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Cablegate: Drc: Scenesetter for Codel Smith

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKI #1425/01 3650922
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 310922Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7310

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001425

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP PREL PGOV EAID ECON PREF PHUM
MARR, ASEC, MOPS, KPKO, CG
SUBJECT: DRC: SCENESETTER FOR CODEL SMITH
(JANUARY 2-5, 2008)

1. (SBU) Summary: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is
moving slowly as it grapples with solutions to fundamental
governance, security and development challenges following the
historic 2006 national elections. The promise of peace and
democratization and the importance of the DRC as the linchpin of
central Africa and beyond have made it one of the Department's top
priority assistance countries in Africa. The inability of the
Government of the DRC (GDRC) to end an insurgency in the east
closely linked to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has hindered greater
progress in all areas and threatens the Government's already fragile
base of support. The insurgency has also led to widespread
insecurity in the region, contributing to a political and judicial
vacuum in which women and children are routinely abused while those
who perpetrate those crimes go unpunished. Your arrival in the DRC
comes at a critical moment. The GDRC, still smarting from a major
military setback in early December, has decided to change course by
resolving the problem of insecurity in the east through political
means and will convene on January 7 a Conference bringing together
several hundred regional leaders to map out consensus strategies to
achieve peace, stability and development. Your visit will reinforce
U.S. commitment to a long partnership with the Congolese people to
develop democratic institutions and reinforce our shared objective
of a peaceful and prosperous DRC. End summary.

2. (SBU) Your January 2-5 visit to the Democratic Republic of the
Congo is a reaffirmation of U.S. Government support for the
Democratic Republic of the Congo and its very young democracy. Your
visit comes less than 13 months after the inauguration of President
Joseph Kabila, whose father Laurent-Desire Kabila succeeded in
overthrowing dictator Joseph-Desire Mobutu after a struggle lasting
more than 30 years. Joseph Kabila took the reins of power after his
father was killed by a bodyguard in 2001. Kabila led the DRC
through a difficult transition from dictatorship, mismanagement and
devastating wars (which are believed to have taken the lives of more
than four million people between 1996 and 2002), through the
successful presidential and parliamentary elections in 2006. The
electoral process produced a government which is now confronting the
challenges of developing democratic institutions amid popular
expectations of change. This situation calls for continued and
sustained U.S. engagement in a country the size of the United States
east of the Mississippi that could be the linchpin for the
development of all of central Africa.

3. (SBU) The Department's 2006 decision to identify the DRC as one
of seven priority assistance countries in Africa reflected
achievements to date, the promise of the peace and democratization
processes, and the country's importance to regional stability and
development. Our assistance program fully supports and reflects the
transformational diplomacy goals laid out by the Secretary. The
Mission's overriding policy goals focus on implanting a culture of
democracy, accountable governance and respect for human rights,
while promoting broad economic development in a stable Congo at
peace with its neighbors and itself. USAID's 2006 budget for DRC
programs totaled USD 68 million, including funds received from
central accounts but excluding IFDA (disaster assistance). Amounts
for 2007 have risen to USD 71 million (with supplemental funding),
and are projected to rise in 2008 to USD 80.2 million, including
increases in the areas of peace and security, governing justly and
democratically, and economic growth.

Peace and Security
------------------

4. (SBU) The security situation in the DRC remains precarious in
many areas, particularly in the eastern provinces. The Congolese
military -- FARDC -- (in French acronym for "Forces Armees de la
Republique Democratique du Congo") suffers from weak command and
control, corruption, poor operational planning, limited training,
and questionable loyalty on the part of some troops. Military
forces are also responsible for some of the worst human rights
abuses in the country and, perhaps, in the entire world. The Kivu
provinces merit particular attention. Tensions there, particularly
in North Kivu, have risen since the 2006 national elections.
Challenges to the GDRC in North Kivu posed by insurgent General
Laurent Nkunda, a self-proclaimed defender of the Congo's small
Tutsi population, and ex-FAR/Interahamwe Rwandan Hutu fighters of
the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) are
testimony to long-standing and unresolved differences among local
communities and with the neighboring country of Rwanda. In South
Kivu, the Congolese military launched operations in July 2007
against a small group of armed insurgents, most of whom belong to a
specific Congolese Tutsi ethnic sub-group called Banyamulenge.

