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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09KHARTOUM1022 2009-09-04 09:34:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Khartoum
Cable title:  

SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION MEETING WITH GOSS VICE

Tags:   EFIN KDEM PGOV PINR PINS PREL AU SU 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001022 

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DEPT FOR SE GRATION, S/USSES, AF A/S, AF/C, AF/E
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DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/05/2011
TAGS: EFIN KDEM PGOV PINR PINS PREL AU SU
SUBJECT: SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION MEETING WITH GOSS VICE
PRESIDENT RIEK MACHAR

Classified By: CDA Robert E. Whitehead for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (c) Special Envoy (SE) Scott Gration met Government of
South Sudan (GOSS) Vice President Riek Machar on August 20.
Machar spoke at length about the political dynamic between
the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and its
partner in the Government of National Unity (GONU), the
National Congress Party (NCP). Machar also offered his views
on the ongoing implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA), insisting that the SPLM in principle
recognizes the need for national elections. He also briefly
discussed the SPLM role in Darfur and addressed the key GOSS
issues of finance and security. He addressed the continued
problems caused by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the
South. End summary.



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


Proper Approach to the NCP


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





2. (c) Machar opened the meeting by addressing SPLM
relations with its putative NCP partner, noting that the NCP
takes what it can but gives back little in return. He said
that sanctions provide the SPLM a good tool to pressure the
NCP, but that despite all the sanctions the economy of the
North was still thriving. How, he asked, can the US unwind
sanctions in a way that will encourage the NCP to be more
forthcoming? He cautioned that Khartoum needs to feel
pressure and that any relief on sanctions must provide the
NCP a real incentive to implement the CPA and move on Darfur.
Change needed to come from Khartoum, not Juba, he stated,
and the SPLM still saw sanctions as good leverage on
Khartoum. He suggested that the US discuss in advance with
the SPLM any unwinding of sanctions, since the right weapon
used at the right time could yield the right results.



3. (c) He continued that he had encouraged his SPLM
colleagues not to attach too much importance to current
internal NCP differences, since the NCP inevitably survived
its rifts. Turning to NCP personalities, Machar commented
that if Bashir wants to implement any genuine democratic
reforms, he will need Vice President Taha in place. An
attempt to oust Taha would likely push Taha into Turabi's
camp. Machar continued that Taha knew how to persuade Bashir
even in the face of resistance from the very powerful Nafie
Ali Nafie: Nafie talked a lot, but Taha had shown he can
deliver results. He said that he believed that former NISS
Director General Salah Ghosh would be active behind the
scenes in spite of his recent demotion to presidential
advisor.



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


CPA Implementation and Elections


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





4. (c) Machar said that the two parties had resolved most
contentious CPA issues but remained stuck on the two big ones
-- the census and referenda -- because Khartoum was dragging
its feet. VP Taha had already made it clear that he was not
prepared to move on democratic transformation of laws. The
North-South border issue was stuck in committee, Machar
noted, and the GOSS needed USG assistance to break loose this
process. When the NCP disposed of the outstanding issues, he
said, the SPLM would finally believe that the NCP is sincere
about moving ahead.



5. (c) The SPLM as a party is in principle for national
elections in 2010, Machar assured the SE. Decision on how to
approach the elections had been a central topic of discussion
in recent SPLM Political Bureau (PB) discussions, and
different camps favored different options: allying with the
NCP; conceding the Presidency to Bashir by not putting
forward a SPLM candidate; or possibly forming an electoral
coalition with the opposition. He predicted that the NCP
would win the vote if allied with the SPLM, but otherwise it
was difficult to see an NCP victory absent rigging. He said
that there would soon be a conference of all non-NCP
opposition parties, including the SPLM, to assess various
positions and explore the possibility of forming an
alternative alliance. The creation of an opposition bloc
would depend upon CPA implementation and progress on Darfur,
important issues very close for all the marginalized peoples
of Sudan.



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



KHARTOUM 00001022 002 OF 002


Darfur


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





6. (sbu) Machar said that in the past the SPLM had tried to
help on Darfur by calling rebel movements to Juba to discuss
a common approach to peace talks and creation of a common
front. SE Gration said that we would welcome a continued,
deeper SPLM role in helping to resolve Darfur.



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


Money, Security and the LRA


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





7. (sbu) Machar admitted that the GOSS understood its
serious problem in the area of finance. In the Political
Bureau (PB) and other fora much of the discussion had focused
on how to stem corruption at all levels of government. Some
PB members had proposed granting the Anti-Corruption
Commission prosecutorial authority and looked for means to
strengthen the GOSS internal audit process. He repeated that
the problems were serious and needed immediate attention.



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


Security


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





8. (c) He cited internal security problems as another major
preoccupation for the GOSS, The police system inherited from
the North was staffed by either inexperienced or
over-the-hill officers not up to the job. Small arms
proliferation was rampant, and porous borders had defeated
efforts at disarmament. In addition, the population's fear
that the weak police force could not protect them created
resistance to disarmament attempts. He added that the North
continued to funnel arms to civilian populations in the South
to undermine the GOSS. He said that the resultant insecurity
posed a major obstacle to any investment in South Sudan. He
agreed with SE Gration that the GOSS needed to build
institutions rather than buy tanks, since a South that was
internally secure could repel any foreign aggression. A
south wracked by internal violence, however, could neither
defend its border nor provide necessary services to its
people.

---
LRA
---



9. (c) Machar admitted that he did not know where the LRA's
Joseph Kony was currently located, although he suspected
Western Equatoria. As a result of LRA depredations, many
civilians had been displaced and Western Equatoria was no
longer food self-sufficient. Machar praised a draft bill
supported by Senator Kerry on disarmament and reconstruction
in Northern Uganda and said that the entire region needed a
peace rather than a war agenda. The SPLM had asked for
others to regroup for peace, but many had not accepted. The
best way to undermine Kony would be to persuade his followers
that Kony's agenda was not in their interest and that they
should disassociate themselves. Machar complained that the
Acholi diaspora had repeatedly urged Kony not to sign the
peace agreement brokered by the GOSS and said that convincing
the diaspora that their cause is incompatible with Kony's
aims would decrease Kony's popular support and turn the LRA
conflict into a military issue that would be easier to solve.
Machar said that he was still engaged in the LRA issue, but
in a low-key manner.



10. (c) Comment. As always, Machar was expansive, congenial
and articulate. Some of his statements, however, and
especially those on corruption, run counter to allegations of
impropriety that have dogged Machar since he first entered
the GOSS. We have still not come across evidence that would
support his claims that the North is actively funneling arms
to civilian populations in the South, a stock SPLM talking
point. .
WHITEHEAD