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Cablegate: Se Gration's December 15 Meeting with Unmis Juba

VZCZCXRO1232
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1426 3540803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 200803Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4915
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001426

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV PHUM PREL KDEM SU

SUBJECT: SE GRATION'S DECEMBER 15 MEETING WITH UNMIS JUBA
HUMANITARIAN HEAD

1. (SBU) Summary: On his December 15 trip to Juba, Sudan, SE
Gration met with UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Deputy Regional
Coordinator Lise Grande, and heard her concerns regarding mounting
food shortages and governance issues in the region. Grande painted
a grim picture of food needs, explaining that the World Food Program
(WFP) would basically need to double its level of assistance over
the short-term, to address the needs of growing numbers of
food-insecure persons in Southern Sudan. Police forces in Sudan are
poorly trained and equipped, Grande told SE Gration, and this
results in the necessity of SPLA intervention in public emergencies.
END SUMMARY.

-------------------------------------------
Southern Sudan Food Needs "Not Exaggerated"
-------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) In a December 15 meeting in Juba, the capital of the
semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), UNMIS Deputy
Regional Coordinator Lise Grande told SE Gration that the number of
food-insecure people in Southern Sudan has increased from the
previous level of 1.5 million, with minimum estimates now at 1.8
million, and higher estimates ranging up to 2.2 million for 2010.
Grande presented an emotionally-charged plea for larger donor
contributions to the WFP, and asked SE Gration to "tell the EU to
stop being cynical and help us with food. We are not exaggerating
the need."

3. (SBU) According to Grande, the WFP is stretched to the limit in
several ways: there is insufficient food available to assist
populations in need, and the WFP's food distribution capabilities
are operating at top capacity. To improve food availability for
2010, the WFP distribution infrastructure itself will need to be
upgraded, which will incur additional financial strain. Grande told
SE Gration that the WFP aims to almost double its food distribution
from 100,000 metric tons in 2009 to 175,000 metric tons, but that
the EU is only being asked for extra funds to cover 30,000
additional metric tons, with the remaining funds being spread among
other donors. (Note: USAID has consistently provided 50 percent of
WFP's emergency appeals for the past several years, and is doing so
again this year. Thus far, USAID has provided approximately USD 350
million in Title II emergency funding for WFP's 2010 Emergency
Operation (EMOP). USAID will likely make another contribution to
WFP in early 2010. End note.)

4. (SBU) Grande explained that the GOSS also faces a dilemma
regarding food aid. It would like to be responsive to the food
crisis, but given last year's corruption scandal in which it
contracted for the purchase of six billion Sudanese Pounds (Note:
Appx. 2.7 billon US dollars. End Note.) worth of grain, most of
which was never delivered, it cannot credibly purchase food now.
The GOSS would therefore prefer to pay the WFP for food purchase,
but still get political "credit" with its population for addressing
the food crisis. Grande encouraged the Special Envoy to press the
WFP to accept this "creative" arrangement.

--------------------------------
Security and Governance Troubles
--------------------------------

5. (SBU) Grande told SE Gration that a recent USAID Governance Team
study had given the UN some much-needed benchmarks for assessment,
and that the UN was now in the process of rounding-up stakeholders
to assess their progress, and the progress of the GOSS, against the
report's findings. She reported that, while the GOSS has seen
substantial improvements in executive functions, public finance, and
administrative issues, the most important area - security - remained
deeply problematic. Grande laid the blame on disorganized donors.
Nonetheless, Grande noted that the problems could be addressed with
relatively small amounts of money: "We're talking tens, not
hundreds, of millions of dollars." This money, according to Grande,
would go to building a rudimentary command structure and providing
skills training to the police.

6. (SBU) Grande and SE Gration agreed that the police force of GOSS
had fallen behind the Army in its ability to provide even the most
basic of protection to the population. This makes the Army the
de-facto police service, and "eighty percent of the time, even the
Army can't get there soon enough" said Grande. Grande concluded
that it was critical that this stabilization gap be addressed prior
to the 2010 elections and 2011 referendum.

7. (SBU) This cable has been cleared by SE Gration's staff.

ASQUINO

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