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Cablegate: Aec Coordinators to Push Uk Candidate with Wary Splm

VZCZCXRO3683
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2020/01 3511445
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171445Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9591
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0024

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 002020

SIPDIS

ROME PLS PASS TO IPF DELEGATION

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KSCA OTRA EAID CDC SU
SUBJECT: AEC COORDINATORS TO PUSH UK CANDIDATE WITH WARY SPLM

REF: KHARTOUM 1974

1. (SBU) Summary: UK and Norwegian Ambassadors briefed other
Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC) coordinators December 16
on their presentation of the UK candidate for the now vacant AEC
chairmanship. While the NCP has been non-committal, SPLM
representatives have expressed concerns about the candidate's
"Arabist" credentials, implying that he might not be impartial.
Coordinators agreed to lobby the SPLM for the candidate. On the
issue of a reported SPLM/NCP deal that would allow the SPLM to
return to the Government (GNU), the Ambassadors said First Vice
President Salva Kiir feels he must first obtain the approval of the
SPLM leadership in Juba before the agreement can be formally
announced as a "done deal" and that Abyei still remains a potential
stumbling block. End Summary

UK CANDIDATE PRESENTED TO MIXED REVIEWS
---------------------------------------

2. (SBU) AEC Coordinators met December 16 to discuss current state
of play on the UK's candidate for AEC chairmanship, former UK
Ambassador to Cairo Sir Derek Plumley. The Norwegian and UK
Ambassadors have presented the candidacy to the two Comprehensive
Peace Agreement (CPA) parties, the SPLM and the NCP. The UK
Ambassador said she had spoken with Presidential Advisor Sayed el
Khatib and Vice President Ali Osman Taha. Kamal Obeid, head of the
NCP foreign relations department, welcomed the UK initiative, but
said there were indications that unspecified "other countries" would
also present candidates. He promised to get back to the UK on the
candidacy "in a few days," but so far there has been no reply.

3. (SBU) The reaction of the SPLM was even more negative, however,
and surprised both the UK and Norwegian Ambassadors. The SPLM
expressed reservations about the candidate's "Arabist" background,
implying that he would not be impartial. First Vice President Salva
Kiir went so far as to encourage the UK to offer several candidates
for the chairmanship, and allow the two parties to choose their
favorite.

PLAN OF ACTION: REASSURE SPLM ON CANDIDATE
------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) After discussing the situation, the Coordinators agreed to
lobby the SPLM for the UK candidate, assuring them that Plumley is a
professional diplomat, with training and experience in conflict
resolution, and would be strictly impartial in his role as chairman.
The Coordinators also proposed to the UK Ambassador that Amb.
Plumley be invited to Khartoum to meet personally with the two
parties on behalf of his candidacy.

5. (SBU) As to what "other countries" might be presenting a
candidate, the Norwegian Ambassador said his indications are that
Kenya is not interested in the job, whereas the SPLM would probably
not accept an Ethiopian. Those are the only other two countries
represented on the AEC. In the interim, the UK and Norwegian
Ambassadors will call on the new Kenyan Ambassador to ascertain
whether he wants to serve as the acting AEC Chairman until a new
Chairman is approved. If he does not, the Norwegian Ambassador will
act in that capacity, as outlined in the Norwegian Diplomatic Note
(see Reftel). CDA Fernandez warned that accepting the Kenyan
Ambassador as acting AEC chair could be risky, as the NCP might
decide they like the situation and then stall indefinitely on naming
a replacement for Amb Vraalsen.

NCP/SPLM - STATE OF PLAY ON GOVERNMENT CRISIS
---------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) The UK Ambassador said she had recently spoken to Salva
Kiir on the ongoing SPLM/NCP talks on CPA implementation. She said
Kiir told her he must go to Juba to seek approval from the SPLM
leadership on the deal he concluded with President Bashir on
December 11, particularly on the list of new ministers.
Coordinators agreed that an announcement and a swearing in ceremony
would come only after the Eid holiday, perhaps around Christmas, if
not later.

7. (SBU) On the key Abyei issue, Kiir told the UK Ambassador that he
had not spoken to Bashir about this yet. Kiir said the SPLM has
been exploring with the NCP an "oil for land" proposal. However,
after initially expressing interest and pushing for a 2020 cutoff
for the revenue sharing (which the SPLM was ready to accept) the NCP
reportedly reneged. It began insisting on reducing the size of the
Abyei special administrative area "to the size of a football pitch,"
according to Kiir, which was clearly unacceptable to the SPLM.
(Note: There is a meeting at the Presidency on the Abyei issue today
with Al-Bashir, Kiir and Taha. End note.)

8. (SBU) On the issue of security arrangements, Salva is reportedly
waiting to see if there is any actual redeployment progress on the

KHARTOUM 00002020 002 OF 002


ground. He believes the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) should
proceed to move into the oil fields and just learn on the job rather
than waiting for every detail to be in place and risk further
delaying deployment.

OTHER AEC NEWS
--------------

9. (SBU) In other AEC news, the Norwegian Ambassador said the
Germans have announced they have a candidate to succeed legal expert
Markus Boeckenfoerde, who leaves December 18. The Italian CDA
announced Italy is ready to contribute 450,000 Euros for AEC
expenses.

ROME PREPARATORY MEETING
------------------------

10. (SBU) The Italian CDA also briefed on the December 17 meeting in
Rome. A concept paper has been circulated, outlining that this
should serve as a brainstorming session to see what results might be
expected from a January IPF (IGAD Partners Forum) meeting. A
meeting of the Sudan Consortium, purely a donors' conference, is
also being planned, perhaps for the end of March 2008. CDA
Fernandez noted that, for the December 17 meeting, a major question
will be what to do next if the NCP blocks an IGAD conference. It is
not enough to just accept the NCP's diktat. Rome has said an IPF
meeting makes no sense unless both parties are present.

11. (SBU) COMMENT: The AEC Coordinators are united in continuing to
push the UK candidacy for the AEC chair by reassuring the SPLM at
every opportunity. We will be doing what we can in that regard both
in Khartoum and in Juba. The Coordinator countries need to move
swiftly on this issue so that the lack of a permanent chair does not
continue to limit the effectiveness of the AEC.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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