Cablegate: Goma Notes - Nairobi Process: 13th Meeting of Jmg Task

DE RUEHKI #0265/01 0771530
O 171530Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
FORCE, MARCH 14, 2008

REF: Kinshasa 258

1. (SBU) Summary: The main agenda item of the March 14 meeting of
the Nairobi process Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) Task Force was the
DRC's plans for action against the ex-FAR/Interahamwe (ex-FAR/IH).
FARDC and MONUC are planning to do something at some point in the
coming months, but March 15 will be no D-Day and significant
operations will only build up over time. The UNSC Resolution on the
FDLR was welcomed by all delegations. The Kisangani GDRC-FDLR
meeting has been deferred until after consultations being organized
in Rome. There was no progress on JMG-Joint Verification Team
collaboration, as the minutes of the JMG envoys' February 15
Brussels meeting have still not been received. MONUC is now
struggling to find ways to siphon off personnel from existing units
to meet the needs of operations against the ex-FAR/IH without
detracting from its ability to ramp up its support to the Goma
cease-fire. End summary.

2. (SBU) The 13th meeting of the Nairobi process Joint Monitoring
Group (JMG) Task Force actually ended ahead of schedule, running
from approximately 1045 to approximately 1400. It was professional,
courteous, and reasonably focused throughout. Colonel Augustin
Mamba was again at the head of the Congolese delegation, and there
were once again substantive matters to discuss. A bit of time was
spent on the minutes, but this was negligible compared to past
marathons. The main agenda item was, inevitably, the DRC's plans
for action against the ex-FAR/Interahamwe (the use of the term
"FDLR" is banned at Task Force meetings, in deference to Rwandan
sensitivities). All delegations were present.

DRC post-March 15 plans

3. (SBU) Mamba's presentation was fairly Delphic, much to the
frustration of the Rwandans, who wanted details. In general, he
made it pretty clear that things have moved into a new phase and
that FARDC and MONUC are planning to do something at some point in
the coming months. His references to the need to build assets and
to the constraints on any operations prior to June, however, meant
that his overall message was consistent with what we have been given
to understand by other sources -- i.e., March 15 will be no D-Day
and significant operations will only build up over time. Mamaba
made the following points:

4. (SBU) He outlined the diplomatic steps that have led up to March
15, emphasizing that the deadline itself was set by the DRC in an
exchange of letters with the Rwandan government. Diplomatic and
political initiatives continue despite the expiration of the

5. (SBU) He noted that the FARDC face conflict on two fronts:
against the ex-FAR/IH on the one hand and against Congolese armed
groups on the other. While the Goma Acte d'engagement put in place
a cease-fire with and between the latter, the launching of offensive
operations ("la guerre que nous devons ouvrir aujourd'hui") against
ex-FAR/IH may destabilize things on the armed group side and, if
FARDC and MONUC are not careful, allow for opportunistic skirmishing
or outright conflict to resume. All the more so since in most areas
the expected (MONUC) interposition forces have not yet been

6. (SBU) He said the campaign that has been planned jointly with
MONUC will be long and complex. Ex-FAR/IH represents 5,000-7,000
men deployed over an area in North and South Kivu that is 550 km x
250 km, and in which there are up to 10 million inhabitants,
including four major urban areas. Ex-FAR/IH are dispersed among the
civilian population, and control significant economic resources. A
few are indeed ex-FAR from the genocide period, but most are either
people who came here as children or were born in the DRC. If you
count women and children, as many as 30 per cent of the total target
population is in fact Congolese.

7. (SBU) He said the aim of the ex-FAR/IH is to create sufficient
pressure on the Rwandan government to bring about a return
negotiated on more favorable terms. The GDRC now considers the
ex-FAR/IH its enemy. However, this situation means that even as
coercive actions begin, political and diplomatic activity must
continue, and the expected meeting in Kisangani is consistent with

8. (SBU) He stated that joint military operations with MONUC will
commence immediately. He said, as a military officer speaking to
colleagues, he didn't need to explain his reasons for not being
precise about when, where or how this will happen. Operations will

KINSHASA 00000265 002 OF 003

be complicated by the humanitarian situation and the fact that the
ex-FAR/IH have in the past showed a tendency to retaliate against
attacks by attacking civilians. Steps will need to be taken to
protect the latter. Joint military operations will require a
considerable reinforcement in men and materiel. Brigades that have
been trained up by MONUC have been or will soon be deployed.
Materiel is being secured. Building up to full strength will take

