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Cablegate: Talking Points for August 20 Consultations On Syg

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #4997 2261803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141745Z AUG 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS STATE 084997

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC PREL PHUM SU XA XW
SUBJECT: TALKING POINTS FOR AUGUST 20 CONSULTATIONS ON SYG
REPORT ON ELECTIONS IN SUDAN

1. USUN may draw from the talking points in paragraph 2 for
the August 20 consultations on the SYG Report on Elections in
Sudan.

2. Begin talking points:

-- We would like to thank the Secretary-General for his
comprehensive and incisive report detailing the preparations
for national elections in Sudan, and for identifying tasks
needing completion to prepare for the elections. We also
express our sincere appreciation for the work of UNMIS and
other UN entities in planning and assisting in the efforts to
help ensure that free and fair elections take place in Sudan.
Today, I would like to make several points.

-- I would like to begin by acknowledging the progress that
has been made towards holding national elections in Sudan.
In anticipation of the elections, 71 political parties have
been registered by the Political Parties Affairs Council.
Sudan has created a National Elections Commission (NEC),
appointed a Southern Sudan elections commission and 25 state
commissions, and passed a National Elections Act; however,
much work remains.

-- As discussed in the Secretary-General,s report, political
freedom, including freedom of press, speech, and assembly
must be respected. They form the cornerstone of a free and
fair electoral environment. We strongly urge the Government
of National Unity, the National Assembly, and the Government
of Southern Sudan to take steps to ensure they are provided
for both by law and in practice.

-- We remain concerned that there is no final resolution of
concerns related to census results which would permit the
final delimitation of constituencies to be completed without
challenge. The resolution of these concerns is an essential
part of the electoral process. Although we urge all parties
to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to conclude a
final and durable agreement, constituency delimitation is
already underway. Agreement between the parties on
transparent procedures for delimitation of remaining
constituencies, primarily in the South, is needed without
further delay. We are also concerned that the complaint
period for constituency delimitation has begun prior to the
completion of delimitation and without the public release of
delimitation information or clarification of the procedures
for filing a complaint. We urge UNMIS and other concerned UN
partners to continue to press the NEC to develop transparent
and inclusive procedures regarding the administration of all
electoral processes.

-- In addition, the lack of policies addressing requirements
for voter identification documentation and the registration
of internally displaced persons and refugees creates
conditions that could disenfranchise significant portions of
the Sudanese voting population. We acknowledge UNMIS,
attempt to bring these issues to the attention of the NEC,
and support their efforts to work with the NEC to develop
transparent policies to enable the greatest number of persons
to exercise their right to vote. UNMIS must continue to
press the NEC to develop policies and procedures aimed at
ensuring that legitimate Sudanese citizens have an
opportunity to cast votes.

-- Also, given the current literacy rate in Sudan and the
population,s lack of recent experience with elections,
substantive voter education programs are critical to enabling
Sudanese citizens to understand electoral processes and
procedures. Voter education programs should also inform the
population of the options and choices that will be before
them when they vote. UNMIS and the other collaborating UN
entities must continue to work with the NEC to formulate and
deliver an effective voter education program that addresses
the needs of every region. We urge the Government of Sudan to
encourage the NEC to work closely with groups such as UNMIS,
UNDP, and IFES to coordinate efforts to transparently address
technical electoral issues and develop and implement voter
education throughout the country. It is also important for
domestic and international election monitors to be able to
observe the entire electoral process. We urge UNMIS and
UNAMID, within their mandate, to help facilitate election
observation.
-- The lack of an operational plan and budget for the
administration and organization of elections is another cause
for concern. This in turn affects the readiness of the high
committees responsible for supervising elections at the
Southern Sudan and state levels. Unless an operational plan
is approved soon, not only will electoral administration be
impacted, the international community will not be able to
secure the funding and materials necessary to support the
electoral process. Furthermore, holding multiparty, national
elections in Sudan will require the assistance not only of
UNMIS but UNAMID. Elections conducted in Darfur include
additional difficulties such as voter identification and
registrations, logistics, and security. UNMIS and UNAMID
must continue developing and implementing a strategy whereby
UNAMID can provide all required election support and
assistance within its existing resources and capabilities.
Moreover, we hope UNMIS will be proactive in its efforts to
provide maximum assistance under its mandate and available
resources.

-- Finally, during the election period it is essential that
there be sufficient security and safety to permit the voting
population to cast their ballots in an environment free of
insecurity or retribution. We commend UNMIS and UNAMID for
their efforts to date in preparing police training materials,
and look forward to receiving the report on threat assessment
and plans for elections security. In the meantime, we hope
that UNAMID and UNMIS police will continue to work with the
national and local authorities in Northern and Southern Sudan
to prepare local police to carry out elections-related
security functions. We hope UNMIS will also explore
additional means of supporting electoral readiness, such as
assisting with transportation resources.

-- The elections, while important, are not an end in and of
themselves. They are a step in a process to bring stability
and security to Sudan. In order for the elections to be
successful, the issues relating to political freedom,
transparent constituency delimitation and registration,
administration, security, and voter education must be
addressed. The United States fully supports the work of the
UN in this regard, and calls on the Government of Sudan to
address the outstanding legal, administrative, and security
concerns so that transparent and credible elections can be
held.

End points.
CLINTON

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