Cablegate: North Kivu Military Meetings Fail As Cndp Walks Out

DE RUEHKI #0102/01 0301226
O 301226Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: North Kivu Military Meetings Fail as CNDP Walks Out

1. (SBU) Summary: FARDC Vice Admiral Dieudonne Etumba, with MONUC
as co-chair, convened a meeting of CNDP and Mai Mai groups January
28 to establish a preliminary Technical Commission to follow up the
Kivu accords, but the lone CNDP representative objected to Etumba's
proposed structure as different from the one FARDC had presented
January 25. Etumba reconvened the group January 29, and the CNDP
representative announced that CNDP would refuse any cooperation
until seven prisoners were released. When Etumba opened discussion
of a timetable, the CNDP representative walked out. In follow-on
meeting, MONUC Eastern Division Commander General Bikram Singh told
Etumba that there would be no progress if CNDP were cornered and if
there were no high-level contact by the government with Nkunda, but
Etumba said contact with Nkunda was a matter for the international
community. (Comment: Etumba's view on DRC contact with Nkunda may
not represent the position of the senior government officials in
Kinshasa. End Comment.) End Summary.

2. (SBU) Before leaving Goma January 27, Kivus Conference leaders
Appollinaire Malu Malu and National Assembly President Vital Kamerhe
told armed groups that FARDC Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Dieudonne
Etumba would lead efforts to establish a military committee under
the Acte d'Engagement. (They had told international facilitators
the previous day that Interior Minister Denis Kalume would arrive in
Goma to provide political leadership in their absence, but Kalume
has not yet appeared.) Etumba convened a meeting January 28 at
MONUC headquarters in Goma, with a single CNDP military officer and
all but one North Kivu Mai Mai group present. MONUC co-chaired the
meeting, under SRSG Doss's chief of staff John Almstrom, who had
just arrived in Goma to coordinate the aftermath of the Kivus
Conference, and MONUC's Eastern Division Commander Bikram Singh.
FARDC and PNC officers were present in significant numbers (13) as
were PARECO and Mai Mai representatives (30), leaving the CNDP
officer hugely outnumbered.

3. (SBU) Etumba opened the meeting saying that it would set in
motion the Peace and Security Technical Commission mandated under
Article 2 of the Acte d'Engagement. His instructions, he said, were
for the armed groups to discuss modalities, particularly the
structure (organigram) and timetable (chronogram), for the Technical
Commission. He said that a presidential decree would be issued
formally establishing the Commission, once the structure and
timetable were agreed. (Note: In the meeting of the same group the
next day Etumba altered his view of the group's mission, saying it
was only to set in motion an "ad hoc committee" as conceived in the
last of 15 items under Article 2: "...per the timetable established
by the ad hoc Commission..." This is the only mention of an "ad
hoc commission" in the Acte d'Engagement.)

4. (SBU) The two preliminary organigrams of the Technical
Commission, the one conceived by Malu Malu and the one presented to
the armed groups on January 25 at an inconclusive meeting convened
by FARDC Inspector General Francois Olenga, dealt only with military
issues. Etumba's organigram presented a significantly different
structure. While more streamlined than Olenga's, it made a major
addition by dividing the Commission (per the Acte d'Engagement) into
Military and Humanitarian/Social Sub-Commissions -- thereby
expanding the scope of the meeting beyond its military confines.
When Etumba asked for approval of the organigram, the CNDP
representative, Capt. B. Masuzera (who had not been part of the CNDP
delegation to the Kivus Conference), said that he could not approve
it until it was cleared by his superiors, as it was different than
the one that CNDP had discussed, which had contemplated only a
military role. He also said that Etumba was not following the
requirements of Article 2 of the Acte d'Engagement, which stated
that the Technical Commission was to be "legally instituted by the
government." Several Mai Mai speakers picked up on the latter
point, questioning the validity of the meeting since Kabila had not
issued a decree formally establishing the Commission. PARECO
condemned CNDP for alleged attacks on PARECO in recent days and
there were several other pointed criticisms of CNDP (including by a
police representative commenting that CNDP needed to send a
representative capable of flexibility), while the CNDP
representative remained silent. Etumba called for a vote on his
organigram, and all approved it except CNDP.

5. (SBU) Etumba called for resumption of the meeting on the
following day. Almstrom and Singh later met privately with Etumba,
Olenga, and 8th Region Commander General Vainqueur Mayala to stress
that the next day's meeting needed to avoid cornering CNDP. That
meeting, January 29, opened with a presentation by Almstrom, which
helped give a sense of co-chairmanship and less a sense of FARDC
domination. Singh spoke at length of the armed groups' need to work
together to take the first step; he said that without agreeing on a
forum for dealing with ceasefire violations, recriminations would
continue to build and the spirit of the Kivus Conference would be

KINSHASA 00000102 002 OF 003

dissipated. However, the meeting January 29 had much the same
imbalance as that of January 28, with CNDP's Capt. Masuzera hugely
outnumbered by Mai Mai and FARDC.

