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Cablegate: Ssr Roundtable Long On Particulars, Short On Priorities

VZCZCXYZ4810
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKI #0224 0651830
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 051830Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7629
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000224

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MASS CG
SUBJECT: SSR roundtable long on particulars, short on priorities


1. (SBU) Summary: The Congolese government presented its priorities
for reform of the military, justice and police sectors at the
long-awaited but hastily-organized security sector reform (SSR)
roundtable February 25-26 in Kinshasa. Officials offered a series
of detailed presentations which gave donors a better sense of what
the government wants to accomplish, and how much it would cost.
Government representatives approached the meeting as a pledging
conference rather than a roundtable discussion, and appeared to
expect immediate reaction to and pledges for their proposals. End
summary.

2. (SBU) The long-awaited Congolese SSR roundtable opened February
25 at the Grand Hotel in Kinshasa, chaired by Minister of State
Mobutu Nzanga and featuring presentations by Defense Minister Chikez
Diemu, Interior Minister Denis Kalume, and Justice Minister Mutombo
Bakafua which laid out the government's strategic priorities for
reforms in the military, police and justice sectors. Other
Congolese officials presented additional details during two days of
discussions at the Palais du Peuple involving experts from U.S., EU,
MONUC, Belgium, Canada, France, Netherlands and the UK in sectoral
commissions with Congolese counterparts.

3. (SBU) The defense commission heard the government's plan for
military reform. Previewed by Chikez at the opening session, it
includes short, middle, and long-range phases, and was accompanied
by a detailed list of cost estimates. The short-term (2008-2010)
priority is to develop a rapid-reaction force of 12 battalions
capable of ensuring the security of the state as MONUC draws down
its forces. The mid-term (2008-2015) will be dedicated to the
establishment of a "covering" force which will, among other tasks,
support reconstruction of civilian and military infrastructure. The
final phase (2015-2020) will focus on consolidation of reforms made
in the first two.

4. (SBU) At the police commission, government representatives
similarly presented an exhaustive list of precise requirements
addressing logistics, transportation, infrastructure and armaments
necessary for general modernization of the Congolese police force.
They also submitted requirements for more specific projects,
highlighted by Kalume at the opening ceremony, including countering
traffic jams and armed robbery in urban centers, and strengthening
security at airports and seaports.

5. (SBU) The justice commission divided its work into three separate
areas: improvement of the institutional and physical integrity of
the judicial system; strengthening its human and financial
resources; and protecting human rights and modernizing the country's
corps of judicial officials through rapid recruitment and training
of new magistrates and other officials.

6. (SBU) The final recommendations of the roundtable mirrored the
sectoral discussions. It endorsed implementation of a rapid
reaction force as well as the completion of feasibility studies on
the military's participation in reconstruction activities. For the
police, it recommended a plan of action to implement and oversee
reforms suggested in commission discussions. Recruitment and
training of new magistrates and other officials featured prominently
in the recommendations for reform of the justice sector. An
existing group co-chaired by justice ministry and EU had previously
begun work to implement an action plan on judicial reform.

7. (SBU) Comment: Questions regarding which programs donors might
be willing to fund, and how funding might be coordinated, remain
unresolved. Government proposals lacked a sense of priorities and
often appeared to be little more than laundry lists to which donors
were expected to pledge. End comment.

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