5. (SBU) The government's approach to military integration in the
Kivus has added to security concerns. As a result of negotiations
with Nkunda, in January 2007 the government, with support from the
United Nations and the international community, abandoned its
traditional armed forces integration program (known as "brassage" in
French), in favor of a new arrangement (known as "mixage" in
French) that "mixed" soldiers loyal to Nkunda and pro-government
forces into new units. The "brassage" process attempted to break up

former chains of command and regional ties by combining troops from
different armed groups, providing them with a common training plan,
and dispatching them away from their past area of operations. By
contrast, "mixage" kept these new units in North Kivu, allowing
pro-Nkunda elements to expand their influence and control throughout
the province. The deployment of these forces -- particularly of the
Nkunda loyalists who had recently fought against some of the local
population where they were now stationed - exacerbated ethnic
tensions, increased security fears, and contributed to a
deterioration in the province's humanitarian situation. "Mixage"
has been generally discredited, while "brassage" has had only
limited success in forging a modern army.

6. (SBU) Foreign armed groups operating in the DRC are not just an
internal problem; they are also a source of friction between the
Congo and its neighbors. While the number of foreign fighters has
diminished in recent years, they still pose a threat to a country's
overall security and stability, and the FARDC has been largely
unable to eliminate them. The FDLR, formed from the remnants of the
Army for the Liberation of Rwanda and former Interahamwe fighters,
remains the largest of these groups, with approximately 6,000-8,000
combatants in the Kivus. Among the leadership of the
FDLR/Interahamwe are a number of suspected or know "genocidaires,"
individuals implicated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. An estimated
500 members of the Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the
Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) operate in northeastern North Kivu
along the Ugandan border. In addition, a small number of fighters
with the Lord's Resistance Army operate in a remote northern section
of Garamba National Park on the Sudanese border. LRA forces appear
to have diminished considerably in recent months because of deaths
in the leadership and defections to Uganda.

MONUC -- the only nationwide institution
----------------------------------------

7. (SBU) The United Nations is present throughout the DRC through
MONUC (French acronym for "Mission de l'Organisation des Nations
Unies en Republique Democratique du Congo") the 17,000-strong
peacekeeping operation (PKO) with military contingents in all
provinces and major cities. It also has more than 3,000 civilian
employees. Headed by a former U.S. ambassador to the DRC, William
Swing, MONUC was created in 1999 pursuant to the Lusaka accords and
a UN Security Council mandate. It is the largest and most expensive
UN peacekeeping operation in history, costing more than $1 billion
per year. The U.S., as the largest contributor to the UN
peacekeeping budget, pays 27 percent of MONUC's budget, i.e.
approximately $300 million dollars per annum, but is not a troop
contributor. Leading troop contributors are India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, South Africa, Uruguay and Nepal, all with contingents of
more than 1,000 individuals. Much more than a simple PKO, MONUC is
in fact the only institution in the DRC with nationwide military,
transportation, communications, and administrative capabilities. In
the absence of a meaningful GDRC presence outside Kinshasa and some
provincial cities, it provides services that usually are the domain
of a national government. MONUC's Radio Okapi, for example, is the
only FM radio station broadcasting throughout the DRC in the
country's five official languages; MONUC also maintains regular
flights to all major DRC airports.

8. (SBU) MONUC has succeeded in preventing a return to the civil
and international wars that prevailed in the DRC prior to its
creation in 1999. Its record in other areas, however, is mixed. In
2004 the international media carried reports of sexual abuse by
MONUC forces. Ambassador Swing decided to meet the charges head on,
adopting a zero tolerance policy and agreeing to tough interviews on
U.S. network television. A number of suspected pedophiles were
arrested and sent home for trial and punishment. Swing's tough
policies appear to have worked; the scandal is no longer in the
headlines. But MONUC faces even greater challenges today. In the
eastern Congo, where MONUC is the only obstacle to a virtual
takeover of North Kivu province by insurgent movements, MONUC has
come under great criticism from local populations and even the GDRC
for not undertaking military action against the insurgencies.
Constrained by a UN Charter Chapter VII mandate that does not
envision offensive actions, MONUC has become highly unpopular in
certain areas and has even been attacked by angry crowds. Despite
these limitations, MONUC has energetically support U.S. diplomatic
efforts, ensuring the safety of senior advisor Shortley (see para.
11 below) and facilitating a number of meetings between Congolese
and Rwandan officials. Ambassador Swing leaves MONUC in early
January and will be replaced by Alan Doss, a UK citizen who formerly
served as head of the UN PKO in Liberia.

