Sudan, due to
an increased presence of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army
(SPLA). The local Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) commander charged
harassment of river traffic by the SPLA, claims that the SPLA
has denied.

2. (SBU) The closure follows an October 24 SAF-SPLA
confrontation in the nearby town of Kwek, the specifics of
which remain murky. On November 1, senior SPLA leaders told
Special Envoy Natsios that the SAF advanced aggressively on
an SPLA unit on the Southern side of the border (reftel).
Governor Nurallah, however, claimed that it was the SPLA that
entered the town.

3. (U) The blockade reportedly has stopped food and other
consumer goods from reaching the Upper Nile town of El-Renk,
resulting in shortages and rising prices. The Sudan Peoples
Liberation Movement (SPLM) has denounced the closures as a
violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. SPLM
officials have charged that the stoppage was masterminded by
the NCP leadership in Khartoum, rather than by local
officials in White Nile, as a means of demonstrating their
ability to inflict pain on the South.

4. (SBU) Comment: The closure is another in a series of
incidents along the 1-1-56 border, following the withdrawal
by the SPLM of cabinet level participation in the Government
of National Unity. Although the SPLM and the NCP have
reached a potential agreement on a mechanism to resolve their
dispute, tensions between the two sides remain high. Deep
suspicions remain on both sides, especially security forces,
and these have not been eased by a poorly understood and yet
to be implemented arrangement agreed to by five men in
Khartoum on November 2 (reftel b). SPLM charges that the
blockade is a thinly disguised attempt by Khartoum to bully
the South may be true, or they may reflect the pervasive
suspicion in the South of the NCP and the Khartoum
government. One of the ironies of the situation is that, as
per the CPA, the Governors of both states involved in this
issue belong to the NCP as that agreement designates the
governorship of one state in the North and one in the South
for the other party (the SPLM holds the governorship in the
Northern state of Blue Nile). End comment.
FERNANDEZ

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