|06KHARTOUM256||2006-02-02 12:26:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Khartoum|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000256
1. (C) Summary: Until recently, relations between Sudan and
Uganda had been marked by mutual suspicion and aggression
through proxy forces. Uganda was a major supporter of the
SPLM throughout the 20-year civil war, and Sudan countered
this influence by providing weapons and bases to the Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA). In 2003, Sudan ended open support to
the LRA and began working with the Ugandan army to end the
LRA threat. Sudan has been able to leverage cooperation over
the LRA into a stronger bilateral relationship with Uganda.
In international organizations, Uganda has started to vote
with Sudan, or at least to abstain. This "cold peace" (ref
A), however, may not outlast the cooperation over the LRA.
2. (C) Opinions differ about the exact nature of the current
relationship between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the
LRA. The SAF and the Ugandan People's Defense Force (UPDF)
have mounted a number of successful joint operations against
the LRA. However, these operations have not been decisive,
and the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) is convinced that
the SAF, or other northern intelligence organs, continue to
support the LRA. While these claims remain unsubstantiated,
some lingering LRA support from northern Sudanese elements is
possible. End Summary.
Insurgency Quid Pro Quo
3. (U) Southern Sudan has been closely linked to Uganda
since pre-colonial times. The border between them is a
European construct, and on several occasions, the British
even considered merging Equatoria with Uganda. These tight
cultural, historical, political, and commercial links
continue to this day, with several ethnic groups spread
across both sides of the border. In recent history, this has
translated into strong Ugandan support for the SPLM since its
inception. During the war, Uganda provided significant
amounts of advice, money, and weapons to the SPLA. To
counter this influence, and to contribute to general
instability in the south, the Government of Sudan (GoS) began
providing similar support to the LRA. The GoS allowed the
LRA to establish bases along the Ugandan border, and the SAF
conducted joint operations with the LRA against the SPLA.
3. (C) In 2002, during a general ceasefire between the SAF
and the SPLA, Sudan and Uganda negotiated an agreement to end
GoS support to the LRA and allow the UPDF to conduct limited
operations in the Sudan against the LRA. This agreement has
been renewed and modified several times and remains in
effect. However, the Sudanese now admit that they continued
to secretly support the LRA until the civil war ended in 2005.
It's the LRA
4. (C) Since the signing of the CPA last year, the SAF has
stepped up its efforts to capture or kill LRA troops in the
South, often working in conjunction with UPDF and SPLA
forces. The SAF also claims that it has now completely ended
its support to the LRA. The GoSS, however, believes that the
North continues to provide significant support to the LRA.
The LRA remains the most serious security threat in the
South, despite the attempts to eradicate it.
5. (C) The following is from a 2003 cable on the
relationship between the GoS and the LRA (ref B): SUDAN
"WANTS TO GET RID OF (JOSEPH) KONY BY ANY MEANS." HE (then
Foreign Minister Ismail Mustafa) PROMISED THAT THE GOS WILL
GIVE THE UGANDAN ARMY ANY HELP SO THEY CAN "LIQUIDATE HIM."
IF THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE, THEN THE GOS WILL PROVIDE POLITICAL
SUPPORT IF THE GOU WISHES IT. ISMAIL SAID THAT SOME LOW
LEVEL SUDANESE MILITARY "OF THE SAME TRIBE AS KONY" MAY
PROVIDE SOME SUPPORT TO THE LRA. BUT IF THE GOS FINDS SUCH
OFFICERS, THEY WILL BE DEALT WITH. It is notable that Sudan,
which was supporting the LRA at the time, is making almost
the exact statements today.
Commercial Trade Strong
6. (U) In the south, Uganda is playing a key role in
economic development as trade expands. Since the opening of
the road from Uganda, the markets of Juba have been flooded
with Ugandan goods. Traditionally reliant on products from
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the North, which arrive by plane or barge, the appearance of
trucked-in imports from Uganda has led to an increase in the
variety of goods available and a significant drop in prices.
While small in terms of overall Sudanese imports, these
products are critical for the economic growth in the South.
7. (U) The open roads have also started to bring refugees
back to Sudan. Thousands of Sudanese, many of whom have been
living in Uganda for over twenty years, have either returned
or have said they want to return. While UNHCR has yet to
sign a tripartite agreement to begin organized repatriation,
the spontaneous returns have already begun. It is estimated
that over 200,000 of the Sudan's 550,000 refugees live in
8. (C) The LRA will continue to dominate the bilateral
agenda between the two nations as long as they operate in the
south and remain a security threat. The GoSS claims that the
SAF is still giving extensive support to the LRA. The DLO in
Khartoum has yet to verify any of these claims and in many
cases has refuted them. However, it is possible that the
SAF, or other northern intelligence elements, do provide at
least some support to the LRA. Joseph Kony, leader of the
LRA, remains at large and, by most accounts, in Sudan.
9. (U) Since 2003, after many years of animosity and
negative voting, the Sudanese have been able to garner
Ugandan votes -- or at least abstentions - at the UN in New
York and on the Human Rights Commission. However, there are
indications that this cooperation has limits. During Sudan's
recent efforts to head the AU, Uganda did not openly oppose
Sudan's candidacy, but they did not support it either. The
absence of the Ugandan head of state at the AU Summit was
noted and resented by the Sudanese. As the issue of Nile
waters becomes more prominent, Sudan will look to Uganda for
more support and cooperation.
10. (U) Uganda was one of only two nations (with Kenya) to
send a high-level delegation to the celebration of the CPA
Anniversary in Juba, and the only country to send a senior
member of the current government (the First Vice President).
The Sudanese in both the north and south believe that if
Southern Sudan decides to secede in 2011, Uganda would
immediately become the closest ally of the new nation.