U.S. efforts to bring peace to the east
---------------------------------------

9. (SBU) The United States has played a key role in efforts to
bring about peace in the eastern Congo. In 2004, the U.S. launched
the Tripartite Plus (TP+) process, a forum to bring together senior
officials from the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, plus Burundi. Meeting
quarterly under U.S. sponsorship, TP+ serves as a confidence

building mechanism to help the cooperation and regional dialogue
necessary to achieve and maintain peace. TP+ has two commissions:
one for foreign ministers, and another for Chiefs of Defense
("CHODS"). A number of agreements negotiated at TP+ meetings have
contributed to increased cooperation in the areas of security,
intelligence sharing and defense. A special summit meeting of the
TP+, under the chairmanship of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,

was held in Addis Ababa on December 5 at the head of state level.
Kabila was the only head of state unable to attend the meeting
because of commitments at home. The DRC, represented by three
ministers, was an active participant, however, and the meeting
resulted in strengthened commitments to seek peaceful solutions to
the conflict in the eastern Congo and to increased cooperation
between Tripartite Plus members.

10. (SBU) In mid-2007 the U.S. stepped up efforts to bring peace to
North Kivu. In late September, Secretary of Rice met with President
Kabila in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
Kabila requested that the U.S. establish an embassy office in Goma,
the provincial capital of North Kivu. At the same meeting the
Secretary extended an invitation from President Bush for a meeting

SIPDIS
at the White House later in the fall. The Kabila White House visit
was held on October 26. A major topic of the meeting was the
conflict in the eastern Congo. The presidents also discussed U.S.
assistance to the DRC, including increased aid to combat malaria and
AIDS, and the war on terrorism. President Bush told President
Kabila that the U.S. would open an Embassy office in Goma. The
first Foreign Service officer in Goma arrived in early November and
the office has been staffed ever since by special detailees from
Washington or Embassy Kinshasa staff. The Department of State and
Embassy Kinshasa are currently reviewing plans to maintain the
office throughout 2008.

11. (SBU) African Affairs Bureau Assistant Secretary Jendayi
Frazer's senior advisor, Tim Shortly, visited the DRC in October,
meeting with President Kabila and senior GDRC officials from a wide
range of political affiliations, and with UN and NGO officials.
Shortley presented to Kabila ideas for achieving a negotiated
settlement to end the Nkunda and FDLR insurgencies. Kabila
authorized Shortley to pursue his ideas, including establishing
telephone contact with General Nkunda and working with the
Government of Rwanda to decrease tensions between the two countries.
Shortley returned to the DRC in November and December and, with
GDRC approval, met with Nkunda in his stronghold in North Kivu.
Working closely with special envoys from the United Nations, the
European Union, and South Africa, Shortley helped broker an
agreement signed in Nairobi on November 9 between the GDRC and the
Government of Rwanda to adopt a joint approach to dealing with the
FDLR/Interahamwe insurgency. Shortley's services were considered so
valuable that President Kabila asked him to return to the DRC
immediately after the failure of a military offensive against Nkunda
in early December. Shortley quickly negotiated a new agreement
whereby Nkunda withdraw from territory he had occupied during the
FARDC offensive. Shortley will continue to play a leading role at
the upcoming Kivus Conference January 7-14 and in implementing
agreements reached there.

Relations with neighbors
------------------------

12. (SBU) The DRC's relations with its nine neighbors are
relatively peaceful, though there are some underlying problems. The
Tripartite Plus Commission has made progress in reducing general
cross-border tensions in the Great Lakes region, but greater
political will is needed to normalize relations. Poorly-defined
borders have become a recent cause for concern. The DRC and Angola
remain at odds over control of a strip of land in a diamond-rich
frontier area, resulting in outcries of protest in the Kinshasa
press. They have agreed to resolve the disagreement via a technical
boundary demarcation with assistance from former colonial powers
Belgium and Portugal. In early August, Ugandan and Congolese
military forces exchanged fire in Lake Albert, bordering Uganda and
the DRC's northeastern Ituri District, after an oil exploration team
reportedly crossed into DRC territory. The dispute centers on a

small piece of oil-rich land occupied by Congolese but claimed by
Uganda. In November they met in Uganda and appear to be headed
towards settling the dispute.

