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Cablegate: Governor Agar Strikes Pessimistic Tone in Meeting With

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OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1182/01 2931348
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201348Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4596
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001182

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 PREL KDEM KPKO AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: GOVERNOR AGAR STRIKES PESSIMISTIC TONE IN MEETING WITH
ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION COMMISSION

Ref: Khartoum 1137

1. (SBU) Summary: In an October 14 meeting with members of the
Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC), Malik Agar (SPLM),
Governor of Blue Nile State, said that increasing numbers of Sudan
Armed Forces (SAF) and the continued presence of Other Armed Groups
(OAGs) in his state raise security concerns; emphasized the
importance of elections for the much-anticipated popular
consultations in his state, but stated that the 2010 elections were
"already rigged". He decried what he termed the failure by the
Government of Sudan (GoS) to release funds owed to the state. At a
follow-on meeting, Ahmed Kermino (NCP), Blue Nile's Deputy Governor,
told the AEC that Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) forces
remained in Blue Nile in violation of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA), and that their presence would prevent free and fair
elections from being held in some parts of Blue Nile. The
noticeable lack of partnership between Agar, a practical moderate in
the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Deputy
Governor is troubling, and contrasts with the effective partnership
between the Governor and Deputy Governor in South Kordofan State
(Ref). End Summary

--------------------------------------------- -
SAF INCREASING, BUT BLUE NILE REMAINS PEACEFUL
--------------------------------------------- -

2. (SBU) In an October 14 meeting with members of the AEC, Malik
Agar, Governor of Blue Nile State told the group that there have
been no significant, violent incidents in Blue Nile State. This
important point was repeated by a number of other officials that the
Working Group met in Blue Nile, including Deputy Governor Ahmed
Kermino, Joint Integrated Units (JIU) commanders, and
representatives of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
Agar also noted that he did not expect violence to affect elections
in Blue Nile.

3. (SBU) However, Agar did express concerns over security,
particularly the increasing number of SAF forces and the continued
presence of OAGs within the state. Regarding SAF forces, Agar said
that, while the CPA calls for the reduction in armed forces to
pre-war levels, in fact SAF forces in Blue Nile are both increasing
in number and mechanizing. Note: In e-mail correspondence with
PolOff on October 18, Svetlana Pencheva and Sheeza Jones, United
Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Civil Affairs Officers for the
cities of Ed Damazine and Kurmuk, respectively, confirmed that SAF
forces are deploying or redeploying in Blue Nile. They also noted
that SAF is entitled to deploy forces in northern states, including
Blue Nile, and it is unclear to what extent SAF forces are
increasing versus shifting locations. End Note.

4. (SBU) Regarding OAGs, which, pursuant to the CPA, should be
demobilized or integrated into conventional forces, Agar noted the
existence in Blue Nile of Popular Defense Forces, Mobile Defense
Forces, and Popular Police, each of which he said is affiliated
with the SAF, but not officially part of military or civilian
commander structures. Deputy Governor Kermino confirmed the
existence of these forces, but claimed that they were paid by, and
took their orders from, the SAF or the police, and were therefore
part of the latter or former. . Kermino added that no security
violations by these forces have been reported.

5. (SBU) Agar noted that while the SPLM is not comfortable with the
security situation in Blue Nile, contrary to what some have claimed,
neither Blue Nile nor South Kordofan will be the catalyst for a war
in Sudan. Agar said that the people of Blue Nile and South Kordofan
recognize that southern Sudan will not support a war that might
jeopardize its right to a referendum. He noted, however, that if
the referendum is blocked, "there will be a total war in Sudan, and
Sudan will disintegrate".

-------------------------------------
DDR PROCESS CORRUPT AND JIUS "USELESS"
-------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Regarding the JIUs in Blue Nile, Agar raised commonly heard
concerns regarding all JIUs in Sudan; the JIUs do not conduct joint
training, nor are the SAF and SPLA components integrated in any
manner. He said that in fact the JIUs are useless at best, and at
worst they are dangerous civilians with weapons.

7. (SBU) Agar raised allegations of corruption in the Disarmament,
Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process in Blue Nile. He
said that the commanders responsible for selecting the former
combatants for DDR are from Khartoum, not Blue Nile, and due either
to ignorance or corruption, these commanders selected people from

KHARTOUM 00001182 002 OF 003


Khartoum for DDR in Blue Nile. Note: While the UN oversees DDR and
distributes benefit packages to DDR participants, SAF and SPLA
commanders select the former combatants who are eligible for DDR,
creating a significant potential for abuse. It is also possible,
however, that internally displaced persons from Blue Nile, but
living in Khartoum, were selected for DDR. End Note.

