Cablegate: Goma Report for January 10 - Day Five of Kivus

DE RUEHKI #0024/01 0111116
R 111116Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Goma Report for January 10 - Day five of Kivus
Conference; Trouble with CNDP and big speeches

1. (SBU) Summary: The Kivus conference will be extended until
January 20. CNDP threatened to boycott but is apparently now
willing to continue attending. Three heavyweights -- Kamerhe,
Ruberwa, and Mbusa -- gave contrastingly positive speeches, each
emphasizing that the conference represented an historic opportunity.
Conference President Malu Malu reiterated that the FDLR will not be
invited to the Conference, but both he and Foreign Minister Mbusa
left the door open by noting that the Nairobi communique calls for
FDLR-GDRC contact. End summary.

2. (SBU) The Kivus conference in Goma will now continue until
January 20. Conference president Malu Malu explained to
international observers January 10 that President Kabila wanted the
multiplicity of vying groups to have a hearing and wanted to ensure
that the key discussions on the margins, especially with armed
groups, not be compressed. The plenary January 11 will be devoted
to speeches by representatives of each ethnic group in the Kivus.

CNDP threatens to leave

3. (SBU) Nkunda reduced CNDP attendance January 10 from twelve to
four and threatened to boycott the conference altogether. The
reason was that during the meeting that the international observers
had with the CNDP on January 9, the Republican Guard (a special unit
within the army that is used for Presidential protection) asked
MONUC representative Christian Manahl whether one of the members of
the CNDP delegation was Georges Mirindi, who had been convicted in
absentia for the assassination of Laurent Kabila. Manahl
ascertained that the delegate was Seraphin Mirindi (Mirindi is a
common name) and no relation of Georges Mirindi, and the Republican
Guard went away. However, the chief of the CNDP delegation, Kambasu
Ngeve, issued a written complaint; the delegation attending the
conference January 10 was reduced to four; and Nkunda threatened to
boycott altogether. Malu Malu said that he and Tutsi leaders Denis
Ntare and Emmanuel Kamanzi met with the CNDP delegates in the course
of January 10 and were assured that CNDP would attend in full
January 11.

4. (SBU) January 10, the first full plenary, was devoted to major
speech-giving, dominated by three heavyweights, President of the
National Assembly Vital Kamerhe, RCD head Azarias Ruberwa, and
Foreign Minister Antipas Mbusa. Kamerhe and Mbusa gave rousing,
charismatic speeches, often bringing applause, while Ruberwa (the
first Tutsi to address the conference) was serious and measured in
his tone. All three emphasized that the conference offered an
historic opportunity to end conflict in the Kivus.

Kamerhe, Ruberwa and Mbusa give speeches

5. (SBU) Tracking what he had told the international observers the
previous day, Kamerhe told the conference that it was essential that
it produce a concrete plan to end conflict. It would take great
courage to commit to a political and diplomatic solution, rather
than a military one. Leaders of armed groups would need to have
intense discussions and elaborate a plan of disengagement,
ceasefire, movement of troops to transit centers, and brassage.
CNDP and Mai Mai had claims that had to be seriously examined. If
Rwanda accepted Congo's plan to deal with the FDLR, Nkunda would
have less basis for claiming he was the only one who could solve the
FDLR issue. If UNHCR produced a plan for identifying refugees,
Nkunda could no longer claim he was the only salvation for refugees.
These were not insoluble issues. Kamerhe openly told the audience
that he advocated that the tough issues be handled in his Wise Men's
Committee ("Comite des Sages"). In a master political stroke, he
called on one member of every ethnic and armed group to come forward
and shake hands, which they did smilingly.

6. (SBU) Ruberwa was the only speaker to emphasize the themes of
good governance, protection of human rights, and combating
corruption. Without ever mentioning the words "Tutsi" or "Rwanda,"
he cogently made the case for protection of minorities, punishing
hate talk among any office-holders or candidates, and paving the way
for the return of refugees. There was no visible negative reaction
in the audience to any element of his long discourse. He urged the
conference to give every ethnic and armed group a thorough and fair
hearing. He described the mission of the conference as finding a
way this week to begin the end of conflict in the Kivus.

7. (SBU) Mbusa went even further back in history in his even longer
but riveting speech, emphasizing that there was no recourse today
but to cooperate with Rwanda. He observed, in a jocular tone, that
the rest of the world held the Congolese's vast county to ridicule

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for heaping blame on such a tiny neighbor, so small that it was
barely discernible on maps. He described as delusionary claims that
Congolese refugees were a mere fabrication of Rwanda. It was time
for the people of the Kivus to put such fantastical ideas away. Nor
could the Congolese demand that the FDLR problem be resolved through
inter-Rwandan dialogue. There was now a serious plan for coping
with the FDLR and the conference needed to play its role in ensuring
that the Kivu populace bought into the plan.

Other ways to talk with FDLR

8. (SBU) In the evening meeting with the international observers,
Malu Malu said that FDLR would not be invited into the conference
but rather conference leaders would seek and meet with FDLR. Mbusa
emphasized that DRC was obliged to talk to FDLR now, under the
Nairobi communique and the Congolese plan. EU envoy van de Geer
outlined further contacts that the international observers planned
to have with armed groups, ethnic groups, and civil society. Malu
Malu approved all these meetings, and Mbusa advocated more, rather
than fewer, meetings -- e.g., seeing Banyamulenge and Hutu groups
separately, given the deep divisions in those communities, and
meeting smaller ethnic groups, such as Hunde, Nianga, and Tembo,
separately rather than together.


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