Cablegate: Goma Notes 03/06/08 - Goma Process: Back to Wrangling

DE RUEHKI #0236/01 0691928
O 091928Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: The CNDP rejoined Goma process talks March 6 following
meetings between AF Senior Adviser Tim Shortly and Nkunda in
Kirolirwe. However, its delegation had not been briefed on the
Shortly-Nkunda talks, and Vice Admiral Etumba, the GRDC delegation
head, apparently presumed their return signaled their acquiesence to
his previous proposals. The talks were jerked back into wrangling
over the same points that had been in contention before.
Discussions ground to an inevitable halt as it became clear that the
CNDP reps were not in a position to make concessions or to negotiate
on behalf of their principals. Participants agreed to a U.S.
suggestion to adjourn the meeting until the CNDP delegation had had
a chance to confer internally and return with an authoritative
position and be prepared to negotiate, as Nkunda had promised
Shortley. End summary.

2. (SBU) Immediately following the visit by Assistant Secretary
Frazer's Senior Adviser Tim Shortley and the International
Facilitation to CNDP leader Laurent Nkunda in Kirolirwe on March 5
(septel), a meeting was held at MONUC-Goma between the Facilitation,
the GDRC delegation to the Goma process (led by Vice Admiral Didier
Etumba) and MONUC (including SRSG Chief of Staff John Almstrom and
Eastern Division Commander General Bikram Singh) to brief them on
the Shortley-Nkunda talks and to urge the GDRC to move forward on
setting up the Joint Peace and Security Committee (JC) envisioned by
the Kivu conference Acte d'Engagement. Etumba agreed, and a meeting
was called for the following morning to which the CNDP delegation
would be invited.

3. (SBU) This meeting between CNDP, GDRC, MONUC and the Facilitation
(Jay Nash and Willet Weeks for the U.S.) convened at MONUC with only
the military component of the CNDP delegation, led by Major Seraphin
Mirindi, present. Its three members were in town to attend the
ILCCE leadership seminar (co-sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center)
at the Karibu Hotel. It became clear as the discussions progressed
that this CNDP group had not been briefed on the Shortley-Nkunda
talks, which had been attended by the political component of the
CNDP delegation to the Goma process. The latter had not returned
from Kirolirwe despite Nkunda's promise that a full CNDP delegation
with powers to negotiate would be in Goma from the morning of March
6 onward, prepared to participate in the talks.

4. (SBU) Etumba opened the discussion by expressing satisfaction
that the CNDP had rejoined the talks after its recent decision to
suspend any dealings with the Goma process or with MONUC. He stated
that the GDRC and CNDP were Congolese brothers who needed to fulfill
the expectations that had been placed upon them following the Acte
d'Engagement. "I will not accept the CNDP's leaving us again: we
need to end this war - we are partners for peace." He invoked the
International Facilitation ("they are watching us") and the IDPs,
"the Congolese refugees who are anxious to return home", and the
suffering masses of Kivu.

5. (SBU) Etumba then proceeded to outline the steps on which he
expected to get swift agreement from the CNDP. These issues were
presented largely on a take-or-leave-it basis, with the strong
implication that, since CNDP had returned to the talks, they would
of course be also prepared to take accept what the GDRC was putting
forward. The points raised included proposed quotas for
representation within each of the Goma process subcommittees in
North and South Kivu and whether the immediate level of
subcommittees below the JC should be sectoral or geographic: both
issues that had been the subject of intense wrangling between the
GDRC and the CNDP before the talks broke off. Etumba now forwarded
his views on these as faits accomplis to which the CNDP would
naturally acquiesce.

6. (SBU) The CNDP of course did not do so. Having no knowledge of
the substance or tone of the discussions in Kirolirwe, they
announced that they were delighted to be back in the talks and that
they were there to stay unless the GDRC "violated the agreement."
But, Mirindi said, there was still disagreement on some of the
points raised by Etumba.

7. (SBU) The talks then were jerked back into wrangling over the
same points that had been in contention before they had been broken
off. Principal among these was the issue of division of JC
subcomittees by sector (military and humanitarian/social) at the
provincial level (per the GDRC and the Facilitation); respective
seat allocation within the North Kivu subcomittee(s) (CNDP wanted 40
per cent, the GDRC has gone to up to 30 per cent plus); the CNDP's
notion that the GRDC and the Mayi-Mayi groups are a single unit
(always guaranteed to get a rise out of the GDRC, and Col. Delphin
Kahimbi, the FARDC's 8th Military Region Deputy Commander, duly rose
to the occasion); and how decisions will be taken within the Joint
Committee (by consensus, per GDRC, or by a three-quarters vote, per

KINSHASA 00000236 002 OF 002


8. (SBU) All of this had been rehearsed and left unresolved during
earlier discussions, though the CNDP advanced a new argument for its
position on the geographic vs. sectoral division of the joint
sub-committees: that there had in fact been two Actes, though
identical in content, signed respectively by the North and South
Kivu parties. The discussions ground to an inevitable halt, and
during the break, Almstrom approached the Facilitation with an
ingenious proposal for dealing with the sectoral-vs.-geographic
committees issue: that a new function be created alongside the
top-level secretariat to coordinate the two sectors at the
provincial level.

9. (SBU) In the version of this compromise presented to the CNDP
when the talks resumed, the EU's Jean-Michel Dumont, speaking for
the Facilitation, recommended that six representatives be assigned
to this unit, one per province for each of the GDRC, CNDP or FRF (in
North or South Kivu respectively), and the Mayi-Mayi. The
provincial coordinators would facilitate discussions between the
provincial-level Military and Humanitarian/Social subcommittees in
each province, thereby responding to the CNDP's concern that the
work of the subcommittees at the provincial level would otherwise
not be coordinated. The coordinating function would rotate monthly
between each group in the two provinces. The CNDP seemed intrigued
by this idea, and Etumba stated more or less peremptorily that the
CNDP had accepted it, which the CNDP said it in fact could not do at
this stage and without consultations with its headquarters.

10. (SBU) By this point it was clearer than ever that the CNDP
military reps were not in a position to make concessions or to
negotiate on behalf of their principals, and that it had been a
mistake to let the meeting start or to go on at such futile length.
Speaking for the Facilitation, Weeks suggested that this meeting was
vexed by a communications problem, that those members of the CNDP
delegation who were present in Goma on March 6 had not been at the
meetings in Kirolirwe on March 5, that those who had been in
Kirolirwe were not in Goma, and that the two groups had not talked.
Wouldn't it be better to adjourn the meeting until the CNDP
delegation had had a chance to confer internally and return with an
authoritative position and prepared to negotiate, as had been
promised to Shortley?

11. (SBU) This was seized upon and, after some further bluster from
Etumba and expressions of victimized incredulity from CNDP, the
meeting was adjourned until 1800, and then once again until 0900 the
following day, with the possibility of further postponement in the
event that communications problems had still prevented CNDP from
firming up its position.


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