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Cablegate: Bashir Offers Scolding and Call for Unity in Juba

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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In marked contrast with his recent tour of Darfur,
and indicative of still-strained relations between the NCP and SPLM,
President Bashir's visit to Juba - his first appearance in the South
in more than two years and only his second visit to the seat of the
GOSS Presidency since the CPA's signing - occurred with little pomp
and circumstance. A heavily stage-managed event for the diplomatic
corps, ostensibly geared toward illustrating that his presidency
continues despite a looming ICC indictment, saw Bashir call for
enhanced GNU/GOSS collaboration The visit also allowed him to
inaugurate Southern-based hydroelectric projects conceived of and
coordinated in Khartoum with no consultation with any officials in
Juba. GOSS Regional Cooperation Minister noted to the CG that the
GOSS had not even participated in the vetting or selection of the
multinational corporations that received the awards.

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2. (SBU) SUMMARY CONTINUED: The Sudanese president offered initially
friendly, but increasingly paternalistic, remarks to the assembled
Government of Southern Sudan in a public address carried live
throughout the country. In a precursor to NCP positioning during
the upcoming 2009 elections, he chided Juba for rejecting technical
assistance from Northerners, indirectly made allegations against
GOSS corruption, and argued responsibility for delays in CPA
implementation rested equally on the GNU and GOSS. He addressed the
crisis in Darfur only briefly, blaming his inability to manage the
conflict on Washington's broken promises over the lifting of
sanctions, and arguing that Ocampo's actions before the ICC only
emboldened rebel intransigence against a political settlement.
Bashir called for the continued unification of Sudan and pledged
that Sudan's 2009 elections would set a positive, new standard for
elections in Africa. END SUMAMRY.


3. (SBU) Bashir, in a ranging, notes-free address on August 27
before the entire Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly and a
40-person VIP section that included select Southern Governors, the
Judiciary of Southern Sudan, and senior leadership of the SPLA and
ConGen and Embassy PolOffs, called for the Government of National
Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan to jointly redouble their
efforts to make "voluntary unity attractive" in advance of the 2011
plebiscite on Southern independence. He cited his preference for a
united Sudan, pressing his audience to question whether a separate
South would necessarily be a better South, indirectly referencing
the GOSS's weak capacity for decentralized governance, and the slow
realization of peace dividends. "Why is the United States of
America strong today?" he asked. "Because it chose to stay together
after its war."

4. (SBU) The President reminded the assembled officials that he
dispatched then-First Vice President Ali Osman Taha to the Naivasha
peace talks to give Southerners the choice of separation, not with
the intention of dissolving Sudan, but because "I realized after
fifty years of war this was the only way to secure lasting peace for
my country." With three years remaining until 2011, he continued,
the GNU and GOSS must re-double their efforts to erase Southerner
resistance to "unity via voluntary decree" - and work harder to do
away with the "issues that divide us, and the stigma against the
North that Southerners carry within their heads." He offered
lip-service to the 2009 elections, and committed Sudan to stand as a
model of free and fair elections for "all the world to witness."


5. (SBU) Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) Speaker James
Wani Igga introduced President Bashir before turning the floor over
to a highly deferential First Vice President Kiir, who offered warm
but shallow ad-libbed remarks before the President's address. In
contrast, Igga gave a hospitable but probing welcome to Bashir. He
called on the President to speed demarcation of the 1956 North/South
border, incorrectly linking it to the results of the census, but
correctly forecasting the challenges it poses for credibly continued
redeployment of forces, elections, the referendum, and the
implementation of the CPA's wealth sharing agreement. Igga
criticized the "unfortunate indictment by Ocampo," stressing his
belief that ICC action against President Bashir directly imperiled
the CPA. "Only the two partners recognize the delicacy of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and what is entailed in protecting
it. I encourage Ocampo to place peace first in the Sudan," he said.
Invoking late SPLM Chairman John Garang de Mabior, Igga reminded
listeners of Garang's quote that Sudan's problems are often best
reconciled by the Sudanese themselves, noting "a stranger entering a
dark room will always break a few pots, while the owner can move

KHARTOUM 00001310 002 OF 003

about the entire home with his eyes closed and do no damage." Igga
commended Kiir and Bashir for their efforts in finalizing the
National Elections Act and Abyei Roadmap. It marked the day's only
reference to the still-struggling region.

--------------------------------------------- ------
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6. (SBU) Noting Igga's call for GNU action on the issue, Bashir
redirected criticism for delays in the CPA's implementation onto the
GOSS. Equal responsibility rested on the governments in both
Khartoum and Juba to manage the public's expectations of peace, he
maintained. "In particular," he argued, "this required the
Government of Southern Sudan to make the common man more confident
that government could respond to its needs." To an increasingly
quiet audience, Bashir stressed that Juba needed to be more
receptive to accepting educated Northern government officials and
technical specialists in its ranks. "I recognize that the SPLM has
strong leaders, but they lost time when they went into the bush, and
then immediately found themselves in ministerial positions following
the war. We must be allowed to help you build a cadre of competent
civil servants."


