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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06KHARTOUM1369 2006-06-11 09:56:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Khartoum
Cable title:  

SUDAN - USAID VISIT TO BLUE NILE STATE

Tags:   EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI KAWC SU 
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VZCZCXRO4679
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1369/01 1620956
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110956Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3151
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001369 

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/SFO, USAID/REDSO, FAS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI KAWC SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN - USAID VISIT TO BLUE NILE STATE

-------
Summary
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1. USAID/Sudan representatives from the Office of U.S.
Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Office of Food for
Peace (FFP), and Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI)
visited Damazin, Kurmuk, and Bukori in Blue Nile State
from April 19 to 24, 2006. Factors affecting stability
in Blue Nile State are control of land use, formation of
a joint Blue Nile State government by the majority
National Congress Party (NCP) and minority Sudan People's
Liberation Movement (SPLM), and the high number of
internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees
returning to war-affected communities lacking adequate
public services and infrastructure. End Summary.



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Slow Progress Towards North-South Integration


--------------------------





2. The differences between northern and southern Blue
Nile State mirror Sudan's North-South conflict. Damazin
is a thriving town with bustling markets, government
services, and infrastructure, including a paved road to
Khartoum, whereas southern Blue Nile and its major town,
Kurmuk, exhibit the general state of underdevelopment
that characterizes southern Sudan. While the NCP and
SPLM have started to share power in Blue Nile State in
the formula established by the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA), the state civil service has not yet been
integrated.



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View from the State Capital - Damazin


--------------------------




3. In Damazin, USAID/OTI staff met with the Blue Nile
State governor to discuss the possibility of providing
state institutions with "ministry-in-a-box" kits,
packages consisting of office furniture, essential
equipment and supplies, and a generator. (Note:
USAID/OTI is providing similar kits to South Kordofan
State and seven state governments in southern Sudan. End
note.) The Governor welcomed the offer and said that
Blue Nile State is "far ahead" of South Kordofan in
integrating NCP and SPLM administrative structures. The
Humanitarian Affairs Commission (HAC) and Sudan Relief
and Rehabilitation Commission (SRRC), government
humanitarian offices respectively controlled by the NCP
and SPLM, have merged into a single humanitarian office.
The office is directed by an SPLM appointee, with the NCP
controlling the deputy position.


--------------------------


Challenges in Kurmuk


--------------------------





4. Government control of land and nomadic incursions
into cultivated areas remain the greatest threats to
peace in southern Blue Nile. Since 1970, the central
government in Khartoum has controlled land use in
southern Blue Nile, ceding the best agricultural lands to
outsiders who have poorly managed natural resources.
Nomadic herders traveling through southern Blue Nile have
also caused damage to local crops. In addition, armed
nomads who are widely believed to be politically linked
to Damazin and Khartoum have moved into the area,
increasing competition for limited water resources.
These nomadic groups are believed to receive support from
the Sudanese government as part of its "national defense
system."



5. A second major difficulty is the integration of the
joint state civil service. A wide disparity in skills
and capacity exists between NCP officials in Damazin and
SPLM officials in southern Blue Nile. While many NCP
authorities worked in offices during the civil war, most
SPLM officials are unaccustomed to working in an office
environment and have received no salaries or training
since joining the local government. The Kurmuk County
Commissioner requested USAID support for building SPLM
management and administration capacity. He stated that
this would put SPLM officials on more equal terms with
NCP colleagues and result in a smoother transition to a
joint system of government.



6. A third major problem in Blue Nile State is lack of
infrastructure and health, water, and education services
required to support the large number of returning

KHARTOUM 00001369 002 OF 002


refugees and IDPs. Approximately 70,000 refugees
currently live in three camps across the Ethiopian
border. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) is assisting 6,000 Sudanese refugees to
return to southern Blue Nile before seasonal rains begin
in June. UNHCR plans to organize additional returns
later in the year. In addition, many IDPs are returning
to southern Blue Nile from northern areas of the state.



7. The U.N. recently de-mined the road connecting
Damazin to Kurmuk, boosting the local economy and
facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance.
As a result, NGOs and U.N. agencies are increasing
programs in health, education, water, and food security.
Many NGOs operating in Kurmuk continue to coordinate
operations from Nairobi and Juba rather than Damazin or
Khartoum. A representative from the U.N. Mission in
Sudan (UNMIS) stated that agencies need to adjust
coordination mechanisms to comply with the CPA.



--------------------------


USAID Efforts to Provide a Peace Dividend


--------------------------





8. USAID supports three large NGO humanitarian programs
in Blue Nile State. The Irish NGO GOAL established 13
primary health care clinics. U.S.-based Samaritan's
Purse established a hospital in Kurmuk, constructed six
primary schools, and maintains ongoing food security
programs. Norwegian People's Aid manages food aid and
agricultural recovery projects.



9. USAID is the major donor supporting the U.N. World
Food Program (WFP) in Blue Nile State. WFP has pre-
positioned more than 2,000 metric tons of food aid in
southern Blue Nile and plans to distribute it during the
upcoming hunger season.



10. USAID is also implementing a project that aims to
mitigate conflict over land use. The project maps local
administrative boundaries, "bomas" and "payams", to
delineate residential and commercial areas, public
buildings, community farms and forests, and reserve land.
The project has only been implemented in SPLM-controlled
areas thus far, as NCP authorities in Damazin do not yet
approve of communities reestablishing traditional
authority over land use. In March, the project
facilitated discussions between farmers and nomads about
land use rights, access to water, and ways to resolve
disputes. Nomad representatives at the conference agreed
to disarm, but several other groups have refused to lay
down arms. Follow-up discussions are needed to advance
the process.

STEINFELD