6. (SBU) When Etumba brought up the first item on his agenda -- the
organigram which CNDP was supposed to have considered overnight --
Capt. Masuzera said that CNDP would proceed no further until seven
CNDP members arrested by DRC were released. Masuzera, when
questioned by Etumba, could give no names nor a specific date of
arrest, except that it had occurred "during the conference" (i.e.,
before the signing of the Acte, Etumba pointed out), nor did he
explain why he had not raised this point on the previous day.
Almstrom said that MONUC's human rights office would investigate
these arrests immediately. Etumba adjourned the meeting for 20
minutes, in the hope that Masuzera could obtain information on the
arrests and a decision from his superiors to cease obstructing the

7. (SBU) During the pause poloff asked Masuzera if he had been able
to reach Nkunda (he had not); he urged Masuzera to take the
initiative on his own to continue participating, noting that CNDP
risked being painted as obstructionist. Masuzera was inflexible,
saying that the arrestees had to be freed and that, in any case,
CNDP did not view the proceedings as meeting the requirement of the
Acte (establishment by presidential decree). Masuzera did get the
first names of the arrestees, which he announced to the resumed
meeting. He told the meeting that CNDP had raised the issue of
these arrests with Kamerhe during the previous week, to no avail.
Eighth Military Region Deputy Commander Col. Delphin Kahimbi said
that he had complete information on the arrestees: they were not,
he claimed, from CNDP but from the MRC from Ituri (Note: In fact,
the MRC is headed by Bwambale Kakolele, a Nande and senior CNDP
military leader allied with Nkuknda. End note.), that they had been
arrested not in DRC but in Uganda for trafficking in arms on January
15, and that Uganda had "extradited" them to DRC; he said that only
three of the names of those "extradited" corresponded with the names
provided by Masuzera. Etumba carried on with the meeting, moving to
his second objective, the endorsement of a new timetable. With the
raising of this new subject, Masuzera quietly left the meeting.
After much discussion of the timetable, in CNDP's absence, Etumba
declared that he considered the timetable as being adopted and
commented that the absence of CNDP "was not a problem."

8. (SBU) MONUC and the international facilitators (EU, UK, U.S.) met
Etumba and Mayala after the meeting. Singh told them bluntly that
there was a fundamental flaw with the proceedings. There was no
point, he said, cramming the room with Mai Mai (who, Singh said,
were a minor issue) while not dealing with the fundamental issue of
"Nkunda's aspirations." Etumba responded that it was up to MONUC
and the international community to deal with Nkunda. His only role,
he said, was to set up an ad hoc committee to establish an
organizational structure and timetable, after which he would return
to Kinshasa and a decree would be issued establishing the Technical
Commission. Those were his instructions and he would not go beyond

9. (SBU) Almstrom asked North Kivu Brigade Commander General
Indrajeet Narayan for a briefing on the recent ceasefire violations.
Narayan said that there had been no violations involving FARDC, but
that there had been recent firing in three areas (in the north
around Bambu, between CNDP and PARECO and FDLR), in the west around
Mweto (CNDP and PARECO), and in the southwest near Ngungu (CNDP and
PARECO). MONUC had not confirmed which side was at greater fault
nor did it have information on casualties. Narayan said that MONUC
would establish bases the next day at Mweto, Tongo, and Ngungu.

10. (SBU) On Etumba's and Mayala's departure, MONUC and
international facilitators pondered the issue of contacting Nkunda.
They agreed that it would be important for MONUC to meet Nkunda as
soon as possible, at no less high a level than Almstrom. Singh
regretted that MONUC had up to now effectively "taken sides" by
refusing to have any high-level contact with Nkunda, but the signing
of the Acte would, he hoped, permit a change in that policy.
Almstrom said he would raise the issue immediately with the SRSG.

11. (SBU) Comment. Ambassador Garvelink met Tuesday evening,
January 29, with Dr. Raymond Tshibanda, the Chief of Staff for
President Kabila. Garvelink raised the issue of DRC contact with
General Nkunda, stressing that it is important for the government to
establish senior level, regular contact with Nkunda as soon as
possible. Tshibanda agreed and said the senior people to be named
to lead the follow-on commissions would be the appropriate people to
establish contact with Nkunda. Tshibanda said those individuals
would be identified by Thursday. End Comment.

KINSHASA 00000102 003 OF 003


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