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Cablegate: Sudan: 49th Plenary of the Aec

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O 101345Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4721
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001272

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DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

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TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR MARR KDEM SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN: 49th Plenary of the AEC

1. (U) Summary: The November 8, 49th Plenary of the Assessment and
Evaluation Commission (AEC) tackled the following issues:
preparations for upcoming elections and referendum, post referendum
arrangements, voter registration and border demarcation problems in
Abyei. State Minister at the Ministry of Energy and Mining,
Angelina Teny represented the Sudan People's Liberation Movement
(SPLM) and Ambassador Hassan Adam Omer represented the National
Congress Party (NCP). U.S. Charge d'Affaires (CDA) Robert Whitehead
gave a brief readout of U.S. Special Envoy (SE) Scott Gration's
recent visit to Sudan, in which he met jointly with the SPLM and NCP
and deferred to the NCP and SPLM delegations for updates in progress
in negotiations following the SE's departure. According to Teny,
the parties have come to terms on overcoming remaining obstacles by
forming teams to tackle issues on a timeline, which in itself is an
achievement. With the April 2010 presidential elections only five
months away and the 2011 referendum in the South fast approaching,
there was growing concern among AEC members that not enough time
remains to organize free and fair votes. One participant reported
that a group of Sudanese intellectuals is calling for an extension
of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement's transitional period, to which
AEC Chairman Sir Derek Plumbly rejoined that the most important
strategy in the remaining months is to speed up CPA implementation,
not extend it. The next plenary is scheduled for December 8. End
Summary

--------------------------------------------- ---------
Delegates Concerned with Shrinking Elections Timelines
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (U) Preparations for Sudan's 2010 Presidential elections and
2011 referendum generated expressions of concern among the delegates
of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC) due to spiraling
problems with voter registration; continued inter-ethnic fighting in
the South; the lack of agreement between the National Congress Party
(NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) on the
disputed census, referendum turnout requirements and the SPLM
boycott of Parliament over key pieces of election-related
legislation (including the referendum bill) not yet tabled. In its
49th Plenary Session on November 8, the representatives of countries
and multilateral groups that comprise the AEC encouraged the parties
to tackle the core issues in preparation for the elections, warning
that time is not on their side.

-------------------------------------
Teny - Reviewing U.S. Recommendations
-------------------------------------

3. (U) Angelina Teny, SPLM State Minister of Energy and Mining of
the Government of National Unity (GONU), said the SPLM is committed
to proceed with the elections and will continue to work to solve the
census issue. She said the SPLM sent a paper to the NCP on this
issue and awaits a response. Teny said that the two parties agreed
that disputed points should be handled as a "package," particularly
those that share similar timelines. AEC Chairman, Sir Derek
Plumbly, suggested an ideal package consisting of popular
consultations, the referendum, and Abyei residency. Teny took
positive note of the NCP's decision to withdraw the National
Security Bill from Parliament. She said the parties have agreed to
use the definition as per the CPA for the Abyei Referendum Bill so
that the criteria for a resident will be defined by the Abyei
Referendum Commission. As such, the parties would accept the use of
precise terms of the Abyei Protocol. Among other details, the
parties continue to debate is whether former Abyei residents now
outside of Abyei should be allowed to vote. Teny described two
census proposals on which the parties are negotiating. The NCP
favors amendment of the Constitution while the SPLM wants to amend
the electoral law to provide the South larger legislative
representation. Teny said the SPLM is also reviewing a U.S.
proposed compromise on turnout requirements.

---------------------------------
UNMIS Disagrees with Package Idea
---------------------------------

4. (U) UNMIS representative Muin Shrein commended the efforts of
the parties for negotiating the details of the CPA; nonetheless, the
UNMIS representative warned consolidating the issues could result in
slowing down the process. He appealed to the parties to make
necessary concessions to move forward, as they risk sending the
wrong message to the international community, which wants to see
progress. Teny responded that things are moving forward and
disagreed that a "package" strategy would complicate the issue. She
contended the parties have agreed to the majority of disputed issues
and the teams are making significant joint efforts. The new
strategy, she said, was an attempt to meet deadlines. Teny said the
SPLM has clearly committed itself to elections and will work to find

KHARTOUM 00001272 002.2 OF 003


a solution to the census issue. She declared, "One way or another,
an agreement will go forward."

