Cablegate: Day of Disappointment at Kivus Conference

DE RUEHKI #0064/01 0231039
O 231039Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Day of Disappointment at Kivus Conference

1. (SBU) Summary: January 22, the day the Kivus Conference was
supposed to close, started with optimism in the anticipation that it
would be the day of signing of an accord to end conflict in the
Kivus. The day bogged down, however, as the CNDP went back on its
commitment of the previous day. Despite these setbacks, there is
optimism differences will be resolved. End summary.

2. (SBU) The thousand-plus participants at the Kivus Conference,
which began on January 6, gathered at the conference center January
22 in a predominantly hopeful, even enthusiastic mood, anticipating
a final plenary session, approval of a long list of recommendations
to bring reconciliation, and most importantly, the signing of a
commitment ("acte d'engagement") among the armed groups and the
government to cease fire and disengage and integrate troops. An
airplane was laid on to bring members of the diplomatic corps from
Kinshasa, and President Kabila was on hand in Goma to preside.

3. (SBU) The day of closure had been extended, as the government
and CNDP had pursued several days' negotiations. However, midday on
January 21 the conference leaders met the international
representatives present in Goma to announce that a compromise
document had been agreed by the two sides. Significantly, the
government had agreed, despite deep reservations, to promise CNDP
and other armed groups amnesty for acts of insurrection (not crimes
against humanity). It had also separated the CNDP out from the
other armed groups in the document as being a "political-military
group." Now it appeared that it only remained for the government to
negotiate with the other armed groups (Mai Mai, Pareco, and the
like). By the evening of January 21, those negotiations were
complete with no major changes to the document, except for a listing
of the Mai Mai groups by name.

4. (SBU) On January 22, the anticipated day of closure, the
conference president, Father Apollinaire Malu Malu, never showed up
at the conference site, Kabila kept to his quarters, the airplane
carrying diplomats got as far as Bukavu and turned around to go back
to Kinshasa, the conference plenary only began at 14:30, and that
plenary only sporadically covered a few conference declarations, and
adjourned early in disarray.

5. (SBU) From the beginning of the day, Malu Malu, with other
conference and government leaders, were caught up at the Karibu
Hotel, two miles from the conference center, in discussions with the
CNDP delegation. The CNDP delegation, under instruction from
Laurent Nkunda, backpedaled on the agreement they had made the
previous day. The specific issues that they were raising were not
immediately clear, as the CNDP delegation leaders were inarticulate
or intentionally unclear, and Malu Malu (while a superb conference
moderator) proved to be a poor negotiator, in a government team
divided by conference moderates and government hardliners. Several
hours of the morning were squandered in ineffectual discussion.

6. (SBU) Greater clarity began to emerge in the afternoon when EU
Special Envoy Roeland van de Geer and Senior Adviser to the
Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Tim Shortley, with Belgian
Consul General Hugues Chantry and MONUC Political Affairs Director
Christian Manahl, were brought into the discussions. Further
clarity and energy were infused when National Assembly President
(and leader of the Conference's Committee of Wise Men) Vital Kamerhe
joined, and then led, the discussions, and when the new Special
Representative of the Secretary General Alan Doss arrived on the
scene. (Doss came by a special small MONUC aircraft, thinking, like
others, that he was coming for the conference closure.)
Discussions went past midnight.

7. (SBU) In the end, there proved to be only three points at

-- The title and opening of the "Acte d'Engagement" indicated that
it was an undertaking by the CNDP and other armed groups, not the
government ("Act of Engagement by the CNDP and the Armed Groups of
North Kivu for Peace, Security, and Development in the Province of
North Kivu," modified by the other armed groups to list them all by

-- The principal consequence of this title and opening was that CNDP
read the document to indicate that only the CNDP and other armed
groups were bound by the first article dealing with cease fire,
although the FARDC was specifically bound to the provisions on
disengagement in article two and even though the government, with
international observers, would be signatory to the document.

-- The second article set up a Technical Commission to oversee
disengagement, brassage, and DDR, and the CNDP wanted it also to
cover political issues.

KINSHASA 00000064 002 OF 002

8. (SBU) The second and third issues were taken care of by
mid-afternoon. The government agreed to add to a list of "Political
and Judicial Guarantees" in article four a new point: "The
Government of the DRC undertakes . . . in conformance with the
pertinent recommendation of the Conference . . . to decree and
respect the ceasefire, as stipulated in article 1." To meet the
demand that the Technical Commission cover political issues, the
words "mixed peace and security" were added to the clause
establishing the Technical Commission: "A mixed Peace and Security
Technical Commission, under the facilitation of the International
Community, will be legally instituted by the Government to examine
and finalize the following questions..." (all having to do with
disengagement, brassage, and DDR).

9. (SBU) The first issue -- title/opening -- was not resolved when
the parties broke up after midnight. The government side, now
forcefully led by Kamerhe, offered a compromise by which the title
would read only: "Democratic Republic of Congo: Act of
Engagement," and the opening sentence would read, "We, the CNDP,
Political-Military Movement, Pareco, Mai-Mai Kasindien, Mai-Mai
Kifuafua, Mai-Mai Vurondo, Mai-Mai Mongol, UJPS, Mai-Mai Rwenzori,
and Simba, in the presence of the Government and of the
Representatives of the International Community, facilitators of the
present act of engagement, seize this historic opportunity to . . ."
The CNDP delegation insisted that "in the presence of" did not meet
its requirements, while Kamerhe insisted that it was impossible for
the government and CNDP to be put on the same level in the opening
of the document, when it was clear that by any reading of the
document the government was making an unequivocal undertaking. He
said that the government had conceded on every other point and it
appeared that the CNDP was seeking to humiliate it.

10. (SBU) At the end of discussions, with all sides thoroughly
exhausted, the CNDP delegation initialed the document, agreeing to
every point except the title/opening. They said that they would
travel during the night to Kitchanga to confer with Nkunda and in
the morning of January 23 they would either return by MONUC
helicopter with Nkunda's authorization to sign, or they would
communicate that Nkunda had not accepted.

11. (SBU) Comment: In conversations with Special Advisor Shortley
early Wednesday morning (January 23), Charge was apprised of
parallel efforts outside the Conference to influence the CNDP
delegation and to deal directly with Nkunda. Shortley emphasized
that the Conference is not over and there is good reason to believe
that differences will be overcome and the "Acte d'Engagement" soon
signed. End comment.


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