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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On August 18 Special Representative of the
Secretary General (SRSG) Ashraf Qazi briefed the Security
Council on the situation in Sudan. He maintained that CPA
implementation remained on track and that cooperation between
the parties "shows signs of improvement" despite recent
fighting in Abyei, the Omdurman attack and an increase in LRA
violence. Qazi deflected accusations that UNMIS mishandled
the Abyei conflict and requested approximately $400m for
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs.
He singled out border delineation and demarcation as the
single most critical issue between north and south and said
that preparations were on track to allow elections to be held
by the end of 2009. Many Council members questioned whether
UNMIS's military assets and mandate were sufficient to the
task of protecting civilians and overseeing the
implementation of the CPA. In this vein, UNMIS's military
experts are preparing a military capability study whose
findings and recommendations will be included in the next
UNMIS report. Russia and South Africa took the opportunity
to repeat their position that the Council should promptly
revisit the ICC prosecutor's action against President Bashir.
End summary.

Abyei - not our fault


2. (SBU) In his briefing to the Council, Qazi defended
UNMIS's conduct during the May 14-20 violence in Abyei, which
he described as the most severe violation of the cease-fire
since 2005. Qazi emphasized UNMIS's role in sheltering 100
civilians from the fighting and said that the displacement of
approximately 50,000 residents from Abyei town was
"fortunate" as it spared more lives from being lost in the
fighting. The SRSG attempted to preempt any questioning of
UNMIS's deployed force levels in Abyei by claiming that no
number of troops would have been sufficient for UNMIS to
interpose itself between two armies intent on waging war.
Moreover, he said, as a Chapter 6 mission, UNMIS was forced
to operate in "the space given" by the parties, and had no
mandate to protect civilian property. While a military
capability study was underway, Qazi said it was not yet clear
if there would be a recommendation for more troops. He
indicated that three options were under consideration:
expanding the scope of the mission, fully deploying to the
authorized 10,000 troops, or returning to the Council to seek
an increased mission with more forces.

3. (SBU) The SRSG hailed the "cordial" relations between the
parties, but said that any progress would be hampered by the
extreme lack of trust between the SPLM and the government.
Regarding the Abyei roadmap, Qazi welcomed the establishment
of an interim administration in Abyei. He told the Council
that over 97% of Sudanese government troops had been
redeployed consistent with their obligations, while
approximately 90% of the SPLA troops had yet to redeploy.
Qazi was skeptical of the prospects of redeploying all of
these troops, indicating that DDR programs might be a more
practical solution as the troops in question were local
people who would be hesitant to redeploy away from their
land. Qazi said that approximately $400m was needed for DDR
programs, asserting that programs could not begin to disarm
and demobilize former combatants until funds had been
identified for their reintegration.

4. (SBU) Qazi termed the delineation and demarcation of the
north-south border the "most critical outstanding issue"
between the two sides and indicated that progress was
contingent on the release of the Technical Working Group's
report on the border. He also claimed that it would still be
possible to hold elections in 2009, but not by the scheduled
date in July. The SRSG said that the results of the national
census will not be released until early 2009 and are likely
to be hotly contested. According to him, the census
timetable and the effects of the rainy season (which would
make nationwide elections impractical) meant that elections
could be held at the end of 2009 at earliest.

5. (SBU) In national statements following SRSG Qazi's
briefing, Libya spoke out against non-signatory rebel groups,
while Burkina Faso stressed that peace in southern Sudan was
linked to peace in Darfur. France stressed the importance of
UNMIS's freedom of movement. China urged full implementation
of the Abyei roadmap. South Africa warned of the possible
negative consequences of a decision by the ICC pre-trial
chamber, while Russia urged that the Security Council
"revisit this issue promptly" and Italy reconfirmed its
commitment to the ICC's independence. Indonesia and Croatia
stressed UNMIS's role in working toward elections in 2009
while the UK urged UNMIS to work on arrangements for sharing
oil revenue. Speaking for the U.S., Amb. DiCarlo expressed

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strong concern over the May conflict in Abyei. She
emphasized the importance of UNMIS taking stock of lessons
learned -- including a reassessment of troop levels in Abyei
-- in order to do all possible in its mandate to defuse
future crises and mitigate their effects.