13. (SBU) Donor-funded security sector reform (SSR) and
disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs have
achieved mixed success at best, and low-level conflict remains in
many eastern areas. More than 70,000 combatants remain to be
disarmed and demobilized nationwide. A new phase of DDR in Ituri,
with USD 500,000 from USAID, was launched in early August 2007 with
the aim of demobilizing an estimated 4,500 militia members. A
majority of the 4,500 turned themselves in to apply for DDR. The
European Union has long had a major involvement in the security
sector, including established European Security (EUSEC) and European
Police (EUPOL) missions directing programs in the Congo. Other EU
countries, notably France and Belgium, have provided substantial
funding support. South Africa and Angola have also played major

roles, including the training and equipping of integrated military
brigades. An international donor conference on SSR has been in the
planning stages for several months and is expected to be held as
early as February, 2008.

14. (SBU) USG involvement in security sector reform has received
relatively little funding, but we anticipate additional activities
in the near future. A training program for brigade-level officers
is ongoing in Kinshasa. Thanks to USD 5 million in funding from
FY2006 PKO funds, we plan to rehabilitate the officer training
academy, provide officer training, and make significant investment
in the military justice system. The International Military and
Education Training Program (IMET) funds U.S.-based courses that
include English-language training. Funds from the Nonproliferation,
Antiterrorism, De-mining and Related Projects Appropriation (NADR)
pay for the destruction of obsolete ordnance have been approved.
For FY2008, USD 8.4 million has already been allocated from the
Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. Funding from the
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (NCLE) program, NADR and
Peacekeeping Operation (PKO) funds will enable greater involvement
in SSR activities including, for the first time, police training.
In late January a team from AFRICOM will arrive in the DRC to
prepare the groundwork for a training program to create a
rapid-reaction force. Training should begin in March.

Governing Justly and Democratically
-----------------------------------

15. (SBU) The Congolese people continue to hold high expectations
that the democratic process will improve their lives. The
relatively high voter turnout in the July and October 2006
presidential and legislative elections demonstrated citizens'
commitment to the goal of a creating a democratic system of
government. New institutions, however, have been slow to generate
momentum. The National Assembly and Senate have only a small number
of members with legislative or government experience and are just
beginning to consider a backlog of important legislation.
Provincial officials, lacking resources, money and experience, are
unfamiliar with exercising newly-decentralized authority. Elections
for local and municipal officials are tentatively scheduled for
mid-2008.

16. (SBU) The role of the political opposition, as well as its
rights and responsibilities, remain to be defined. Parties and
candidates aligned with the Alliance for the Presidential Majority
(AMP), Kabila's electoral coalition, won majorities in the National
Assembly and Senate, as well as eight of eleven provincial
assemblies and ten of eleven gubernatorial contests -- leaving the
opposition with little apparent political clout. The Parliament has
adopted legislation giving the Opposition certain protections and
rights. Prominent opposition figure Jean-Pierre Bemba departed for
Portugal in April 2007, following fighting in Kinshasa in March
between government troops and his forces; plans for his return to
the DRC are uncertain. Members of his party claim security forces
harass their members and have attempted to muzzle their media
outlets. Bemba has conditioned his return on guarantees concerning
his personal protection and immunity from prosecution for the role
his forces played in the March disturbances.

17. (SBU) USG governance and institutional reform programs,
budgeted at USD 10.2 million for FY2007 and a proposed USD 20
million for FY 2008, focus on combating corruption and human rights
abuses, developing independent judicial and legislative
institutions, and facilitating decentralized state authority. Their
objectives incorporate long-term transformation as well as direct
citizen access to services. We continue to work with National
Assembly deputies on drafting key legislative proposals, including
laws relating to the financing of political parties,
decentralization, the establishment of a national election
commission, and the protection of human rights. We have also
conducted capacity-building seminars for deputies and their staffs,
supported the creation of provincial watchdog and advocacy groups to
encourage citizen participation in democratic processes, and worked
to develop skills of political party members, foster grassroots
anti-corruption initiatives, and establish mobile courts and legal
aid clinics.

Economic Growth
---------------

18. (SBU) The Congolese population, estimated at over 60 million
people, has not benefited from the country's vast array of natural
resources (minerals, forests, hydroelectric potential). With over
90 percent unemployment and an informal sector that rivals the
formal economy, most people survive on less than one dollar a day.
Despite annual GDP growth since 2003 of over five percent, per
capita GDP is only just over USD 100. It is estimated that at the
current growth rate, it will take until the middle of this century
for per capita income to reach pre-independence levels.

