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Cablegate: Burundi Hosts the Relaunch of the Economic

VZCZCXYZ0024
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJB #0307 1151241
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251241Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0244
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS BUJUMBURA 000307

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/C

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECIN ECON PGOV PINR PREL BY
SUBJECT: BURUNDI HOSTS THE RELAUNCH OF THE ECONOMIC
COMMUNITY OF GREAT LAKES STATES

1. (U) Summary: Representatives from the Great Lakes
member states of Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic
of the Congo convened in Bujumbura on April 16 to open
dialogue for the Economic Community of the Great Lakes States
(CEPGL). The CEPGL is relaunched after 13 years of
inactivity following the regional ethnic violence begun in
1994. Former Burundi parliamentarian, Gabriel Toyi, was
chosen as provisional Executive Secretary. Among the major
areas of focus for the CEPGL are the consolidation of
regional peace and stability, democracy and good governance,
energy, and investment. End Summary.

2. (U) Delegations from the Great Lakes states of Burundi,
Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo convened in
Bujumbura on April 16 and 17 to relaunch the Economic
Community of the Great Lakes (CEPGL) organization. The
Belgian Foreign Minister, Karel De Gucht, and the European
Commissioner of Development and Humanitarian Action, Louis
Michel, also attended the opening sessions. The participants
agreed that the peace, security and economic development of
the Great Lakes region are dependent on the success of
various regional integration mechanisms, including the CEPGL.
The CEPGL was created in 1976 but is emerging from 13 years
of inactivity following the onset of regional violence in
1994.

3. (U) The primary focus of the member states is to secure
the peace and stability of the region through projects
targeting democracy, good governance, energy and investments.
Minister De Kucht noted that as the region has evolved
economically and politically, so too must the CEPGL
partnership. He invited the member states to strengthen and
increase their cooperation as a means of generating regional
peace and stability.

4. (U) Minister De Gucht pointed out that the CEPGL cannot
be an extension of the group originally conceived in 1976 but
rather must evolve to be relevant within the new regional
context. The CEPGL member states quickly moved to recognize
the sectors needing the most priority and attention in the
region and creating a roadmap for the future. Paramount
among these priorities is using democracy and good governance
to promote peace and stability within the region. Other
areas of focus include agriculture and food security, energy,
infrastructures and communication, education and research,
and investments. Using studies previously completed, the
ministers will begin to identify key projects and initiatives
to address regional objectives, including a plan to
reorganize the Permanent Executive Secretariat of the CEPGL.


5. (U) Commisioner Michel indicated that it will be
necessary for the CEPGL to work with a new perspective and
vision for the future. Michel reminded the participants
that the European Community has already pledged 50 million
euros, including five million currently available to finance
initiatives that will reinforce the logistical, technical and
strategic capacities of the CEPGL. He also warned of three
risks that will need particular focus to ensure the success
of the CEPGL, including the need to realize a sense of
urgency, the attention of the international community and the
need to turn their backs on old misunderstandings. He
expressed confidence in the activities of the CEPGL,
recognizing that the partnership has come a long way and its
work will determine the destiny of peace and prosperity in
the region.

6. (U) The participating ministers named Gabriel Toyi as
the provisional Executive Secretary of the CEPGL. A CNDD-FDD
party member, Toyi is a former Minister of Communal
Development and parliamentatian from Gitega. Toyi, who
succeeds fellow Burundian Salvatore Matata, will remain in
this post for four months.

7. (SBU) Comment: The relaunch of the CEPGL is a
significant step towards bringing lasting political and
economic stability to the Great Lakes Region. The longevity
of Burundi's post-conflict stability and Congo's recent
electoral successes are strong indicators of readiness to
address regional cooperation and growth. By putting
priorities to ink and recognizing the need for the CEPGL to
evolve and reorganize in an effort to meet the changing needs
of the area, the member states have demonstrated their
commitment to making the Great Lakes region a peaceful,
stable, economic force in Africa. End Comment.
MOLLER

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