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Cablegate: Yassir Arman: Referendum Law Impasse and Popular

VZCZCXRO9056
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0965/01 2350744
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 230744Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4292
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000965

NSC FOR MGAVIN AND LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI EAID PHUM AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: YASSIR ARMAN: REFERENDUM LAW IMPASSE AND POPULAR
CONSULTATION LEGISLATION

REF: A) KHARTOUM 952 B) KHARTOUM 905 C) KHARTOUM 743
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In an August 10 meeting, Deputy Secretary General
of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)'s Northern Sector
and SPLM National Assembly Caucus Chairman, Yassir Arman, said SPLM
believes national legislation is necessary to conduct popular
consultations in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, decried NCP
obstructionism in negotiating the stalemate over the Referendum
bill, rejected the census as a basis for the elections, and
commented on delays in Vice President Kiir's travel. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Arman briefed PolOffs on First Vice President and President
of the Government of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir's August 9 meeting
with President Bashir and Second Vice President Taha. The meeting
was a follow up to commitments made in the Special Envoy's
trilateral talks to address critical issues at a high political
level. The meeting focused on implementation of the Permanent Court
of Arbitration decision on Abyei. Kiir and Bashir agreed to form
technical committees to implement the Abyei decision. Both parties
agreed to nominate members to the committees. Arman noted that the
Border Commission issues (Ref. A) and Referendum law were brought
up, but nothing came of the brief discussions.

------------------------------------------
Arman: Law Needed for Popular Consultation
------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Arman told PolOffs that national legislation will be
necessary for the popular consultations in Blue Nile and South
Kordofan states. (NOTE: The CPA is unclear if National Legislation
is required. It essentially leaves it up to the parties to decide.
The SPLM's interprets the CPA's language as requiring national level
legislation. This SPLM interpretation is new. END NOTE.) The
SPLM's reasoning is that, without the "national commitment" to the
popular consultation process that will come from passing
legislation, there is the risk that the NCP will fail to recognize
as legitimate the end result of any process that does take place,
especially if the end result is unfavorable to their interests.
Arman acknowledged that the requirement for legislation will add to
the extensive list of bills that the National Assembly must pass
during the brief October through December legislative session.

----------------------
Referendum Law Impasse
----------------------

4. (SBU) There has been no progress in the negotiations on the
Referendum bill, Arman said (Ref. A). He accused National Assembly
speaker Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir of working to "make secession
difficult" for the South. He was also critical of Badria Suleiman,
Chairperson of the National Assembly's Legal Affairs Committee, who
he claimed has put impediments in the path of negotiations, and who
he said is taking a "hard line." Arman was particularly troubled by
her remarks that she would like to "make unity attractive by law"
thereby insinuating that the Assembly would produce an unworkable or
problem-laden referendum, calling the remarks "dangerous."

5. (SBU) Arman applauded the Special Envoy's successes in refocusing
the parties and the international community on the CPA. However, he
cautioned that the NCP "knows Americans and will tell them whatever
they want to hear." He was hopeful that with clear objectives, the
Special Envoy will successfully resolve some outstanding issues.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Census Results Necessitate Demarcation Rejection
--------------------------------------------- ---

6. (SBU) Moving on to the census, Arman adamantly rejected the
census results as a basis for demarcation of constituencies in the
Northern Sector as well as the rest of the country. He reiterated
that the SPLM will not accept the census and they will not accept
demarcation and delimitation of constituencies of the border based
on the census results. Arman said the NCP had rejected out of hand
a number of proposed solutions to the census problem.

--------------------------------------------- -----
NCP Threatens to Lift Arman's Legislative Immunity
--------------------------------------------- -----

7. (SBU) Arman said that his comments about the Public Order Police
(POP) (NOTE: Arman supposedly accused the POP of "taking advantage
of the women they arrest and bargain with them for their honor and
exploit their fear from their families" END NOTE.), have resulted
in efforts by the NCP to lift the immunity from prosecution that
Arman enjoys as a legislator. He defended his comments as part of
his job as a legislator. In that role, Arman believes the "indecent

KHARTOUM 00000965 002 OF 002


dress" law (Ref. B) should be amended or repealed. Arman noted he
stands in solidarity with Lubna Hussein, a women currently standing
trial for violating the law by wearing pants, and who has made a
public stand to challenge and repeal the law. Only the Speaker of
the National Assembly has the right to lift another member's
immunity and only after an investigation, Arman said, but the
Speaker is an NCP member. Arman also said that the POP may pose
problems during the election because they operate at the political
will of the ruling party.


8. (SBU) Arman confirmed that First Vice President Kiir's travel to
Blue Nile State on August 11 took place, but that travel to North
and South Darfur would be delayed due to an SPLM political bureau
meeting and the start of Ramadan. (NOTE: Kiir's trips, which are
sensitive and stir up controversy with the NCP, are often delayed.
END NOTE.)

9. (SBU) COMMENT: Arman, a member of the SPLM's inner circle, seemed
unconcerned about crafting a strategy to deal with stalemates on the
divisive issues with which he is charged. On the contrary, we
suspect he is one of the drivers of remaining SPLM sticking points
that have prevented the elections and referenda processes from
moving forward.

WHITEHEAD

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