Cablegate: U.S. Special Envoy Gration Meets with Southern Sudan
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1280/01 3190851
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 150851Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4734
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001280
NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SU
SUBJECT: U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION MEETS WITH SOUTHERN SUDAN
1. (SBU) Summary: In a November 4 meeting U.S. Special Envoy (SE)
General Scott Gration met with representatives of opposition
political parties from Southern Sudan. The representatives
expressed concerns regarding elections, the referendum and the
recent parliamentary boycott. They appealed to the SE to assist in
opening a dialogue and to mediate discussion between the less
powerful political parties and the SPLM. End Summary.
Concerns Regarding SPLM and Elections
2. (SBU) SE Gration stressed that the election is not just between
two parties, the National Congress Party (NCP) and the SPLM, but
rather for the entire country of Sudan. He emphasized to a group of
14 opposition party leaders the importance that all political
parties participate. The group included, among others, the Sudan
People's Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), Sudan
National African Union (SANU), United Democratic Party (UDP), South
Sudan Democratic Forum (SSDF), Union of African Parties-Two
(USAP-2), and United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF).
3. (SBU) Opposition party leaders raised concerns that the SPLM
talks only to the Government of National Unity (GNU) in the north.
The southern opposition parties feel marginalized, and they claimed
that voter registration for next year's election, which opened on
November 1, is proceeding slowly in the south. They said that
confusion and lack of trust in the SPLM-led Government of Southern
Sudan (GOSS) had caused a low and tardy turnout thus far. They are
convinced the SPLM will not allow free and fair elections and
claimed that citizens will therefore not invest in a process that
they view as already tainted.
4. (SBU) The United Democratic Front (UDF) and others expressed
concerns that opposition parties are not free to fully participate
in the political process in the south. They noted disruption of
campaigning efforts, harassment, and even reportedly physical
beatings by the SPLM. Opposition parties believe that many of the
current problems with the political process, including census
results that did not favor the South, are due to SPLM weaknesses.
Agreeing that elections must be held, they nonetheless worried that
the current political situation in Southern Sudan may make this
5. (SBU) The opposition parties roundly blamed the SPLM for holding
up progress on implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA) by making popular consultations and the Abyei referendum
conditions to forward movement, effectively making Southern Sudan
hostage to issues outside its territory that are political issues
for the SPLM.
6. (SBU) The group did not feel it would be a problem to attain a
two-thirds turnout for the referendum vote, but some expressed
distrust about accurate accounting of votes cast in parts of Sudan
outside the south. One party representative insisted the vote
should be limited to the south. (Note: This was the initial position
of the SPLM as well. End Note.)
Boycott Is Not The Solution
7. (SBU) Therasa Siricio Iro, State Minister of Environment and
Physical Development and SANU Deputy Party Head said the recent
parliamentary boycott by the SPLM is not a solution. She called for
the southern parties to resolve differences inside the system and
noted that the boycott prevents passage of laws essential to the
welfare of the south. She believes the boycott serves only to
silence the Southern Sudan political voice.
Requests for SE Mediation
8. (SBU) The SANU Party Deputy Head said Southern Sudan needs to
create a roadmap for its future, because if nothing is done,
Southern Sudan is on a collision course with renewed conflict. She
lamented that the ruling party had failed to provide democratic
KHARTOUM 00001280 002 OF 002
transformation and good governance and therefore peaceful elections
and a referendum for self-determination are not currently possible.
9. (SBU) All agreed that to find a way forward, they need assistance
with starting a dialogue with the SPLM. They asked for SE Gration's
assistance in opening a dialogue with the SPLM and for his mediation
to foster open discussion.
10. (SBU) Comment: Many of those present were either defectors from
the SPLM, including Lam Akol, or from rump parties created by the
NCP with limited following in the South. Some of their complaints
nonetheless ring true. End Comment.
11. SE Gration has cleared this message.