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Cablegate: National Assembly Establishes Commission of Inquiry Into

VZCZCXRO1298
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0343 0801325
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211325Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5836
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000343

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM KBTS PREL CG AO
SUBJECT: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ESTABLISHES COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO
BORDER DISPUTE WITH ANGOLA

REF: A. Kinshasa 318 B. Kinshasa 275

1. (U) Summary: The DRC National Assembly voted unanimously March
19 to establish a commission of inquiry into a disputed border area
with Angola. The 15-member commission will be chaired by a deputy
from the opposition and assisted by experts from key ministries.
The Assembly charged the commission with investigating the location
of boundary markers and assessing the humanitarian situation in the
region, and asked it to report in 10 days. End summary.

2. (SBU) Political fallout from the border dispute between the DRC
and Angola marked the March 19 National Assembly session. The
dispute was the subject of a high-level meeting March 13 in Kinshasa
at which ministers from both governments agreed the area in
question, located near the Congolese territory of Kahemba in
Bandundu province, was in fact on the Angolan side of the border
(ref A). It was one of two items on the Assembly's calendar, but
the session closed without considering the second, the proposed
agenda for the 90-day session.

3. (U) The dispute has strongly divided deputies of both camps, and
nationalist sentiment was the order of the day during the long
debate, which was punctuated by some inflammatory invective.
Following speeches from representatives of each of its twelve
political groups, the Assembly agreed that:

-- The issue is "very serious," and "a matter of dignity, justice
and territorial integrity;"
-- All legal means, including international conventions, should be
used to settle the dispute;
-- The government has done nothing to clarify the issue;
-- It was premature for Interior Minister Denis Kalume to say "not a
single centimeter of Congolese territory has been taken by Angola;"
-- Prime Minister Gizenga and the ministers of defense, interior and
foreign affairs should clarify the situation; and
-- The Assembly should set up a special commission of inquiry on the
question.

4. (SBU) The Assembly agreed that the commission would have fifteen
members (nine majority, six opposition), that its president, second
vice-president and deputy spokesman come from the opposition and its
first vice president and spokesman from the majority, and that it
would be assisted by experts from the prime ministry and the
ministries of interior, foreign affairs, defense and humanitarian
affairs. A member of the Assembly's executive committee told us
March 21 that opposition parties had selected as the commission's
president former trade minister Roger Lumbala (RCD-N) of Kasai
Oriental, whose mandate was recently restored by the Supreme Court
(ref B).

5. (SBU) Comment: The commission is scheduled to depart for the
border March 21. Opposition politicians are eager to use the issue
to criticize the government, but the decision to have the commission
of investigation headed by an opposition member will help keep
partisanship in check. In any case, with the Congolese already
acknowledging they were in error on the border dispute, the
commission's eventual "findings" are virtually a foregone
conclusion. End comment.

MEECE

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