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Cablegate: South Africa Outlines New Burundi Peace Plan

VZCZCXRO1620
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #0428/01 0601702
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291702Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3653
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0502
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1444
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1296
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0198
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1285
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 0259
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0589
RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 5355
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0500
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PRETORIA 000428

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/C, AF/S

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KDEM BY SF
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA OUTLINES NEW BURUNDI PEACE PLAN


This cable is Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for Internet
distribution.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: At a February 22-23 South African
Government (SAG)-sponsored seminar, Facilitator Charles
Nqakula and Special Envoy Kingsley Mamabolo outlined SAG
plans to reinvigorate its Burundi mediation through creation
of a "Political Directorate" that would include the
Government of Burundi (GOB) and Palipehutu-FNL (FNL), as well
as Uganda, Tanzania, the EU, UN, and AU. The Bujumbura-based
Political Directorate would serve as a "listening forum" to
address contentious issues between the GOB and FNL, but would
not/not be used to reopen existing agreements. The SAG plan
sets an ambitious timetable for the return of the FNL to
Bujumbura (April/May 2008), for FNL DDR (beginning May 2008),
for the withdrawal of South African/AU troops (June 2008),
and for inclusion of the FNL in key positions in the
government (by the end of 2008, consistent with the SAG's one
year AU mandate extension). Conference participants
reaffirmed their strong support for the SAG mediation in
Burundi and agreed on a coordinated "checklist" of messages
for the GOB and FNL. Nqakula and Mamabolo plan to travel to
Dar es Salaam and Bujumbura in early March to seek the buy-in
of the parties for the plan. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) The SAG Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) hosted a
seminar for the "Group of Special Envoys for Burundi"
February 22-23 in Cape Town. SAG Special Envoy for the Great
Lakes Kingsley Mamabolo chaired the seminar, joined for two
hours on February 22 by the Facilitator of the Burundi Peace
Process, SAG Minister for Safety and Security Charles
Nqakula. Others attendees included: African Union Special
Representative in Burundi Ambassador Mamadou Bah; UN
Executive Representative for Burundi Youssef Mahmoud;
European Union Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes
Region Roeland van de Geer; Belgium Special Envoy for the
Great Lakes Jozef Smets; Executive Secretary of the
Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great

SIPDIS
Lakes Region Ambassador Liberata Mulamula; and
representatives of the governments of Uganda, Tanzania,
Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, and Canada. DAS James Swan
represented the USG, joined by PolOff (notetaker).

---------------------------------------------
Strong Support for South African Facilitation
---------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) The seminar participants expressed strong support
for the South African-led Regional Initiative for Peace in
Burundi, whose mandate has been extended to December 31,
2008. Facilitator Nqakula, S/E Mamabolo, and other South
African participants reaffirmed the SAG commitment to the
Burundi peace process, but noted that the patience of the SAG
-- which has nearly 750 troops serving in Burundi as part of
the African Union Special Task Force -- is not unlimited.
Several participants noted the link between concluding the
FNL peace process and the long-term economic development of
Burundi.

-------------------
Programme of Action
-------------------

4. (SBU) At the centerpiece of South Africa's "Programme of
Q4. (SBU) At the centerpiece of South Africa's "Programme of
Action to Take Further the Burundi Peace Process" (emailed to
AF, AF/C, and Embassy Bujumbura) is the creation of a
"Political Directorate," which is intended to be a "listening
forum" to resolve sensitive issues between the FNL and GOB.
Both the FNL and GOB would sit on the Political Directorate,
along with a representative of the South African
Facilitation; the AU and UN Special Representatives; the
Ambassadors of South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda; and an EU
representative. The SAG initially proposed including a civil
society representative on the Political Directorate, but
reconsidered given concerns that sensitive information could

PRETORIA 00000428 002 OF 003


leak. Instead, conference participants agreed to keep key
stakeholders, including civil society and Parliament, briefed
on developments. Ambassador Mulamula of the International
Conference on the Great Lakes Region made a plea to include
her organization on the Political Directorate, a request that
will be considered by the Facilitator.