--------------------------------------------- --
DEPUTY GOVERNOR SAYS SPLA PRESENCE VIOLATES CPA
--------------------------------------------- --

8. (SBU) In Deputy Governor Kermino's meeting with the AEC he
expressed concern regarding SPLA forces in Blue Nile. Kermino said
that, in violation of the CPA, there were still significant SPLA
forces in Blue Nile State, even in towns not controlled by the SPLA
during the civil war. In Kurmuk, for instance, Kermino said that
the SPLA controls the entry and exit of private citizens. Note: In
a meeting with the AEC on October 14, Colonel Imran, Acting UNMIS
Commander for Sector V, noted that while redeployment of SPLA forces
out of Blue Nile is progressing, there are still SPLA forces there.
The process of redeployment is complicated because SPLA fighters
often have homes and families in Blue Nile, and come and go
regularly, sometimes armed. Further, the border between Blue Nile
State and Upper Nile State is not yet demarcated, allowing for
further disputes as to whether SPLA forces are actually in Blue Nile
State in violation of the CPA. End Note.

--------------------------------------------- ------
ELECTIONS KEY PREREQUISITE TO POPULAR CONSULTATIONS
--------------------------------------------- -------

9. (SBU) Agar said the fate of Blue Nile State is dependent on
popular consultations, and that its people are therefore keen on
elections, as popular consultations require an elected parliament in
the state. Agar stated that the census results are rigged, and that
if this is not resolved, there will not be elections as no party
will choose to join pre-rigged elections. He also stated that the
security law needs to be addressed for there to be free and fair
elections. Agar repeated the SPLM position that popular
consultations are a national issue and require a binding law be
passed by the current session of the National Assembly. In response
to a question as to what the popular consultations are in fact, he
said that legally the language is unclear, but that it is a process
that will determine the aspirations of the people. He added that
these aspirations could give rise to political and constitutional
rights. Agar raised, and left unanswered, the question of what
happens to popular consultations if there are no elections. In
private remarks at the end of the meeting, in response to a
statement that he would make a good President of Sudan, Agar
dismissed elections in 2010 as already rigged, and suggested he
might run in 2015.

10. (SBU) Deputy Governor Kermino was also pessimistic about
elections in Blue Nile, but for different reasons. He said that
certain regions of Blue Nile State, including Kurmuk County and
western Bau County, would be unable to hold free elections because
SPLA forces control these regions and arrest any non-SPLM member
conducting election activity there. Regarding popular
consultations, Kermino repeated the National Congress Party (NCP)
position that there is no need for a national law regarding popular
consultations, and said that the SPLM is talking about popular
consultations too early. Kermino maintained that the NCP wants to
follow the CPA, noting that the CPA says nothing about a national
law governing the popular consultation process. He concluded that
the results of the process should be referred to the Presidency.
Note: In fact, the CPA says very little about popular consultations,
including nothing about a national law governing the process or
referring the results of the process to the Presidency. End Note.

--------------------------------------------- ---
DEVELOPMENT IN BLUE NILE OBSCURE OR NON-EXISTENT
--------------------------------------------- ---

11. (SBU) Agar said that in Ed Damazine, the capital of Blue Nile
State, it is difficult to see any peace dividends, while outside the
capital there are none at all. Agar blamed the GoS for the lack of
progress, stating that the GoS has not released the development
funds owed to Blue Nile State. Agar stated that any development
work in his state is being done by NGOs, adding that this is an
embarrassment for Sudan, as NGOs should be filling gaps, not
providing basic services. Agar noted that when the NGOs were
expelled in March, work on their projects simply stopped, but that
some work has recently restarted. Regarding peace dividends,
Kermino noted that an all-weather road now connects Ed Damazine to
Kurmuk. Kermino acknowledged that international donors played a

KHARTOUM 00001182 003 OF 003


large part in this achievement, but also stated that donors had not
fully implemented their role in development, while Khartoum's
ability to aid Blue Nile is limited by the world financial crisis.

12. (SBU) Comment: Governor Agar is generally seen as a fairly
practical leader in the SPLM, so his apparent pessimism regarding
elections and hardening stance toward the NCP are troubling.
Despite Agar's leaving unanswered the question of how popular
consultations can go forward without valid elections, it seems
likely that he has considered this question and come up with his own
ideas, given his dismissal of elections in 2010 as already rigged.
It is also unfortunate that the Governor and Deputy Governor appear
to have separate agendas, and lack the effective partnership likely
needed to deal with the variety of issues facing Blue Nile State in
the next two years. End Comment.

WHITEHEAD

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