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Cablegate: Abyei Demarcation Committee Delayed, Seeks Intervention

VZCZCXRO2929
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1174/01 2911603
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181603Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4585
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001174

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PBTS PINS KPKO AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: ABYEI DEMARCATION COMMITTEE DELAYED, SEEKS INTERVENTION

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1135 C) KHARTOUM 1067

1. (SBU) Summary: In an October 9 letter to Riek Machar (SPLM), Vice
President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), three members
of the Abyei Boundary Demarcation Committee state that the committee
is seriously hampered by political interference, security concerns,
and lack of equipment. The three committee members, all members of
the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), allege that the
problems facing the committee are rooted in the fact that the
National Congress Party (NCP) is not interested in demarcation of
the Abyei boundary, and intends to use the committee as a scapegoat
when demarcation fails. Whether the problems faced by the
demarcation team are intentional or unintentional, it is clear that
the demarcation team is sitting in Abyei town unable to do its work.
End Summary.

-------------------------------------------
LETTER DECRIES OVERSITE OF COMMITTEE BY NCP
-------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) In an October 9 letter to Machar in his capacity as Vice
President of the GoSS, Kwol Biong, Valentino Malueth, and Ring Kuol
Arop, the three SPLM members of the six person Abyei Boundary
Demarcation Committee claim that demarcation is being intentional
hampered by the Presidency of the Government of Sudan (GoS). In
particular the letter decries the lack of an oversight committee as
called for by the Points of Agreement executed by the NCP and SPLM
on August 19, and the imposition of Sami Bushara (NCP), as
administrative secretary on the committee. The letter states that,
without the consent of the SPLM, Bushara has been given
responsibility for coordinating administrative and security issues
with the presidency and with the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) deployed
along the proposed Abyei boundary, and that Bushara, at the behest
of the presidency, has carried out his duties in a manner calculated
to frustrate the team and leave it vulnerable to security threats.

-----------------------------------------
DEMARCATION TEAM THREATENED AND HAMSTRUNG
-----------------------------------------

3. (SBU) The letter claims that the demarcation team faces serious
security issues. The most serious allegation is that on the evening
of September 29, Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) based in Heglig
threatened with heavy machine guns the Joint Integrated Unit (JIU)
guarding the demarcation team, forcing the JIU to return to its base
in Abyei town, leaving the demarcation team without protection.
[Note: Post has been unable to confirm this report; however,
Khartoum media reported on October 6, that SAF forces ordered the
September 28 withdrawal of the JIU tasked with providing security
for the demarcation team. End Note.] The letter also states that
local Misseriya have begun threatening the demarcation team (Ref A),
and that this threat is compounded by the fact that the SAF
component of the Abyei JIU is composed of Misseriya. The committee
members wrote that they feared the Misseriya JIU members are
coordinating with armed Misseriya tribesmen in the area and that in
the event of an attack on the demarcation team, the Misseriya JIU
members will side with the attacking forces. [Note: In an October
16 conversation with David Raikow, Political Officer for the United
Nation Mission in Sudan, Raikow confirmed that the SAF component of
the Abyei JIU is primarily composed of Misseriya, poorly-trained,
and in his view, liable to react in any number of ways if attacked
by Misseriya. End Note.]

4. (SBU) Beyond security, the letter alleged a number of ways in
which the committee has been hamstrung. For example, the team has
not been provided with any kind of digging machinery to install the
pillars and posts that will demarcate the boundary (Ref B). The
letter also stated that Mr. Bushara willfully withheld the
committee's proposed budget from the presidency, and that the
vehicles needed to start the work arrived a week late.

-------------------
DEMARCATION ON HOLD
-------------------

5. (SBU) On October 13, Poloff spoke by phone with Kwol Biong
(SPLM), Deputy Chairman of the Abyei Boundary Demarcation Committee.
Biong said the demarcation team has been delayed in Abyei town
since October 3. Biong said that the commanders of the Abyei JIU,
which was tasked with providing the demarcation team with security,
had told the demarcation committee that the JIU cannot do so because
the JIU is not capable of dealing with the threat posed by the
Misseriya. Biong also stated that the JIU commanders have told the
committee that the JIU must communicate with their commanders in
Khartoum prior to any patrols near the proposed Abyei boundary.
Biong also stated that he called Machar on October 9 to ask his

KHARTOUM 00001174 002 OF 002


assistance in getting work restarted. As of October 13 no physical
demarcation had been accomplished.

6. (SBU) Comment: The demarcation of the Abyei boundary, the
coordinates of which have already been accepted by both parties, is
a perfect example of how a relatively straightforward, technical
task can become a political battle in Sudan's current environment.
The committee's letter raises serious allegations against the NCP
and SAF to the highest levels of the GoSS. Whether the problems
faced by the demarcation team are intentional or not, it is clear
that the demarcation team is sitting in Abyei town unable to do its
work. Moreover, despite having agreed, as part of the trilateral
process led by the Special Envoy, to disseminate the decision of the
PCA to the affected communities, including through meetings with the
traditional leadership, this has not occurred. Ideally, the parties
will quickly find a way to move forward with demarcation, as the
Misseriya have already begun their southern migration toward Abyei,
earlier than in previous years. At the same time, some elements of
the Misseriya have already clearly expressed their opposition to
Abyei's demarcation. Given the political sensitivity of Abyei to
the northern and southern governments, and their constituents, the
Misseriya and Dinka Ngok, respectively, demarcation could become a
catalyst to broader conflict.


WHITEHEAD

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