Cablegate: Tripartite Plus: Coordinator's Visit to Kinshsa

Published: Thu 17 Jul 2008 02:59 PM
DE RUEHKI #0594/01 1991459
P 171459Z JUL 08
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Tripartite Plus: Coordinator's Visit to Kinshsa
1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador Joyce Leader, Snior Coordinator of
the Tripartite Plus Joint Comission, traveled to Kinshasa June
22-23 as partof a regional trip to Tripartite Plus capitals. Hr
schedule included meetings with Foreign Ministr Mbusa, CHOD
Kayembe, Presidential Envoy Seraphi Ngwej, and SRSG Doss. Topics
for discussion cetered around the key Tripartite subjects of
re-etablishment of diplomatic relations, return of refgees, ending
the threat posed by armed groups, ad information exchange. End
Meeting with Presidential Envoy Seraphin Ngwej
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2. (SBU) Leader emphasized to Ngwej the importance that Washington
places on the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the
DRC and the other members of the Tripartite Plus. Ngwej noted that
everything is on track for normalization of relations with Uganda
and Burundi.
3. (SBU) As for Rwanda, according to Ngwej, it is ifficult for
President Kabila to agree to re-estblish relations at this time;
the GDRC believes that Rwanda is re-occupying its territory by other
means, through the CNDP. The bottom line for the GDRC is that
Rwanda must stop supporting Nkunda. Ngwej stressed that the only
leverage the DRC has with respect to Rwanda is the normalization of
diplomatic relations, a point which Leader questioned. Leader also
pointed out that Rwanda denies the charge of support for the CNDP,
and asked how we can move forward on this issue. She suggested
distinguishing between political and technical issues associated
with renewing full diplomatic relations. Proceeding with technical
aspects, such as sending a GDRC team to Kigali to determine what
needs to be done to restore diplomatic compounds, could signal the
GDRC's intention to move the process forward. Ngwej stressed that
the high-level engagement and "moral force" of the USG is required
and suggested a summit between the Presidents of the DRC and Rwanda,
presided over by POTUS.
4. (SBU) Leader subsequently asked if the GDRC is making
preparations for the return of refugees. Ngwej said this work is
ongoing, but also underlined that the places of origin of many
refugees are in areas with tenuous security situations, which the
GDRC would like to resolve before they return. Leader asked if the
DRC was preparing for the UNHCR-led working groups on refugee return
with Burundi and Rwanda, similar to that launched recently with
Uganda. Ngwej noted that the GDRC needs a better idea of the number
of Congolese refugees in other countries and that UNHCR can be used
as a reference point on this issue. (Note: Delegations of refugee
experts from Rwanda, DRC, and UNHCR agreed July 3 in Kigali to form
a technical working group, establish secure refugee return zones,
and to register Rwandan refugees in the DRC. End note).
5. (SBU) On the issue of armed groups, Ngwej provided information
on what the GDRC is doing to combat them, but also pled a lack of
resources for military action. Notably, he raised the draining
economic effects of the December 2007 offensive against Nkunda.
Still, he promised that the GDRC will put maximum pressure on the
LRA, per the agreement at the recent Dar-Es-Salaam summit. With
respect to the FDLR, Ngwej said there are certain encouraging signs,
such as Rwanda agreeing to drop its focus on the long list of
genocidaires. He also expressed appreciation for the Rewards for
Justice program since it clearly outlines which individuals are
specifically wanted by the ICTR.
6. (SBU) The most significant problem for the GDRC now is
relocation of disarmed and demobilized FDLR elements within Congo,
particularly following the Kisangani conference. Local populations
have generally expressed opposition to resettling former FDLR
members within their communities. Leader observed that the
Kisangani "roadmap" appeared to prioritize relocation within Congo
over return to Rwanda. Ngwej responded that the GDRC believes such
relocation will be temporary, serving to break the links between
combatants and their commanders while increasing their interest in
returning to Rwanda. At the same time, he confessed that the GDRC
does not have sufficient resources available to provide for the
regroupment and resettlement of these ex-combatants.
7. (SBU) Leader brought up the subject of information sharing among
the Tripartite Plus countries and its importance to the U.S. She
asked if the Tripartite fusion cell is the best mechanism for this
activity, noting the lack of engagement of countries in the project.