--------------
Abyei Concerns
--------------

5. (U) Netherlands Ambassador Norbert Braakhuis, who chairs the
Three Areas Working Group, expressed concern that voter registration
in Abyei would fail because only a single registration team was in
place. He noted that the imminent migration of Misseriya nomads
into Abyei and beyond could raise tensions. A November 5 meeting
between the five concerned state governors had not come off due to
the absence of the governors from Unity and South Darfur states. He
decried about the lack of border demarcation in Abyei due to
logistic and security shortfalls. The GOS had provided helicopter
support to the technical Demarcation Committee, which had allowed
them to overfly the border area that remains too wet to reach by
land. Braakhuis continued, however, that the Oversight Commission
had still not coalesced and that the cohesion of the Joint
Integrated Unit (JIU) in Abyei was such that the SPLM commissioners
were not convinced that it could provide them adequate protection
against Misseriya elements that did not want the demarcation to take
place. The SPLM commissioners had written a letter to the
Presidency asking for guidance to proceed and requesting that the
Presidency provide sufficient security to let the demarcation
proceed.

6. (U) Braakhuis pointed out that UNMIS could also deploy its
forces stationed in Abyei to provide protection, setting off a
skirmish with the UNMIS representative. UNMIS poloff Shrein
countered that UNMIS wanted to be more pro-active but had no mandate
from the UN Security Council to do so. Braakhuis shot back that
UNMIS, which has the ability to move around the area, could also do
more to report back to the AEC what is happening on the ground
instead of forcing those outside the area to rely on rumor and
inaccurate press reports for information. The UNMIS representative
repeated that UNMIS is doing what it can and that it was "unfair" to
insist that UNMIS do border demarcation. He repeated, "We are doing
what we can with the Misseriya and Dinka.

-------------
Teny Piles On
-------------

7. (U) State Minister Teny said that the SPLM was ready as a party
to join the NCP in a unified message that all parties must accept
the results of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and send a
clear message to the Misseriya People that there is no alternative
to the Misseriya and Dinka working together. She criticized the NCP
for what she called an "unfortunate lukewarm" response to the Abyei
border demarcation issue. Plumbly said the AEC Coordinator and
UNMIS must stay in touch and that the Presidency should respond to
the Committee by taking steps to ensure security. He said that NCP
Minister Abdul Kadir, who could not attend the meeting, agreed to
help. Plumbly chided Ambassador Hassan, who admitted he had not
been briefed on the issues under discussion, and said that the NCP
had earlier assured Plumbly they would be fully represented.

--------------------------------------
AEC Chairman Says CPA Timeframe is Set
--------------------------------------

8. (U) Plumbly said that he recently met with the parties to
encourage action in conjunction with the U.S. leadership on the
trilateral negotiations. He referenced his recent meeting with
Sudanese intellectuals who expressed grave concerns about the
referendum and has proposed to extend the interim period of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement, beyond in 2011. The Chairman
countered that the dates of the CPA are set and the most important
thing now is to speed up implementation, not look to postponement.

---------------------------------------
Workshops to Fuel Post 2011 Discussions
---------------------------------------

9. (U) The United Kingdom raised the urgency of settling post 2011
issues. UK Ambassador Marsden noted that Chatham House had
organized workshops in both Juba and Khartoum, and the feedback had
been positive. They are currently planning a third workshop in
December that they hope will promote further discussions. UNMIS is
also conducting a seminar in Juba according to its representative
who said UNMIS does not want to duplicate efforts. He warned that
there must be a better coordinating mechanism for the work to be
optimally beneficial. U.S. Charge' said the United States agrees on
the need to reduce the uncertainties of the post-2011 period,

KHARTOUM 00001272 003 OF 003


whatever the outcome of the referendum. He noted that the parties
have already identified nine distinct post referendum issues that
must be resolved.

---------------------
Working Group Updates
---------------------

10. (U) The Three Areas Working Group trip has been postponed but
Braakhuis will travel to Muglad with the Dutch Cooperation Minister
the week of November 16. The October AEC visit to Blue Nile State
report was circulated by the Three Areas coordinator. The AEC
Security Working Group will visit Juba, Upper Nile and Malakal
November 10-13 to assess security conditions.

11. (SBU) Comment: Minister Teny and Ambassador Omer were a
mismatch in this plenary. Teny was up to date on the salient issues
in SPLM/NCP talks, while Ambassador Hassan was basically warming the
seat. Presidential Advisor, Idris, who usually presents the NCP
side of the discussion, did not attend for purported health-related
reasons.

12. (SBU) Comment Continued: The UNMIS representative made a valid
point about the need to coordinate who will be involved in settling
post-referendum issues. In addition to UNMIS, Chatham House, the
AEC, and to some degree the U.S.-led trilateral talks, South
Africa's Institute for Strategic Studies (ISS) and another European
group are rumored to be in the chase. Absent coordination, we risk
another round of forum shopping such as those that have historically
plagued Darfur rebel unification efforts.

WHITEHEAD

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