19. (SBU) Despite some progress on macroeconomic and financial

reform objectives since 2003, the International Monetary Fund
Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) lapsed in April 2006,
due mainly to continued government overspending. This resulted in
further losses of outside assistance for a budget of only USD 2
billion in 2006. The DRC has been granted Highly Indebted Poor
Country (HIPC) status, but with no PRGF in place, is not making
progress toward achieving the debt reduction envisioned. An IMF
team in November and December reported progress in the negotiation
of a new PRGF; if an IMF program is renegotiated soon, the DRC could
see some debt forgiveness (including nearly half a billion dollars
still owed to the U.S.) by the end of 2008.

20. (SBU) The 2007 budget, signed into law by President Kabila in
the second half of the year, calls for an unrealistic expenditure
level of USD 2.4 billion, much of it for government salaries
(including civil servants, public school teachers and military
personnel) and the security sector. Without much-needed outside
budget support, the GDRC faced large deficits 2007, which
historically it has reacted to with large amounts of currency
issuance. The GDRC is normally able to support less than half of
its budget from revenues. So far in 2007, GDRC spending has been
strictly contained within budgetary limits, but many of its expenses
come due only during the last quarter of the year. The 2008 budget
is expected to be approved by Parliament by before January 1, 2008.


21. (SBU) The GDRC is attempting to implement its Poverty Reduction
Strategy Paper (PRSP) as approved in mid-2006 by the IMF and World
Bank boards. The five-year government program approved by the
National Assembly in February 2007 is based on the PRSP and focuses
heavily on the five areas highlighted by President Kabila in his
campaign: infrastructure, employment, education, water/electricity,
and health. Economic growth depends upon all of these objectives,
but the GDRC will need to dramatically increase revenues from the
natural resource sector, continue to control spending, and
renegotiate an IMF program if it is to achieve debt relief and
obtain additional outside budget assistance. In 2007 the GDRC
signed agreements with the Government of the People's Republic of
China focusing on infrastructure in return for mining concessions.
The contracts were not made public. Press reports allege the
agreements are valued at between $4 and $6 billion.

22. (SBU) The USG is an active participant in the international
donors' Country Assistance Framework (CAF) process for the period
2007-10, designed to align assistance strategies and support GDRC
efforts to implement the PRSP. USG programs in support of economic
growth are fairly modest, with USD 4 million going to agricultural
production, but this may be doubled for FY2008. U.S. commercial
interests in the DRC are small but growing, with an American company
(Seaboard Corporation) running the largest flour mill in the country
and an American mining company (Freeport-McMoran) gearing up to
produce an estimated 100,000 tons of copper metal by the end of
2008. USAID and the British Department for International
Development (DFID) are collaborating on efforts to help the GDRC
implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
USAID, through the Central African Regional Program for the
Environment (CARPE) and the Congo Basin Forestry Partnership (CBFP)
is working to promoted better management of the forestry sector.
Finally, a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) initiative is
looking at the hydroelectricity and transportation (river and rail)
sectors for opportunities for U.S. business contributions to DRC
infrastructure.

Humanitarian Assistance
-----------------------

23. (SBU) Disaster relief and food assistance funds represent
approximately one-half of all U.S. foreign assistance to the DRC,
excluding support to MONUC. Four million people are estimated to
have died as a consequence of 10 years of war and conflict.
Low-level combat continues to cause large-scale population
displacements in eastern areas of the country. Many social and
economic support structures have collapsed as a result of neglect,
corruption and lack of resources, leaving victims without
livelihoods, access to medical services and in many cases, places to
live.

24. (SBU) A July 2007 report from the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance estimated there are more
than 1.1 million internally displaced people (IDP's) in the DRC,
most in the eastern regions of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri.
While the number of IDP's has substantially decreased in Ituri in
recent months, the number of displaced in North Kivu has
dramatically increased due to pervasive insecurity. An estimated
321,000 Congolese refugees remain in neighboring countries awaiting
repatriation.

25. (SBU) Total non-food IDFA funding in FY2007 was USD 28.5
million. The U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
provides transportation and a start-up cash package to returning
IDP's, and is mounting labor-intensive road rehabilitation programs.


