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Cablegate: Abyei Administration Off to a Slow Start Due to Financial

VZCZCXRO6314
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1585 3020829
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 280829Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2177
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001585

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: ABYEI ADMINISTRATION OFF TO A SLOW START DUE TO FINANCIAL
OBSTACLES

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Knee-deep in protocols and barely-functional
joint military and police units, the beleaguered town of Abyei has
yet to see any of the US$48 million promised to it annually. The
Abyei Interim Administrator expects his staff to arrive eager to
volunteer their services (without pay) on October 30; military and
police units await full funding as well. With a senior UN official
calling the bureaucratic headache "a real, real problem," no signs
indicate that the fiscal hold-up - reportedly due to a proper lack
of financial controls for the Interim Administration - will be
resolved anytime soon. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On October 27 UN Head of Office for Abyei Christine
Johnson reported that none of the institutions established under the
Abyei Roadmap Agreement (Abyei Administration, Joint Integrated Unit
(JIU), and Joint Integrated Police Unit (JIPU)) are fully
functioning because of lack of funds. The Abyei Administration
finally approved by the Presidency on October 6 still has not taken
up residence in Abyei (it should have happened in August). Although
the JIU has been fully staffed since shortly after the roadmap was
signed in May, it still lacks equipment and only has two operating
vehicles to work with. (Note: Patrolling the rural areas outside
of Abyei town where violence in most likely to erupt is a critical
function of the JIU. End note.) Johnson described the absence of
the Administration as becoming "a real, real problem." She said
that traditional Dinka Ngoc leaders are starting to lose confidence
in their own Administration before it actually gets started.

3. (SBU) Johnson said that she understood that none of the local
oil revenue that is to fund the Abyei Administration under the CPA
and the Roadmap has been disbursed and that the Administration lacks
funds for even basic operating expenses. The UN has prepared
interim office space for the Administration to use for three to four
months until permanent offices can be readied. USAID is in the
process of bidding for construction of permanent offices, which will
take around three months to construct, making them available
sometime in February 2009.

4. (SBU) The same day Abyei Administrator Arop Mayok told USAIDoff
that three days earlier Arop had sent letters out to all
Administration staff to report to Abyei. Arop expects that by
October 30, almost all of the staff will have arrived in Abyei.
Acording to Arop, Administration staff will work as unpaid
volunteers until the oil revenues or money from GOSS is disbursed.
He does not suspect, at the moment, that the GNU or GOSS are
intentionally holding up the disbursement, but believes that the
administrative procedures for releasing the funds are taking longer
than expected. (Although he does not have an idea of where the issue
is in these processes at the moment.) Some of the administrative
personnel will be deployed from Abyei to follow-up on the
disbursements once they arrive in Abyei.

5. (SBU) Also on October 27, Norway's Petroleum Envoy in Khartoum,
Anders Hannevik, confirmed that the oil revenue money has been
allocated for the Administration's use, but that the funds have not
been disbursed yet. Hannevik believes that the hold-up is due to a
lack of adequate financial controls on the administration's spending
and the danger that money could be misappropriated. He said he
himself had flagged this problem with the GNU Finance Ministry.

6. (SBU) Under the CPA, eight percent of the revenues generated by
oil from the Abyei region are to be dedicated to the Abyei peoples
and government. Further, under the Roadmap Agreement, the GNU will
contribute 50 percent and the GOSS will contribute 25 percent of
their share of oil revenues from the area under arbitration to a
"Unity Fund" to be established by the Presidency for development of
areas along the North-South Border. According to an analysis
performed by World Bank staff, the annual amount available for Abyei
should total around US$48 million.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: The GNU needs constant pushing to work with
Mayok in setting in place immediately the necessary financial
controls for the Abyei Interim Administration, so that it may begin
receiving and disbursing money. Should the Abyei Administration,
the JIUs and the JIPUs fail to deliver on the promises hammered out
following the disastrous fighting in May, residents will return (and
have already begun to return) to a town not only destroyed but with
no signs of recovery. In this environment, tension between the
Dinka and Misseriya is likely to mount heading into next year's dry
season as the Misseriya again move south with their cattle. Post
will continue to raise this issue with senior GNU officials in the
coming days and weeks.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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