Cablegate: Goma Report for January 16 -

DE RUEHKI #0042/01 0171142
O 171142Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Goma Report for January 16 -
Kamerhe-Shortley Meeting

1. (SBU) Summary: In his meeting with National Assembly President
Vital Kamerhe January 16, Senior Adviser Tim Shortley urged Kamerhe
(and similarly Foreign Minister Mbusa, Conference President Malu
Malu and Conference Moderator Ruberwa) to get the authorization of
President Kabila (who arrived in Goma January 15) to meet rebel
leader Laurent Nkunda urgently. Shortley said that meeting Nkunda
face-to-face would significantly increase the chances of finalizing
a peace agreement to end the DRC-Nkunda conflict before the end of
the conference. Shortley stressed that discussions between Nkunda
and senior Congolese interlocutors were the only way to achieve an
agreement on the most contentious and difficult issues to include
the status of CNDP leadership (e.g., exile). Kamerhe welcomed and
agreed with Shortley's message and stated that he would carry it as
forcefully as possible to Kabila. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary for African
Affairs Tim Shortley opened his meeting with Kamerhe (one of the key
leaders of the Kivus Conference as Chairman of the Wisemen's
Committee) by noting the intensified commitment by the United States
Government to the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the past six
months to bring about the end of conflict in eastern Congo and
assist the government to deal with foreign armed negative forces.

3. (SBU) Kamerhe said that the Kivus conference was a crucial
opportunity for ending conflict in eastern Congo. The conference
had brought together ethnic communities and armed groups, all of
which had emphasized their respect for the constitution and state
institutions, but all had decried marginalization, the fragility of
the government, the inability of government forces to protect the
population, and the lack of the state's capacity to meet the needs
of the people. Armed groups had complained that they were not
treated equitably in allocation of responsibilities in integrated
units and that efforts at demobilization had been a failure.
Kamerhe said that the Wise Men's Committee had met South Kivu
leaders January 15 to discuss the highly emotive issue of a separate
territory for the Banyamulenge. He believed that there would be a
way to make this happen.

4. (SBU) Kamerhe said that the most difficult issue was the
disengagement of armed groups. It was essential for the conference
to agree on the need to reinforce the ceasefire among all armed
groups. FARDC, MONUC, and CNDP would have to provide exact
locations and numbers of troops. Assembly centers would be set up
to prepare for brassage or demobilization. The CNDP would insist on
some conditions, but the other armed groups were not as complicated,
as they said they would stop fighting once the Nkunda situation was

5. (SBU) The President had now arrived in Goma, Kamerhe said, and
he would soon be giving directions to the government about the
extent to which it could negotiate with Nkunda. Kamerhe said that
he was convinced that "if discusions with Nkunda go well and if
there is pressure on Nkunda and Rwanda from the United States, we
an arrive at a solution." Kamerhe noted that Nkunda needed a
guarantee that if he stopped fighting he would not be arrested, but
it would be difficult for the populace to accept Nkunda's staying in
Goma or being integrated as part of the army. South Africa had said
that it would accept his exile and guarantee he would not be
extradited to DRC. Kamerhe stressed that Nkunda could stay in South
Africa two to three years, depening on his behavior there, and then
be pardoned; perhaps he would only need to stay one year. Kamerhe
said that he and his conference colleagues would try to get
President Kabila to make the necessary concessions -- it was vital
to achieve this political agreement, despite the "small
humiliations" that would be involved.

6. (SBU) Kamerhe detailed, as well, the conference's focus on
issues such as return of refugees (it would be necessary to work
with UNHCR to identify refugees especially in Rwanda and create the
necessary security conditions for their return), the humanitarian
crisis (the conference was producing an urgent plan for ensuring
return of IDPs), and reconstruction (a project such as rebuilding
the 150-kilometer Goma-Bukava road would occupy many workers who now
have no employment and would otherwise be tempted to stay as
fighters in armed groups).

7. (SBU) Shortley noted that the difficult issues for Kabila were
amnesty and exile. He also noted that Nkunda was focused on those
issues as well as integrating his troops with appropriate security
guarantees. Shortley highlighted that when he met with Nkunda on
January 12, Nkunda was wearing a civilian suit and that Nkunda was
fixated on urgent next steps beyond the conference and beyond the
paper agreement. Shortley underscored that Nkunda wanted an
exchange among his Congolese peers making up the leadership of the

KINSHASA 00000042 002 OF 002

Conference. He wanted to sit with conference leaders Kamerhe,
Foreign Minister Mbusa, conference president Abbe Malu Malu, and RCD
leader Ruberwa, together or separately, to have a tough discussion
about the country's problems, his status, and guarantees for him and
his forces. Shortley said that the time had come for the Congolese
to step up and provide the leadership necessary to end the conflict.
Shortley stressed that with the conference ending on Monday,
January 21, time was of the essence.

8. (SBU) Shortley said that Nkunda had made it clear that a key
component of the agreement was a role for MONUC in protecting the
population in his area of control and ensuring that his troops could
go to brassage without fear that FDLR, Mai Mai, and Pareco would
fill the void. Shortley highlighted that President Kabila's Chief
of Staff and Advisers had designed a technical committee that would
seek agreement in the areas of disengagement, brassage/DDR, and
other technical matters and deal with political questions such as
exile and CNDP integration thereafter. Shortley recommended to
Kabila's advisers Tshibanda and Chissambo that the participants in
this technical committee include FARDC/GDRC and CNDP sitting across
from each other at a table, with the U.S. and MONUC as observers,
chaired by a senior Congolese.

9. (SBU) However, Shortley said, the presidential advisers did not
want a senior Congolese to chair the meetings and preferred the U.S.
play that role. They did not want the appearance of equality
between CNDP and the government. They were pushing for separate
military and political forums. Shortley said that he feared their
approach would remove the government too far from the discussion and
slow things down or freeze the process as it would demonstrate a
lack of commitment to the process to end the conflict. Shortley
stressed that Kabila did not want to make necessary concessions or
approve a rapid and direct process, while Nkunda was holding back on
any concessions until he obtained direct negotiations with Congolese
counterparts. Shortley believed that if respected senior leaders,
such as Kamerhe himself, met Nkunda directly, an agreement could
come in less than two days. Shortley noted that it would be
essential for Nkunda that any agreement be public. Shortley stated
that he believed an agreement could be reached by the end of the
conference January 20. Shortley noted that the conference could be
immediately followed by announcing a peace agreement and process,
and the convening of the technical committee on January 22 for
implementation, before Shortley's unavoidable departure January 23.

10. (SBU) Kamerhe said that he anticipated seeing President Kabila
in the course of the day. He would strongly urge all the points
that Shortley had made to him and hoped that Shortley would also
have an audience. Shortley's concept exactly fitted with his own,
Kamerhe said. For Nkunda to stop fighting, he would have to have
guarantees for himself and for his troops and his CNDP leadership.
Time was very short, and failure to seize the occasion would be a
disaster. Failure would prompt the populace to further despair and
Nkunda would become even stronger, and possibly even spur him to
take Goma. Sadly, if the government had had talks with Nkunda
before December it would now be in a much better position.
Unfortunately, Kamerhe said, Kabila was surrounded by a "very bad
entourage." Kamerhe said that he was used to confronting difficult
situations such as this one, and he was prepared to confront the
President and his entourage. However, in doing so, he joked acidly,
he might also need, with the U.S., to prepare his own exile.


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