9. (SBU) He noted that operations of any significance can really
only be conducted during the June-August dry season. So joint
operations will be conducted in two phases: (1) immediate action by
assets already deployed to limit the target group's freedom of
movement; (2) later operations, with units presently in training,
aimed at strengthening the FARDC's positions in the campaign's four
main sectors: a) Lubero-Kanyabayonga; b) Masisi-Humbo-Walikale; c)
Shabunda-Mukungu-Mwenga; and d) Mulenge-Fizi-Uvira. Mamba said he
wanted everyone (local population and neighboring states) to be
advised to expect significant FARDC movements in the coming weeks.
(Comment: There are surely Goma process cease-fire implications to
this. End comment.)

10. (SBU) He said FARDC Chief of Staff General Dieudonne Kayembe
would arrive in Goma March 15 to review plans in place and brief the
senior civilian leadership. He would be joined by MONUC Force
Commander General Babacar Gaye and the Rwandan Chief of Staff. This
was the first the Rwandan delegation had heard of the latter, and
during conversations at break-time and again at the end of the
meeting they were understandably skeptical that this would happen.

11. (SBU) Note: In a subsequent phone call, MONUC Eastern Division
Chief of Staff Colonel Clive Newell confirmed that Kayembe and
Eastern Division Commander General Bikram Singh, acting for Gaye (on
leave), would arrive the following day to hold a joint meeting with
FARDC and CNDP. There is a meeting with the Rwandan Chief of Staff
planned -- in Goma -- but this was not to take place until Monday
March 17. End note.

12. (SBU) The conversation was then joined by a MONUC North Kivu
Brigade IndBatt Major (G2). The Rwandan delegation asked about
MONUC's current planning for any pre-emptive strikes by the
ex-FAR/IH, to which there was no real answer, and about MONUC's
assessment of the target group's readiness, to which the major's
answers were again evasive ("they're in small mobile units, hard to
assess their strength or their intentions ...")

Other Matters Discussed

13. (SBU) UNSC Resolution on FDLR: This was welcomed by all
delegations. It will add a powerful tool, all agreed, to the DRC's
"sensibilisation" campaign. The Rwandans asked that it be given the
widest possible coverage by local media. The delegate from the
World Bank's MDRP program said that he could confirm this was
already happening in Kinshasa. In sidebar conversations, a Rwandan
delegate said that they were particularly gratified to the reference
in the resolution to previous "French-led" efforts -- this would, he
felt, help cut ground out from under the ex-FAR/IH.

14. (SBU) Kisangani GDRC-FDLR meeting: This could not be held as
planned on Wednesday March 13, as only the FDLR moderates were
willing to come. It will be deferred until the others can be
persuaded. (We understand that this will happen following
consultations being organized by Sant'Egidio in Rome.) The Rwandans
have always been skeptical and demanded to know who, exactly, is
expected to attend, but the Congolese pointed out that the meeting
has been given added legitimacy by its specific mention in the UNSC

15. (SBU) JMG-Joint Verification Team (JVT) collaboration (reftel):
The minutes of the JMG envoys' February 15 Brussels meeting have
still not been received, despite multiple requests and promises, so
there could be no progress on this.

16. (SBU) Next week's agenda: Will include a specific item,
requested by Rwanda, on operations conducted and results achieved.


17. (SBU) In a conversation with U.S. delegates prior to the Task
Force meeting, Newell was anxious for us to know that, in his
opinion (NB not necessarily shared by MONUC Kinshasa) FARDC was

KINSHASA 00000265 003 OF 003

getting ahead of itself on operations against the
ex-FAR/Interahamwe. His main concern was that FARDC may start
deploying deep into the various sectors without adequate support
from MONUC, and that MONUC will need to scramble to join them.

18. (SBU) Newell is now struggling to find ways to siphon off
personnel from existing units to meet this need, but he is worried
that this has to be done systematically and in ways that do not
detract from MONUC's ability to ramp up its support to the Goma
cease-fire. He said FARDC senior command had sent MONUC for comment
a draft order intended for its 8th (North Kivu) and 10th (South
Kivu) regional military commands. Newell said MONUC found much of
the content of this directive to be lacking and developed a long
series of questions and comments. However, Newell said he understood
that FARDC eventually sent it out without reference to these. End


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