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Cablegate: Aec Plenary: Nine Outstanding Referendum Law Issues

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SUBJECT: AEC PLENARY: NINE OUTSTANDING REFERENDUM LAW ISSUES

REF: A) KHARTOUM 931 B) KHARTOUM 952

1. (SBU) Summary: At the Assessment and Evaluation (AEC) Plenary
Meeting on September 1, Abdulla Idris, co-chairman of the National
Constitution Review Commission (NCRC) laid out the nine major points
disputed by the parties on the Referendum law. AEC members urged
the parties to move forward. Border demarcation and payment of
Abyei arrears are forthcoming according to the NCP's State Minister
of the Presidency Idriss. End Summary

Border Demarcation Slows
------------------------

2. (SBU) Ambassador Derek Plumbly applauded the new momentum on CPA
implementation and acknowledged continued public debate on certain
issues. He noted that border demarcation has stalled and urged the
parties to meet the September 30 deadline for completion of
demarcation. UN Political Affairs Chief Muin Shreim noted that UNMIS
had provided a base map of old boundaries and over flights of the
area in support of border demarcations (Ref A).

3. (SBU) AU Liasion Office Chief Political Officer Boitshoko
Mokgatlhe said that the AU Peace and Security Council will send a
team to meet with the parties and international community about
elections and concerns over the lack of implementation of certain
key protocols in the CPA.

Referendum Law: Nine Issues Outstanding
---------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Abdulla Idris, co-chairman of the National Constitution
Review Commission provided a full readout of the status of the
Referendum Law (Ref B). Both parties insisted that the political
will is present to solve the outstanding issues. Idriss highlighted
the need for a "package deal" to resolve all the issues at one
time.

The nine issues are as follows:

-- Electoral System: The NCP wants to fix a percentage of the total
eligible Southern voters as a "quorum" large enough to legitimize
the vote; the SPLM wants the number of voters who choose to
participate to constitute the "quorum". The SPLM has suggested the
referendum itself be decided by simple majority (50 percent plus
one) while the NCP insists on a 75 percent "super majority".

-- Voter Participation: The NCP insists that 75 percent of eligible
voters must participate in the referendum in order for a vote to be
legitimated.

-- Eligible Voters: The parties disagree on who should be eligible
to vote in the referendum. SPLM contends that only Southerners
living in the South should be allowed to vote, while the NCP wants
the vote extended to the over 400,000 Southerners they say live in
the North as well as to Southerners living abroad.

-- Voting Process: The SPLM wants to use two ballot boxes so that
illiterate voters will find the process less confusing; the NCP
wants only one box. Both methods raise issues with security and
privacy of the vote.

-- Phrasing: The NCP insists that the phrasing of the Referendum law
should focus on unity rather than separation.

-- Referendum Commission: The SPLM wants a Referendum Commission
composed of two equal co-chairs while the NCP wants a commission
composed of an NCP Chairman and SPLM Deputy Chairman.

-- Seat of Commission: The SPLM wants the seat of the commission
located in Juba while the NCP insists it be in Khartoum. The CPA
stipulates the Commission will be based in Khartoum. Both parties
disagree about what powers the Khartoum and Juba offices will have.

-- Post Referendum Arrangements: The NCP wants a law covering the
referendum, while the SPLM favors a binding agreement signed by both
parties. In the trilateral talks, the NCP retreated from its
insistence that post-referendum arrangements be included in the
Referendum law.

-- Security: The parties disagree about who should provide security
for the referendum. The SPLM insists the SPLA and Southern Sudan
Police will provide security while the NCP wants the SAF and
National Security Services involved.

KHARTOUM 00001032 002 OF 002

Abyei Arrears Paid
------------------

5. (SBU) State Minister of the Presidency Idriss noted that 48
million SDG would be transferred to the Abyei administration soon.
Idriss said that he has requested the Abyei Border Demarcation
Committee to submit proposed costs and equipment needs. Idris
stated that the Abyei Border Demarcation Oversight Committee will be
appointed once the Border Demarcation Committee is in the field.

6. (SBU) The Norwegian Ambassador, chair of the AEC Security Working
Group, raised the issue of violence in Jonglei as a threat to
security in Southern Sudan. The AEC members agreed to monitor the
issue.

7. (SBU) Comment: As usual, the AEC plenary broke little new
ground. There were discussions on the margins about unverified
press reports that he NCP and SPLM have come to agreement on some of
the nine referendum issues.

WHITEHEAD

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