Cablegate: African Union High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan

DE RUEHKH #0126/01 0241210
R 241209Z JAN 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: African Union High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan
Brief P-5 Ambassadors

1. Summary. Ambassadors and Charges from the P-5 met on January
23 with the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP)
at the latter's request. AUHIP Chairman Thabo Mbeki presented the
panel's proposed action plan for future involvement in Sudan and
provided a detailed briefing on what AUHIP hopes to achieve. He
staked out a broad AUHIP mandate that extended from the peace
process in Darfur to conflict mitigation in the South, from
post-referendum issues to the coordination of international action
on Sudan. Mbeki said that he had presented his nine-point work
plan to both the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudanese
People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and anticipated their
respective responses within the following days. Mbeki made a good
case for a wider AUHIP role in Sudan, although the scope of the
proposed work plan is extremely ambitious and some timelines seem
overly optimistic. He acknowledged that the AU would require a
beefed-up presence on the ground in Sudan and elsewhere but did not
address either exact numbers or costs. End summary.

2. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, former Burundian
President Pierre Buyoya and former Nigerian President Abdulsalami
Abubakar briefed P-5 Chiefs of Mission January 23 on The AUHIP's
proposed role in Sudan from January 2010 through July 2011. Mbeki,
who conducted the briefing for the AU side, stressed the urgency of
action to help Sudan overcome its problems during the period ahead.
Mbeki handed out copies of the AUHIP work plan and said that he had
already sent a short note to special envoys involved in Sudan to
report where things stand. He said that the AU was interested in
value-added implementation tasks that did not duplicate other
initiatives already underway. He noted that AUHIP had not yet met
with Joint Chief Mediator (JCM) Djibril Bassole or the Qataris but
hoped to do so soon. An anticipated meeting with the respective
heads of the UN and AU peacekeeping departments had not come off as
scheduled on January 18 because the UN's Alain Le Roy had been
unable to break away from the situation in Haiti. Mbeki said he
had met with Sir Derek Plumbly, the Chairman of the Assessment and
Evaluation Commission (AEC) and hoped AUHIP would be able to
collaborate closely with that body, as there was to need to
duplicate the ongoing AEC role in monitoring implementation of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the North and South.
Most importantly, Mbeki concluded, he had met with and presented
the work plan to both the NCP and SPLM and requested their views on
the proposal. He expected their respective specific replies-
within the next three days, at which time AUHIP would immediately
get to work.

3. Mbeki next turned to the work plan and discussed the nine
proposed areas in which AUHIP hopes to engage, as follow.

0 Helping accelerate the resolution of the conflict in Darfur.
The most expansive point in the plan included assistance to JCM
Bassole and Qatar; establishment of a permanent AUHIP presence in
Doha; engagement with armed opposition (to convince them to
negotiate); engagement with a range of Darfur communities, plus
preparing for a major Darfur-Darfur Conference to search for
consensus on ways forward, creation of a suitable electoral
environment, post-conflict issues, and unmet gaps; prepare and set
a date for the DDC; work with UNAMID to improve the security
environment with community policing of IDP camps, facilitation of
expanded UAMID patrols, etc; and join action by the Government of
Sudan, the AU and UNAMID that would support voluntary returns, deal
with land ownership claims and provide compensation. Mbeki said
that he hoped a political settlement could be brokered in advance
of April elections.

0 Implementation of the CPA. AUHIP planned to engage with the
AEC and establish close liaison with UNMIS, IGAD and special envoys
to assist the NCP and SPLM in resolving outstanding CPA matters.
Mbeki was a bit fuzzy on some of the details, such as the use of
the disputed 2008 census for the April elections. He noted that
the NCP had made a proposal to the SPLM on supplemental SPLM
members of the National Assembly but said he was not clear on the
details and did not think the SPLM had yet responded.

KHARTOUM 00000126 002 OF 003

0 Facilitation of post-referendum issues. Mbeki said the NCP and
SPLM had agreed to a AUHIP role but did not specify what. He
observed that both parties had created task forces to define their
positions and noted that the AEC could play an expanded role by
serving as the secretariat for dealing with these issues.

0 Making unity attractive. AUHIP hoped to convene a National
Summit Meeting of Sudanese political parties to achieve a national
consensus of the major challenges facing the country. He cited a
2007 agreement on national reconciliations that the NCP and SPLM
had adopted but never implemented, and referred to this as a
possible starting point.

0 Southern Sudanese consensus. He noted that AUHIP had met with
southern parties in Juba the prior month and gotten broad agreement
on opening democratic space and providing funding to opposition
parties that the elections would pass muster. The work plan called
for a summit meeting on these and related issues by the end of
February. Mbeki referred to a 2008 decision by a meeting of
Southern Sudanese political parties that GOSS President Kiir
admitted had not been implemented.

0 Tackling ethnic conflicts in Southern Sudan. AUHIP hoped to
engage with the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) on how to
foster inter-ethnic reconciliation in the South. Mbeki noted that
the ongoing conflicts were nothing new and that reconciliation was
needed whether or not Sudan remains united.

0 The April 10 general elections. Mbeki said that AUHIP planned
to meet with the National Elections Commission (NEC) on a paper the
NEC had sent to the panel in Addis Ababa. All matters relating to
free, fair and inclusive elections would be on the table, including
disputed legislations and the vote in Darfur.

0 Sudan's neighbors. Mbeki said that AUHIP had its own program
to engage with all of Sudan's neighbors as well as the UN and other
interested international partners.

0 Coordinated international action. Mbeki said that AUHIP
envisaged an international consultative mechanism that would meet
regularly in Addis. He said that the UN would be included and
noted that under each of the nine work categories there was a point
about liaison with special envoys. He said that he wanted the
comments of special envoys on the work plan, specifically how they
could work together with the AUHIP to help Sudan, and requested
that the G-5 ambassadors transmit this document to their envoys.
He observed that organization of a Khartoum-based "Friends of
Sudan" coordinating group might also be useful. Mbeki said that he
would move ahead on these issues only after receiving a green light
from the NCP and SPLM.

4. Mbeki said that AUHIP realized that in addition to deploying a
permanent presence to Doha, it would need to develop a time-line in
order to deal with short-fuse priority issues and to beef up the
staff of Ambassador Mahmoud Kane's AU Liaison Office in Khartoum.
He said that the EU had already said it could assist with this
initiative. Mbeki opened a question and answer session in which he
said AUHIP would be unable to meet with the special envoys in Addis
Ababa on January 31 because of prior commitments. Mbeki strongly
agreed that setting up referendum commissions for Southern Sudan
and Abyei should take place immediately, and not after an elected
government was in place in April - that would be far too late. He
responded that AUHIP foresaw a role in setting up a justice
mechanism for Darfur but that the GOS had said that first it needed
additional engagement with the panel. Mbeki confirmed that AUHIP
had thus far met separately with the NCP and SPLM and would do so
again in fielding the reaction of the two parties to the work plan.
The three-AUHIP members were accompanied by Ambassador Kane, AU
staff from Addis Ababa and Khartoum, and renowned Sudan expert Alex

KHARTOUM 00000126 003 OF 003

de Wall, who is assisting the panel.

5. (sbu) Comment. The work plan is comprehensive, perhaps too
much so. Close collaboration, including pre-agreed task-sharing by
stakeholders, will be necessary to realize this very ambitious
program. The optimistic time-lines for some initiatives, such as a
political agreement in Darfur, will be difficult to realize. We
strongly agree that a "Friends of Sudan" working group in Sudan can
be helpful in keeping the array of competing/ complementary
initiatives to help Sudan remain on track.

© Scoop Media

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