INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Oil and Abyei - Aec Plenary Raises Contentious Issues

Published: Mon 23 Jul 2007 08:51 AM
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PP RUEHWEB
DE RUEHKH #1138/01 2040851
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230851Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7957
UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001138
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR AF/SPG, AF/EPS, EB/IFD, AND EB/ESC
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR, AND ALSO PASS USAID
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SENSITIVE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EFIN ECON SOCI AID SU
SUBJECT: OIL AND ABYEI - AEC PLENARY RAISES CONTENTIOUS ISSUES
REF:
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a July 17 Assessment and Evaluation Committee
(AEC) plenary session, representatives from the Sudan People's
Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP)
addressed several unresolved and contentious issues including: the
relationship between the National Petroleum Commission and the
Executive Committee; the failure of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF)
troops to redeploy from oil production areas; and the most recent
developments on Abyei. Through trading critical remarks and
questioning the AEC's mandate, the SPLM and NCP representatives
provided two different accounts of the status of implementing the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and signaled that the
institution of the AEC may need further support. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) AEC Chairman Vraalsen began the plenary session with a
pointed opening statement. He stated that there have been high
level consultations outside the framework of the AEC which have "not
reported any visible results." He criticized the media and both the
SPLM and NCP for not celebrating the second anniversary of the
Government of National Unity (GNU). He then directly asked, "My
question to the parties is where are you taking the country?" He
closed his remarks asking for the parties' reports on Abyei, the
Sudan Armed Forces deployment in the oil areas in Unity State and
Upper Nile, and the status of preparatory work for the census.
--------------------------------------------- ---
WHO MAKES THE CALL? NPC OR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE?
--------------------------------------------- ---
3. (U) SPLM representatives reported that the National Petroleum
Commission (NPC) has been established with full registration and
approval of its internal regulations, though the secretariat still
needs to be formed. They added that an NPC office will be
constructed in Juba. Although representatives provided a positive
reading of the recent decisions regarding oil blocks 5a and 5b, they
acknowledged that the "relationship between the Executive Committee
and NPC still needs to be refined." When pressed by Chairman
Vraalsen as to whether it was the NPC or the Executive Committee who
made the final decision, SPLM and NPC representatives gave vague and
elusive answers.
----------------------------------------
SAF TROOPS REMAIN IN SOUTHERN OIL FIELDS
----------------------------------------
4. (U) SPLM representatives expressed concern about the remaining
presence of SAF troops in southern oil producing areas. Although
SAF redeployment was on schedule in Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal,
large numbers of troops remained in oil production areas. SPLM
representatives stated that the presence of some 4,400 troops in
Unity State near oil fields has created tension with the local
population who see this as a clear violation of the CPA.
5. (U) SPLM representatives stated that they judge the commitment
of their partner by the steps they take toward redeployment. SPLM
representative Angelina Teny stated that she asked one SAF commander
protecting an oil area in Unity State about their presence, and he
responded "We cannot leave the oil areas until they are secure." In
retelling this story, she asked those present at the AEC plenary,
"These forces need to make sure this area is secure from whom?" She
stated the Government of South Sudan and its forces would do
everything in its power to insure the security of its only source of
revenue - the oil fields. NCP representatives stated that the oil
areas are a national asset that needs to protection, and made no
indication that SAF troops would redeploy any time soon.
-----
ABYEI
-----
6. (U) SPLM representatives gave a cautiously optimistic report on
Abyei, stating that after lengthy discussion, the parties have
agreed to separate Abyei's oil issue from that of the border. They
added that deliberations went much further than what is stipulated
in the CPA, and also said that the SPLM has presented a "position to
the NCP" that is awaiting a response. The NCP representative said
that the issue of boundaries represents the biggest stumbling block,
but that both parties have a desire to solve the Abyei issue.
7. (SBU) COMMENT: This AEC plenary provided some stirring
moments. Vraalsen's pointed opening statement directly probed the
commitment of the SPLM and the NCP to the CPA. Meanwhile, the SPLM
shared stern words on SAF redeployment from oil fields, and the NCP
charged that they would like to hear more positive news from the
SPLM, rather than just complaints.
8. (SBU) COMMENT CONTINUED. This frankness also included a debate
about the mandate of the AEC. NCP representatives responded to
concerns about their commitment by questioning the overall authority
of the AEC, stating that it is not a court or tribunal. Alluding
that the AEC does not have the ability to enforce the CPA or
reprimand the parties involved, this representative essentially
questioned the overall mission of the AEC. Although the open and
direct discussion in the session should be applauded, this exchange
may signal that the institution of the AEC may need to be
strengthened and that certain parties may need to be reminded of the
AEC's important role in the future of the CPA and Sudan as a whole.
END COMMENT.
9. (U) Draft Minutes from this 22nd AEC Plenary meeting have been
e-mailed to the Sudan Programs Group along with the following
documents:
- Attendance list for the 22nd AEC Plenary meeting
- Approved minutes
from the 21st AEC Plenary meeting held on June 7th, 2007 (part 1)
- Chairman's report for the period June 7 to July 7
(part 1)
- Draft narrative report from the Security Working Group on '2 year
of CPA implementation' (part 2)
- Matrix for the above
- Draft narrative report from the Power Sharing Working Group on '2
year of CPA implementation'(part 3)
- Matrix for the above
- Power point presentation by UNOPS on the "Effect of Logistics and
Operations on Elections" (part 4)
FERNANDEZ
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