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Cablegate: Sudanese Census May Be Delayed From February to March

VZCZCXRO1341
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1817 3241624
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201624Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9242
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001817

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KSCA OTRA EAID CDC SU
SUBJECT: SUDANESE CENSUS MAY BE DELAYED FROM FEBRUARY TO MARCH
(WITHOUT AFFECTING ELECTIONS DATE)


1. USAID and emboffs spoke November 19 with Herbert B. Kandeh,
Chief Technical Advisor with the UNFPA (United Nations Fund for
Population Activities) office in Khartoum. Kandeh confirmed that
the UNFPA, which is advising both the national government's and the
GOSS's census bureaus on the upcoming census, may be postponed until
March or perhaps even April. Planning for the census has been
hampered by delays in printing the census questionnaires, in the
mapping process, and funding delays by the national government. As
a result, the UNFPA does not consider the February date to be
feasible, with a date in March much more realistic.

2. Kendeh said the UNFPA is to meet in Juba on Friday, November 23
with Issiah Chol Aruai, director of the GOSS's South Sudan
Commission on Census and Statistics, where a decision on
postponement is expected. Kendeh confirmed that UNFPA is
recommending to the two census bureaus that enumeration be postponed
until March or perhaps even April. However, emboffs pressed for the
March date. Embassy Khartoum considers March to be the "drop-dead
date," because the rains in Southern Sudan can begin as early as
April. Were the census pushed beyond March, rainy season conditions
could put a halt to carrying out the census, which would probably
mean postponing the 2009 elections.

3. COMMENT: We will continue to take every opportunity to push for
the March date which is very close to the last possible date for a
census with zero margin for error. Postponing the census beyond
that would probably impact on the 2009 presidential election date,
which would be a serious blow to CPA implementation and could
contribute to instability in relations between the North and South.

FERNANDEZ

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