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Cablegate: Congo-Rwanda Joint Verification Commission

VZCZCXRO9510
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1406/01 3601341
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261341Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7292
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001406

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS KPKO PREF PHUM CG RW
SUBJECT: Congo-Rwanda Joint Verification Commission
(JVC) meeting, December 20-21, 2007

REF: Kinshasa 1377

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

Note: The following report was provided by Embassy Kinshasa's
political officer in Goma. End note.

1. (SBU) Summary: The Congo-Rwanda Joint Verification Commission
(JVC) authorized Joint Verification Teams (JVT) to investigate
allegations of violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity
at the December 20-21 meeting in Rubavu, Rwanda. It also clarified
several procedural issues involving investigations. The commission
addressed Congolese insistence on an investigatory role for the
Nairobi Communique's Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) by agreeing to
invite the JMG to define its relationship with the Joint
Verification Mechanism (JVM). It addressed Rwandan objections to a
re-draft of the JVM terms of reference by agreeing to consider
written comments at its next meeting. Congo agreed to host the next
meeting within the next two months at a date and place to be
determined. The meeting was less important for what it agreed than
for the fact that it took place at all after an hiatus of almost two
years. End summary.

2. (U) At the December 20-21 meeting of the Congo-Rwanda Joint
Verification Commission (JVC) in Rubavu (formerly Gisenyi), Rwanda
authorized Joint Verification Teams (JVT) of military experts based
in Goma-Rubavu and Bukavu-Cyangugu to immediately begin operations
to monitor and investigate allegations of violations of sovereignty
and territorial integrity. The JVC and the JVT together comprise
the Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM), mandated by a 2004 bilateral
agreement to verify, investigate and report on allegations regarding
Rwandan combatants, Rwandan involvement in the DRC and border
violations.

3. (U) The meeting also clarified several operational issues
involving the JVT, discussed the JVM's relationship with the Joint
Monitoring Group (JMG) established by the Nairobi communique
(reftel), and received a proposal for revising the JVM's terms of
reference. Presidential Special Envoy Ambassador Richard Sezibera
(who chaired the meeting) and Ambassador-at-Large Seraphin Ngwej
headed the Rwandan and Congolese delegations respectively. SRSG
William Swing represented MONUC while the African Union was
represented by Ambassador Pierre Yere; Political Counselor David
Brown participated as USG official observer.

JVT operations
--------------

4. (SBU) Lt. Colonel Acton Kilby of MONUC, acting as JVT
facilitator, said the teams appear to be functioning effectively,
noting, however, there were unspecified difficulties "at higher
levels." Kilby reported that since the September 2007 JVC meeting,
the JVT had implemented a new structure, re-opened its Bukavu
office, and established a secretariat at MONUC headquarters in
Kinshasa. Each of the two teams is led by a MONUC liaison officer,
and composed of three military experts, one each from Congo, Rwanda
and the AU. The commission agreed that the two sides should
exchange lists of team members and notify movements in advance in
order to minimize past cross-border travel difficulties cited by
Kilby.

5. (SBU) As the commission's investigative arm, Kilby said the JVT
is currently investigating seven allegations, and noted their work
will support both the JMG and MONUC's DDRRR program. Swing observed
that previous JVT investigations had determined that 20 of 22
allegations the JVC had received during its existence were without
foundation. The commission agreed that teams will investigate
suspected violations when one party informs the other in writing,
copying MONUC to ensure expeditious action.

6. (SBU) Kilby also asked the commission to authorize the JVT to
investigate allegations of border violations involving Uganda or
Rwanda. The commission concluded that other mechanisms should be
used in such cases.

7. (SBU) The Rwandan JVT leader observed that the teams had been
inactive for nearly two years after Congo withdrew its members in
2006. He raised concerns that long-standing allegations made by
Rwanda regarding infiltration by ex-FAR/Interahamwe fighters into
the Congolese army via the brassage process had yet to be examined.
As he had at the December 16 JMG meeting (reftel), Ngwej said that
Congolese authorities had recently detained a member of the Rwandan
military or presidential guard. The commission agreed both sides
should review outstanding allegations and re-submit them as
appropriate.

KINSHASA 00001406 002 OF 002

Relationship with JMG
---------------------

8. (SBU) The meeting's most contentious issue involved the
relationship of the JVM to the Joint Monitoring Group agreed to in
the Nairobi communique. Ngwej made repeated calls for investigation
of allegations by the JMG, echoing similar statements December 16
(reftel). Members of the Rwandan delegation objected that the
Nairobi communique called for existing mechanisms, such as the JVM,
to be used whenever possible.

9. (SBU) The issue was finally resolved by discussions on the
margins prompted by the U.S. observer which resulted in agreement
that although the JVC could not define the JMG's role, it could
request the JMG to put together a proposal on how it would relate to
the JVM and other bodies mentioned in the communique. Swing
privately expressed consternation at Ngwej's continued interventions
on the point, noting that none of the Congolese delegates he had
talked to understood Ngwej's insistence on it.

10. (U) Note: In the Nairobi communique of November 9 both sides
agreed to "share information, and address issues of common concern
through existing mechanisms, in particular the Joint Verification
Mechanism (JVM) and the Tripartite Plus Commission." The December 5
JMG modalities of work document notes that the JMG task force "may
initiate its own investigations/inspections," while its terms of
reference of the same date requires it to "work closely with the
Joint Verification Mechanism to seek verification of facts and
clarification of situations." End note.

Terms of reference
------------------

11. (SBU) A second point of contention involved a proposed update
of the JVM's terms of reference by MONUC. The text took the Rwandan
delegation by surprise. Sezibera said he had first seen the
re-draft on December 16. Rwandan delegates asked why the new text
was necessary. They were happy with the 2004 original, which they
said had involved six months of negotiations. Ngwej said Congo
supported the new draft in its entirety, and criticized Rwandan's
position as an obstacle to progress.

12. (SBU) Swing was clearly embarrassed that what MONUC had viewed
as an essentially technical exercise had become a major point of
disagreement, but chose not to note that the Tripartite Plus
military chiefs of staff had tasked MONUC, as the JVM secretariat,
to do so. Sezibera, as chairman, finessed the differences by asking
both sides to submit comments in writing for discussion at the next
meeting.

Next steps
----------

13. (U) Ngwej said that Congo would host the next JVC meeting
within the next two months, as required under the current terms of
reference, at a time and place to be determined.

Comment
-------

14. (SBU) Like the December 16 JMG, the most important news was
that the JVC met and both sides expressed commitment to the process.
The Rwandans appeared to be the better prepared of the two
delegations, but Ngwej's monopoly of the comments on the Congolese
side effectively overshadowed any expertise his delegation might
have contributed. End comment.

GARVELINK

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