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Cablegate: Se Williamson Meeting with Aec Chair Plumbly

VZCZCXRO4606
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1514 2871128
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 131128Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2061
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001514

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: SE WILLIAMSON MEETING WITH AEC CHAIR PLUMBLY

REF: KHARTOUM 1499

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: AEC Chair Plumbly told Special Envoy Richard
Williamson on October 8 that while the two parties to the CPA have
not precisely met deadlines for implementation, they are progressing
and have addressed difficult issues with a modicum of cooperation.
Having recently returned from two weeks in South Sudan - an
experience which he said gave him the chance to "get under the skin"
of South Sudan - Plumbly predicted that the Sudanese will continue
to "plod along unevenly" on important issues, but he urged that the
international community act to "insulate CPA implementation from
the ICC issue." END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) Addressing the chief concern of SE Williamson, Plumbly
began by saying that the contentious negotiations between the
National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement (SPLM) over Abyei were reaching a significant tipping
point, and the resolutions from the previous day's AEC plenary
(reftel) give him cause for hope. "Both sides will see that they
both have strong cases, and that both can lose, so they will begin
talking. They will realize that the deal on the table is a good
deal." Regarding security in Abyei, Plumbly agreed with SE that
while the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) in Abyei are "somewhat
joint, and somewhat integrated," at least they have some minimal
resources, while at other locations along the border, the JIUs have
no resources whatsoever, and are neither effective nor efficient.
Regarding Abyei wealth-sharing, Plumbly said that arrears remain
unaddressed, but that current revenues are being set aside per the
roadmap agreement.

3. (SBU) Plumbly said that now is a "good moment" to initiate
discussions to resolve the pressing issue of border demarcation.
Plumbly sees the NCP as willing to compromise substantially given
the SPLM's significant leverage - Plumbly quoted NCP negotiator
Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed as telling him, "If Salva Kiir lines up on
the ICC, we'll give him anything." Calling it a "matter for
cartographers and lawyers," Plumbly said that a resolution to the
border demarcation standoff may soon be possible for several
reasons: first, as elections approach, borders will be necessary to
define each party's constituency; second, with only three years
left until the 2011 referendum, both parties will endeavor to
demarcate potential border areas; and third, that the degree to
which the NCP needs the SPLM on the ICC issue will expand the NCP's
willingness to compromise.

4. (SBU) Plumbly was less optimistic that Sudan has the capacity to
follow through with the CPA-mandated national elections, planned for
2009. "Neither side wants the elections, but neither side wants to
be the one who pulls the plug," Plumbly said. Despite promised
assistance from UNMIS and the international community, it would
still be difficult to hold elections by the end of next year.
Plumbly expects the parties will refer the question of the timing of
elections to the National Electoral Commission because neither side
wants to be seen as publicly admitting that the schedule put forward
in the CPA is not feasible. Despite admitting that he has does not
have high hopes for elections, Plumbly added that the importance of
the elections remains paramount for the future of Sudan.

5. (SBU) When asked if he concurred with gloom-and-doom scenarios
regarding the ICC arrest warrants, Plumbly admitted that it would be
better for Sudan if the entire process were averted, but did not
subscribe to the view that the apocalypse would commence should
Bashir be labeled a "war criminal" by the ICC. Nonetheless, Plumbly
said it was important to try and insulate CPA implementation from
the ICC indictment and its subsequent reverberation throughout the
country, and to discourage the SPLM from rising up in dissension to
the NCP as a result of the possible indictment.

6. (SBU) SE Williamson cleared this cable prior to transmission.

ASQUINO

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