Cablegate: Codel Payne and the Garang Memorial Service

Published: Thu 10 Aug 2006 06:57 PM
DE RUEHKH #1905 2221857
R 101857Z AUG 06
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: CODEL Payne and the Garang Memorial Service
REF: Khartoum 01857
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On July 31, over 6,000 people attended the
Government of Southern Sudan's (GoSS) memorial service in Juba for
their late leader, Dr. John Garang, who died one year earlier.
Congressman Donald Payne led the U.S. delegation to the event.
During his speech, GoSS President Salva Kiir complained of slow CPA
implementation, while reaffirming his support for a UN deployment in
Darfur. During the proceedings, and more emphatically in private
meetings with the congressman, Garang's widow Rebecca demanded an
expanded investigation into the circumstances of her husband's
death. Also during the event, the Governor of Central Equatoria
(Bahr Al Jebel) State, a militia leader and member of the northern
National Congress Party, officially joined SPLM. End Summary.
International Community Supports GoSS, CPA
2. (U) Speakers from the international community, including UN
Special Representative to the Secretary General (SRSG) Jan Pronk, AU
Special Representative Baba Gana Kingibe, Norwegian Minister of
International Development Hilde Johnson, and representatives from
East Africa, Egypt, France, Italy. Both Congressman Payne and
Special Representative of the Deputy Secretary Roger Winter also
spoke, emphasizing the United States' continued commitment to peace,
stability, and development in Sudan.
NCP Criticized, Contradicted, and Contracted
3. (U) Salva Kiir Mayardit, who assumed Garang's position as First
Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan and the President of the
GoSS, expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of the CPA
and blamed the NCP for moving slowly and failing to resolve such key
issues as the Abyei boundary, the North-South border, and
transparency in the oil sector. He did, however, acknowledge an
improvement in NCP/SPLM relations. Kiir also reiterated the
GoSS/SPLM position supporting deployment of UN troops to Darfur,
which the NCP opposes.
4. (U) The governor of Central Equatoria (Bahr Al Jebel) State,
Major Gen. Clement Wani Konga, announced during the celebration that
he would be leaving the NCP and officially joining the SPLM with his
militia, the strongest in Central Equatoria. Wani became governor
under a power-sharing arrangement that gave the NCP two
governorships in the south (the other NCP governor is in Upper Nile
State), but he has been cooperating with the SPLM for more than a
year and rumors had been circulating over his defection.
Cause of Garang's Death Retakes Center Stage
5. (U) During her speech, Rebecca Garang announced that she did not
accept the findings of the investigation into her husband's death,
which ruled it pilot error. She believes her husband was murdered
and called for the GoSS to launch an expanded investigation. The
investigation commission was chaired by former Sudanese Vice
President Abel Alier and included experts from Russia and the U.S.'s
National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB). Abel Alier
attended the memorial event as a speaker.
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Rebecca Garang Raises Suspicions on Cause of Crash
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6. (SBU) In a private meeting with CODEL Payne, Rebecca Garang was
even more explicit. She requested U.S. support for an investigation
and indicated she would not accept any result other than the
identification of her husband's killers. She said that foul play is
the only explanation for the fact that the pilots did not turn back
when her husband expressed concern, as heard on the black box. She
also said the satellite photos of the crash site showed extra
bodies, that the pilots may have committed suicide, and that
increased chatter among Libyans and Egyptians, including Egyptian
calls on the death before it was announced, indicate a wider
conspiracy. The widow called for everyone involved, including
herself, to take a lie detector test. She indicated that Kiir must
support the renewed investigation or suffer the consequences.
(Note: CODEL Payne's meeting with Kiir is covered in reftel. End
7. (SBU) She said that she had met and talked at length with the
representative of the National Transportation Safety Board who
participated in the investigative committee. Congressman Payne
observed that helicopters are normally among the safest modes of
flight, but was otherwise noncommittal on the investigative
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