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Cablegate: Unmis Regional Coordinator On the Situation in Abyei And

VZCZCXRO8217
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1121 2091349
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271349Z JUL 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1432
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001121

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UNMIS REGIONAL COORDINATOR ON THE SITUATION IN ABYEI AND
THE STATUS OF LRA PEACE TALKS

1. (SBU) Summary: In a July 25 meeting with ConGen Juba, UNMIS
Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan David Gressley reported that
over a thousand SAF have now withdrawn from Abyei, leaving only
approximately 100 in Abyei town who are expected to leave on the
26th or 27th of July. Gressley planned to travel to Abyei on the
26th to attend a ceremony to officially install the new Joint
Integrated Unit (JIU) in Abyei that will now secure the town in
place of the SAF. In regard to LRA peace talks, Gressley reported
that Joseph Kony is still talking to the UN and GOSS Vice President
Machar, but they had been unable to set a time when he would meet to
discuss signing a peace treaty. End summary.

2. (SBU) Gressley reported that he would be leaving Juba on July 26
to witness the departure of the last of the SAF forces,
approximately 100 soldiers, from Abyei town. Following their
departure, he will attend a turnover ceremony in which the new JIU
force will take over providing security for Abyei. Although this
JIU has been trained and has been ready for this assignment for the
last few weeks, they have been waiting for the complete departure of
the SAF before taking over their new duties.

3. (SBU) Gressley said that although UNMIS was ready to begin
training 300 police, 150 from the North and 150 from the South,
there were now disagreements between the SPLM and NCP over where to
train them. The NCP wants them trained in Khartoum instead of
Abyei, and the SPLM wants all the police to be issued ID cards,
while the NCP only wants the police to wear patches on their
shoulders identifying them as police. The SPLM opposes this because
the patches will not identify individual members of the force, and
can be given to others to wear.

4. (SBU) Also according to Gressley, there is still no progress on
selecting an Administrator or Deputy for Abyei, as called for in the
Road Map Agreement. In his talks with the SPLM on the issue, he
said they seemed in no hurry to work out a final agreement on this
issue with the NCP.

5. (SBU) On the issue of peace talks with the Lord's Resistance Army
(LRA), Gressley said there was nothing new to report except that the
UN negotiators continue to talk to Kony by satellite phone. There
are hopes that a meeting will be arranged later next week, but
Gressley admitted that he thought it was not likely. Still, he
said, the plan is to continue to try to sign the peace agreement,
and hopes remain that this can still be done. Kony and GOSS Vice
President Machar are now also talking on the phone.

6. (SBU) Comment: The full implementation of the Abyei Road Map
Agreement is now almost a month behind schedule, with little
indication that an Administrator and Deputy will be appointed any
time soon. Still, if the SAF does fully withdraw as expected and
the JIU takes its place, and if the new police force gets up and
running, tensions will be reduced and it is likely that IDPs will
begin to return in large numbers. The presence of the SAF 31st
Brigade in the heart of Abyei town, using a girls' school as a
barracks, has been a sore point for the local population for
decades. Without an Administrator in place, Gressley indicated that
the UN would not help or encourage returns, but as people deemed it
safe to go home, there was nothing the UN could or would do to try
to stop them. Post views it as critical that an administration be
put in place rapidly, lest political tensions rise again as local
self-appointed or party-appointed leaders in Abyei begin to agitate.
We will raise this with both parties and this would be an important
point for senior officials to raise during future visits to Sudan.

FERNANDEZ

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