The USG provided USD 37.8 million of food assistance in FY 2007,
most channeled through the World Food Program for distribution in
conflict areas.

Health
------

26. (SBU) Congolese social indicators are dismal: the DRC ranked
167th out of the 177 countries in the 2006 UNDP Human Development
Report. Health indicators are among the worst in the world. Infant
and child mortality are 126 and 213 per thousand live births,
respectively. Many preventable infectious diseases are prevalent,
notably malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. HIV/AIDS infection
rates stand at 4 percent of all adults, or approximately 1 million
people -- among the top ten totals in the world.

27. (SBU) Health constitutes the United States' most important
development effort. The public health care system is near complete
collapse throughout the country. Lack of equipment, trained
personnel, adequate facilities and supplies are among the obstacles
preventing access to basic health care. Non-governmental
organizations (NGO's) provide an estimated 80 percent of the limited
care available. We plan to program over USD 55 million for primary
pediatric health care in 82 rural health zones over the next three
years, and continue to support national tuberculosis and polio
eradication efforts. USAID plans to provide USD 12 million over
four years for HIV/AIDS prevention and care; CDC funds surveillance
and pediatric HIV/AIDS programs DOD has programs for military
prevention and care. The Department of State has an innovative
public diplomacy program to increase HIV/AIDS awareness.

The scene today
---------------

28. (SBU) In early December -- and despite insistent appeals from
the U.S. and other international partners to refrain from the use of
force -- the FARDC launched an offensive against the insurgency
headed by General Laurent Nkunda. The Congolese military were
quickly repelled, with thousands of "brassaged" troops abandoning
their units. The total number of desertions is estimated at 6,000 -
9,000. The GDRC decided shortly after the failed military
offensive to hold the long-awaited Conference on the Kivus (a GDRC
priority since May, 2007) to bring together representatives of all
sectors, including political officials, tribal leaders,
parliamentarians, religious leaders, and even non-combatant members
of insurgent groups. (Note: the FDLR will not be represented as
its members are Rwandans, not Congolese). The Conference was
originally scheduled for December 26 but was postponed due to
insufficient lead time to ensure proper preparation. It is now
scheduled to begin Sunday, January 7 and will last until January 14.
Hundreds of participants will go to Goma for the event. USAID has
pledged approximately $200,000; more may be given in the coming
days. Other donors include the UK, the European Union and Canada.
U.S. support will also include facilitation by Tim Shortley and,
possibly, other Americans as well.

29. Your arrival comes at a moment of both great tension and great
hope as the Congolese people look to their government, and the
international community, for help to end a conflict that has cost
millions of dollars, uprooted hundreds of thousands of people from
their homes, and resulted in thousands of deaths. It has also
created an atmosphere of widespread insecurity, contributing to a
political and judicial vacuum in which women and children are
routinely abused, and in which those whose perpetrate those crimes
go unpunished. There are clear signs the population is growing
impatient with the pace of the government's efforts and, even more
alarmingly, is skeptical that democracy can solve its problems. In
this environment, we ask you to help us to reinforce the following
messages:

-- The Congolese people rightfully expect responsible leadership at
home as well as supportive international partners. We will continue
working with the new leadership as it develops transparent practices
and establishes good governance for the well-being of the Congolese
people.

-- Voters are eager to realize tangible benefits from their
investment in democracy. They must cease being made victims of
violence. Human rights must be respected and violators punished.

-- Congo has taken remarkable strides to replace war with peaceful
democratic change. The successful elections were a tangible
demonstration of the people's desire for peaceful governance. The
United States is eager to see that momentum continue.

-- The Congolese population deserves to live in peace with itself
and its neighbors. We urge the government to honor its commitments
to complete the military integration process and to work with Rwanda
and international partners, as agreed in Nairobi, to ensure the
return of all foreign armed groups to their countries of origin.

-- We encourage political and military authorities to pursue a
peaceful resolution of the security problems of eastern Congo.

-- The United States will continue to support and work closely with
the GDRC and MONUC to bring about political reconciliation and to
prevent further conflict in the DRC and the region.

-- We strongly support the Conference of the Kivus and are
contributing funds and expertise to ensure its success. But the
more important job will come after the Conference as we work to
implement the Conference's agreements and, finally, to bring lasting
peace to this troubled region.

Garvelink

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Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

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