Ngwej said that the GDRC could possibly support the idea of a
"virtual" cell (Note: whereby the countries could continue to
exchange information, but without the physical headquarters of the
current cell. End note) However, he opposed the idea of moving the
cell from Kisangani to Goma, for the reason that the GDRC would find
it difficult to guarantee the security of its personnel in Goma,
described by Ngwej as much more volatile than Kisangani.
Meeting with Foreign Minister Mbusa
8. (SBU) Leader also stressed to Mbusa the importance the U.S.
places on the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the
Tripartite Plus countries. Mbusa agreed and said that Kabila must
be persuaded to take appropriate action on this issue with respect
to Rwanda. He said the U.S. should encourage Kabila to move forward
on this issue. Like Ngwej, Mbusa suggested a summit between the
Presidents of the DRC and Rwanda, presided over by POTUS. At the
same time, Mbusa underlined that Rwanda needs to halt its support
for Nkunda, which would in turn remove the DRC rationale for
refusing to normalize relations with Kigali.
9. (SBU) Mbusa also highlighted the difficulties the GDRC is having
in identifying DRC relocation sites for demobilized FDLR-RUD
elements in the aftermath of the Kisangani conference, given local
resistance. He outlined a plan he had proposed for temporary
re-location in North Kivu that he claimed had President Kabila's
support. He insisted, however, that relocation should not be the
first option and questioned the priority ascribed to relocation by
the Kisangani roadmap.
Meeting with CHOD Kayembe
10. (SBU) Leader focused the meeting with Kayembe on the issue of
information sharing and action against armed groups. Kayembe noted
that the GDRC has deployed eight battalions in the Kivus to put
pressure on the FDLR. However, the cost of transporting military
units to the area is causing a great deal of difficulty for the
FARDC. He stressed the need for U.S. assistance in military
training, as well as for a special operations capability and
additional helicopters in order to fight the FDLR effectively.
Kayembe also noted that the GDRC is sending three battalions to
Dungu to put pressure on the LRA.
11. (SBU) Leader asked Kayembe's opinion on the fusion cell, noting
that U.S. funding for this mechanism will soon come to an end.
Kayembe said that the fusion cell has helped in GDRC operations
against negative forces, but agreed that a mechanism that can make
even better use of shared information would be useful.
Meeting with SRSG Doss
12. (SBU) SRSG Doss, accompanied by MONUC Force Commander General
Gaye, stressed the need for MONUC to continue training FARDC
battalions deployed against the FDLR. Doss said that those FARDC
units which are MONUC-trained are doing well, but MONUC must
continue follow-up training and mentorship to ensure sustainability.
In addition, Doss expressed the need for better intelligence and
special operations capabilities for MONUC, along with a surge
capacity. He pointed out that additional MONUC troops will be
required to provide security as the disengagement and brassage
processes begin.
13. (SBU) Doss stressed the need to determine the modalities for
receiving and relocating demobilized FDLR-RUD elements. At the same
time, he cautioned against relocation as a first option. He raised
the idea of providing a resettlement grant as an incentive to return
to Rwanda. On the Goma process, Doss expressed concern that all
sides will talk themselves into a crisis. He underlined the need
for Rwanda to put some pressure on Nkunda to show flexibility, and
hinted that the U.S. also needs to push both Nkunda and Rwanda on
this issue.
Meeting with MONUC Stabilization Plan Team
14. (SBU) Lise Grande, Stabilization Plan coordinator, noted that
facilitating the return of Banyamulenge refugees to the DRC is one
of the key benchmarks in allowing MONUC to withdraw. Johan Peleman
of MONUC's Joint Mission Analysis Cell explained that the constant
focus on refugee return from Rwanda to North Kivu masks the more
complicated question of Banyamulenge return to South Kivu, where
there is a great deal of animosity directed towards this group.
15. (SBU) On police reform, Grande noted that the United Nations
Office for Project Services is helping build housing for police
units along recently opened axes in the east. Beyond this, MONUC is
providing for police training, as well as assistance in the areas of
logistics, transport, and food provisions.
16. (U) Ambassador Leader has cleared this cable.
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