Cablegate: Goma Report January 9, 2008 -- Fourth Day Of

DE RUEHKI #0021/01 0101452
R 101452Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Goma Report January 9, 2008 -- fourth day of
Kivus Conference; Kamerhe, CNDP perspectives

1. (SBU) Summary: Vital Kamerhe, speaking to international
observers, said that the Kivus Conference, which picked up in pace
January 9, would operate at two levels, with the real work taking
place in side discussions with the armed groups (especially CNDP).
It was essential that the Conference focus on producing a timetable,
by which the ceasefire would lead to brassage. In a separate
meeting, the CNDP delegation set forth many conditions (security for
Tutsis, dealing with FDLR, amnesty, return of refugees, security
sector reform, eliminating Mai Mai); the international observers
urged CNDP to concentrate on goals achievable in the immediate term,
i.e., at the Conference. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The Kivus Conference held its first, abbreviated
substantive plenary on the afternoon of January 9, mainly with
uncontroversial speeches by ministers. Over 500 members had been
accredited at opening of day, thanks to a hugely simplified process.
A full plenary commences January 10. The Conference is now
scheduled to conclude on January 17.

International observers meet with Kamerhe

3. (SBU) International observers, led by EU Special Envoy Roeland
van de Geer, African Union Special Envoy Pierre Yere, Belgian
Special Envoy Jozef Smets and MONUC's political chief Christian
Manahl, had an early meeting January 9 with the Conference's Number
Two Vital Kamerhe, President of the National Assembly, president of
the Conference's Committee of Elders ("Comite des Sages"), and
Conference spokesman. Kamerhe said that the Conference was
"doable" -- i.e., a real success was achievable. The Congolese were
"capable of surprising you" -- they could, he said, make a huge
advance in short order, or dally for a year. The Kivus Conference
was significantly more manageable than Sun City had been, in his

4. (SBU) Kamerhe said that the real work of the Conference would
involve the armed groups, particularly CNDP. He saw therein a
primary role for his own Wise Men's Committee. The plenaries would
be for setting the mood and consecrating decisions made in smaller
circles. The key would be to produce a concrete plan and timetable,
something that the wider Conference and general populace -- hungry
for any sign of progress toward ending war -- could latch on to and
not despair, afterwards, that the Conference had been a waste of
time. Kamerhe commented that he had for a long time hoped for the
ascendancy of a political over a military mindset, and the
Conference represented that golden opportunity.

5. (SBU) Smets pressed Kamerhe for the Government to extend the
ceasefire to several months. Kamerhe said that that would be a good
thing, but it would have to be linked with a concrete timetable for
sending troops into brassage. He emphasized the importance of DRC's
resuming diplomatic relations with Rwanda as soon as possible ("to
delay resupply of Nkunda"). He said that it was hard for him to see
Nkunda's being reconstituted as a general in the FARDC. There had
been much call in the pre-Conference for including FDLR in the
Conference but the decision had been made to keep contacts with FDLR
indirect, he said.

Also meet with CNDP delegation

6. (SBU) The international observers had a long meeting with the
CNDP delegation of 12, transported by MONUC to the Karibou Hotel.
AU Special Envoy Yere, noting that this was AU's first encounter
with CNDP, excoriated CNDP as a rogue armed group undermining a
democratic state, and described CNDP's position as politically and
morally unacceptable. Van de Geer, Smets, and Manahl were more
diplomatic but pushed the CNDP delegation on human rights
violations, rape, and child soldiers, and urged it to support the
Conference by formulating steps that would be immediately

7. (SBU) Four members of the CNDP delegation gave a smooth
presentation, mainly centered on demands only achievable in the mid
to long term, viz.: security for a Tutsi community which they
claimed suffered discrimination and threat; removal of the FDLR;
return of all Congolese refugees; amnesty for all CNDP members;
suppression of the Mai Mai ("Congo's janjawid"); and thorough
reconstitution of the armed forces. They admitted that CNDP had a
"problem" with child soldiers, and claimed that CNDP soldiers were
the "least" offender (after FDLR, Mai Mai, and FARDC) on sexual
violence in North Kivu and other human-rights violations. They
emphasized that the key issues of the Conference would have to be
addressed outside plenary and expressed skepticism that President

KINSHASA 00000021 002 OF 002

Kabila would abide by any recommendations of the Conference.

And with Refugee Representatives, Interior Minister
--------------------------------------------- ------

8. (SBU) The international observers later met representatives of
the four Congolese refugee communities in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda,
and Tanzania. The first three of these were Tutsis. The
representative from Burundi spoke French; the representative from
Rwanda spoke French but noted that the youth in the camp were only
learning Kinyarwanda; the representative from Uganda spoke English;
the representative from Tanzania spoke Swahili. In contrast to the
claim, earlier in the day, by CNDP of there being over 500,000
Congolese refugees in the four countries, these refugee
representatives gave the figure of just over 200,000 (Rwanda 47,000;
Uganda 31,000; Burundi 28,000; Tanzania 96,000 -- the only one of
the four to be decreasing at present). They all said that the
refugees overwhelmingly wanted to be able to return to Congo and
would like to do so quickly so as to be able to participate in local
elections. However, they said that most of the refugees feared for
their security on return and in many cases had no sense that they
had land to which they could return, on which to live and farm.
They said that the Congolese government had been laggard in
establishing tripartite committees (refugees, DRC, host government)
to deal with issues of return, particularly to include land tenure,
security, and economic prospects. Smets and van de Geer urged these
refugee representatives to seize the occasion of the Conference to
give a clear public presentation on their legitimacy and needs.

9. (SBU) At the international observers' regular evening meeting,
held with the Minister of State of the Interior in the place of
Conference president Malu Malu, and with presidency foreign affairs
advisor Chissambo, van de Geer and Smets urged them to assure that
the refugee representatives would have ample opportunity to speak in
plenary and that the DRC government would give priority to the
tripartite committees. The Minister of State said he would fulfill
both requests. He made the claim (false) that prior to 1994 there
had been no problems in Congo (Zaire) between Tutsis and Hutus or
vis-a-vis Tutsis generally. He also stated that the key problem on
refugees was the "party manipulating the refugees" (i.e., Rwanda).


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