7. (SBU) With Kiir visibly stiffening at his side, Bashir then
chided the GOSS for its alleged mismanagement of tax revenue,
calling on the SSLA to trace where taxes collected by Juba "have
gone," noting that the revenue amounted to "almost one billion
pounds - nearly as much of the South's oil revenues shares - and yet
there was no proof this money was reaching the people or the
government." "Imagine what could have been done for development
had the Government of Southern Sudan's revenue been doubled?"
Whereas the GNU economy was strained by the imposition of
international sanctions, Bashir opined, , GOSS officials had
constrained the South's economy through their own mismanagement of
it.In a backhanded attempt to soften his implication of GOSS
corruption, Bashir returned to his push for more involvement by
educated Northern technocrats in Southern affairs, stressing that
the GNU was prepared to lend experienced managers to the GOSS so as
to better maintain and manage revenue collection. (COMMENT: While
indicative of the continued tension over North/South non-oil revenue
transfers (reftel) the tenor of Bashir's remarks may forecast an NCP
campaign strategy to emphasize GOSS, and thereby SPLM, incompetence
and corruption. END COMMENT.)


8. (SBU) Responding to Igga's calls for swifter action on
demarcation of the North/South 1956 border, Bashir turned his
criticism to the alleged fickle attitude of Southern technical
experts, arguing delays were not the fault of the GNU alone. In the
face of a vocal, mid-speech rebuttal by GOSS Vice President Riek
Machar, Bashir claimed that the latest Southern technical expert had
arrived in Khartoum and, dissatisfied with the work of his
predecessors, argued that the entire project be restarted. Machar,
seated in the Assembly benches directly across from Bashir,
displayed a visceral and fairly exaggerated reaction to President's
allegations in full view of the entire audience, twisting around to
colleagues behind him and at either side to mock and criticize the
President's rendition of events. Bashir continued with his remarks,
uninterested and undeterred by Machar's posturing. Staring directly
into the bank of television cameras, Bashir warned that the
forthcoming demarcation of the 1956 North/South border would be "a
challenging, painful experience after which Southerners and
Northerners alike would be unhappy."


9. (SBU) In remarks that strained the patience of his audience,
Bashir addressed the conflict in Darfur only briefly, citing
Khartoum's support for 2007 rebel consolidation as proof of his
commitment to peace. Strikingly, he gave no credit to President
Kiir or the SPLM for their efforts in this regard, yet cited
(without offering specifics) a new, Sudanese-driven initiative for
peace and calling upon all stakeholders "North and South" to bring
lasting peace to the war-torn region. "There will be plots against
our success," he argued, referencing recent ICC action. "We must
move forward, as there can be no development in Darfur without

KHARTOUM 00001310 003 OF 003



10. (SBU) Bashir maintained that all of Sudan suffered as a result
of the international community's uneven response to the crisis, and
that his own efforts to bring peace to Darfur were constrained by
Western back-peddling on promises to Khartoum made during
negotiations on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Darfur Peace
Agreement. Bashir criticized the U.S. directly, not only arguing
that Washington inexplicably abandoned promises made during the
Naivasha peace process linked to sanctions' reprieves and Sudan's
removal from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list, but also
detailing his fifteen minute conversation with President Bush on
the margins of the Darfur Peace Agreement's signing, noting "and
yet not even a percentage point of those promises have
materialized." "Instead," he argued, "the rebels were given two
more weeks, then one more month, then one more year to sign the DPA
- and now despite my government's readiness for peace, the
international community has turned against us!" In his sole
reference to the looming ICC indictment, he cautioned that ICC
Prosecutor Ocampo is now emboldening the rebels' resistance to a
political settlement by threatening to punish Sudan.


11. (SBU) Bashir insisted that international sanctions, not
government inaction, posed the largest threat to nationwide
development, but Khartoum was committed to overcoming such obstacles
through cooperation with more apolitical allies. China would be
funding a "peace road" connecting Kosti, Malakal, Bor, and Juba, and
initiating other projects aimed at increasing the South's road
connections with both the East and Darfur. (NOTE: The Chinese
Ambassador in Khartoum was in attendance for most of the day's
event, including Bashir's speech. END NOTE.) Bashir called upon the
entire country to fight harder for mutual development in the lead-up
to 2011 than they did against each other during the North/South
civil war. "Sudan has entered a new war - one for peace and
development." Citing the forthcoming hydro-electric projects that
had brought him to Juba , the President noted that he wanted to
utilize the same technical experts who had built the Merowe dam on
the four projects slated for the South. "Sudan needs to look for
alternative, sustainable energy sources outside of oil, and if we
harness the power of hydroelectricity, we can service the entirety
of the Horn."

12. (SBU) Comment: Southerners generally viewed this visit by Bashir
with great skepticism, casting it as little more than a publicity
tour for the GNU President to show he is the beneficent leader of
all Sudan, sharing the wealth and extending his hand in friendship
to all, as he faces "unjustified" ICC indictments. His reception by
GOSS leaders was respectful, but far short of warm. Many told
ConGen Juba they would have preferred that Bashir not come at all.


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