5. (SBU) Seminar participants agreed that the Political
Directorate will not/not be used to reopen previous
agreements, nor will it replace the work of the Joint
Verification Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM), which was created
to oversee implementation of the September 2006 Ceasefire
Agreement. The Ugandan representative and others stressed
the narrow mandate of the Political Directorate, noting that
the FNL might see its creation as an opportunity to reopen
issues which had already been decided.

---------
Timetable
---------

6. (SBU) In its proposed Programme of Action, the SAG
detailed an ambitious timetable for concluding the FNL peace
process:

-- February/March 2008: Discussions between the Political
Directorate and FNL in Dar es Salaam, including preparations
for the FNL to resume participation in the JVMM;

-- April 2008: Resumption of work of JVMM and Liaison Teams,
including discussions on release of political prisoners;

-- May 2008: FNL leadership returns to Burundi; Political
Directorate discusses inclusion of FNL into national
institutions; prisoners released; beginning of disarmament,
demobilization and reintegration for FNL combatants;

-- June 2008: FNL transforms into political party; Ceasefire
Agreement fully implemented; African Union Special Task Force
withdraws; and

-- July - December 2008: Political Directorate monitors
reintegration of FNL into state institutions and
socio-economic life of country.

-----------------------
Key Messages to Parties
-----------------------

7. (SBU) Conference participants separately agreed on "common
messages" and "common understandings" on key political
issues. These include:

-- The international community is impatient for progress,
particularly for the FNL to return to Burundi; this
impatience is growing as there is momentum on the FDLR and
LRA peace processes elsewhere in the region;

-- FNL power-sharing demands may be conveyed to the Political
Directorate, but must not re-open existing decisions
contained in the Ceasefire Agreement or violate Burundi's
Constitution or national laws; the GOB should show
flexibility in giving the FNL a role in decision-making
within these constraints;

-- The FNL concerns over its security on return to Burundi
should be raised in the Political Directorate;

-- The FNL should drop its insistence on retaining
"Palipehutu" in its name, as this violates the constitutional
prohibition on "ethnic" party names;

-- The alleged FNL dissidents in camps should go through the
GOB DDR process like other former combatants; the
international community will continue to provide humanitarian

PRETORIA 00000428 003 OF 003


aid to the FNL dissidents; as signatory of the Ceasefire
Agreement with the GOB, Agathon Rwasa remains the recognized
interlocutor representing the FNL;

-- FNL concerns over alleged political prisoners should be
channeled through the agreed Joint Verification and
Monitoring Mechanism (JVMM) and Joint Liaison Teams, and only
taken up by the Political Directorate if there is a major
impasse; and

-- The international community will not/not accede to FNL
demands to pay debts it incurred to feed and lodge its
still-mobilized combatants during the peace process; they may
of course benefit from support upon entering the DDR process.

----------
Next Steps
----------

8. (SBU) Minister Nqakula and S/E Mamabolo plan to travel to
Dar es Salaam on March 1 to discuss the Programme of Action
with the FNL, then to Bujumbura to meet with President
Nkurunziza to seek his buy-in. Mamabolo has already briefed
the two parties on the general outlines of the plan, but will
use these meetings to secure their full understanding and
cooperation. Post will follow-up with Mamabolo upon his
return to get a readout from the trip and FNL/GOB reactions.
The conference participants (termed by the SAG the "Group of
Special Envoys for Burundi") agreed to meet again in May
2008, possibly in New York, to evaluate progress in the
implementation of the Programme of Action and discuss next
steps.

-------
Comment
-------

9. (SBU) Following the breakdown of communications between
the FNL and the South African Facilitation in late 2007, the
SAG has reevaluated its policy and decided to take a fresh
approach to the Burundi peace process. The creation of the
Political Directorate is a significant new step, meant to
facilitate GOB-FNL dialogue and reassure the FNL that its
concerns will be heard. Through the creation of the Burundi
special envoys group, the SAG is attempting to keep key
regional and international players on the same page, and
ensure that they deliver consistent messages to the two
parties.

10. (SBU) The SAG greatly appreciated the high-level and
active U.S. participation in the Burundi seminar. Post will
continue to follow closely SAG policy toward Burundi and
recommends continued USG-SAG dialogue on Great Lakes issues,
an area where we share common objectives and interests.
BOST

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