Cablegate: Goma Notes - Nairobi Process: 16th Meeting of Jmg Task

DE RUEHKI #0345/01 1061224
O 151224Z APR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A
FORCE, APRIL 4, 2008

1. (SBU) Summary: The 16th meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group
(JMG) Task Force for the Nairobi communIque April 4 in Goma was
punctuated by several unexpected exchanges. The FARDC's regional
military intelligence chief implied that CNDP is an ally against
FDLR. The Congolese delegation reported that the FDLR is on the
move, with mining sites and other economic resources abandoned, but
its intentions are unclear. DDRRR contacts with potential FDLR
defectors are up. And finally, the group made a request to the JMG
Envoys on coordination with the Congo-Rwanda Joint Verification
Mechanism. End summary.

2. (SBU) The 16th meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) Task
Force for the Nairobi communque April 4 in Goma, like the previous
week, began at 1030 and ended at about 1500. The Congolese
delegation was led as usual by Colonel Augustin Mamba, joined by the
8th Military Region's T2 (intelligence chief) Major Peter
Chirimwana. The Rwandan delegation was again led Major Franco
Rutagengwa. The EU, U.S. and South African delegations were present
as usual. The meeting was chaired by MONUC-Goma's new political
section chief., with representation at both the Eastern Division
staff level and that of the North (IndBatt) and South (PakBatt) Kivu
Brigades. For the first time, there was a delegation from the from
the Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the
Great Lakes Region (IC/GLR), led by program officer Roger Nsipuka.

GDRC presentation

3. (SBU) The opening presentation by Mamba and Chirimwana touched
first on a few non-Nairobi issues:

-- FARDC Chief of Staff General Dieudonne Kayembe in the U.S.: The
expected announcement of a new two-star commander for the campaign
against the FDLR has had to be deferred because of Kayembe's trip to
the U.S. at the invitation of (as Mamba put it) the "U.S. Chief Of
Staff." This gave Mamba an opportunity to bestow fulsome praise on
the U.S. for its military cooperation and its contribution to the
development of the FARDC. (This was accompanied by many meaningful
glances at the Rwandan delegation.) The two-star will be appointed
following Kayembe's return.

-- Criminality in Goma: Following the previous weekend's wave of
killings in the city, there is a task force on the ground trying to
get to the root of this. There have been arrests. Restoring law
and order in Goma is a priority. Separately, EUSEC told us that
there was a raid April 2 on the Kokolo military camp in which the
soldiers' residences were searched for stockpiles of clandestine
weapons. The raid turned up several hundred weapons, and as many as
ten in some houses.

-- CNDP Activity: Another Goma-related issue. The Congolese
delegation alleged several serious incidents: CNDP movement into
Manyarere, NW of Minova, to positions only 1 km from FARDC lines; at
Munagana, with the CNDP moving in and appointing local civilian
officials; and at Bambo, near Tongo, with CNDP taking over the town.
This last would have been very serious, as Bambo is supposed to be
the northern anchor of the CNDP-PARECO exclusion zone established
the week before. Eastern Division Commander General Birkam Singh
assured us later that the alleged takeover there did not occur.

-- CNDP no longer an enemy?: In response to a later query from the
Rwandans about how and why the FARDC seemed to be pulling out of
certain areas near their common border just when the Rwandans were
demanding more action in those areas, Chirimwana stated that the
Rwandans should have no concern about FDLR expansion into adjacent
zones because the CNDP was dug in on the adjoining hills.

-- And the GDRC did not let it go at that: in the ensuing
discussion, Mamba came out and said, twice, that since the signing
of the Goma Acte "we no longer consider the CNDP an enemy." And yet
again, at several points, the Congolese seemed to be saying that the
CNDP was in effect a proxy for the FARDC, and that if CNDP was
present in an area, things in terms of the Nairobi process were
under control and the FARDC could withdraw to other, more important
areas. The Rwandans maintained a studied silence. (Comment: Even
if the inference here was not intended, these remarks may have been
a startling insight into Congolese planning. End comment.)

4. (SBU) Nairobi-specific items:

-- Putting the FDLR on the defensive: There are two main
priorities right now: persuading the civilian community to pull
back from FDLR locations, and to inhibit FDLR movement and economic
activities in mining areas. FDLR is spontaneously withdrawing under

KINSHASA 00000345 002 OF 003

the pressure they feel from FARDC and the international community
(the UNSC resolutions are having an effect).

-- At "Brazomonge," for example, there is an outward movement of
FDLR toward the interior. FARDC has been withdrawing to strengthen
other units, but CNDP is nearby. In Bikenge and Runyonyi, CNDP ("no
longer an enemy") is holding specific areas and preventing FDLR
expansion. We have taken control of the diamond fields at Mapema
(Walikale), and FDLR has moved out of (and thus is no longer
exploiting) a series of areas, including: diamonds -- Iwa, Kimsuka,
Isangi; Bauxite Iwa, Kimsuka, Isangi; Coltan -- "Mtoto," "Malembe."
Poaching in Virunga National Park is also down due to the FDLR

-- What are the FDLR's intentions? First Rwanda and then (more
oddly in such a public forum) a MONUC major queried whether these
withdrawals were such a good thing, or if FDLR might be regrouping
to plan a new offensive strategy
-- if they're regrouping in some areas, why not hit them now, asked
the GOR? Because we don't want civilian casualties, the GDRC
responded: our priorities are as stated, right now we are trying to
separate FDLR combatants from civilian areas, so our strategy is

-- Comment: The MONUC major seemed to be questioning whether the
GDRC campaign strategy took any account of the likelihood that the
FDLR might be regrouping to attack the FARDC. Since FARDC
Nairobi-related operations are supposed to be coordinated with MONUC
(although we know from MONUC sources that there is in fact very
little coordination), this was a jarring thing to do in this forum,
with the Rwandan delegation present. Lt. Colonel Legendre of MONUC,
tried, with partial success, to make the remark sound like a
constructive prompt to the Congolese to come out and say what all
the parties knew, but the query seemed to comfort the explicit and
repeated Rwandan insinuations that the Congolese plan is being kept
under wraps because it is not very well thought out. End comment.


5. (SBU) Guillaume Lacaille, political advisor to MONUC DDRRR, did a
special-agenda presentation of their latest statistics:

-- In a series of graphs that represented the same basic numbers in
different forms, he said that, overall, to date and since DDRRR
began, there have been 5,800 combatant repatriations (a total of
11,200 when dependents are included). There were 22 repatriations
on April 3, and there are 16 pending at the Masisi transit camp.

-- This works out to an average of 120 per month. If this rate
held steady, there would be 600 combatant repatriations in 2008,
taking the total FDLR down to 6,000 combatants.

-- But DDRRR expects to do better than that: there is a spike of
walk-ins, calls for information, and requests for "extraction."
Interviews with defectors and informers indicate that there is a new
sense of urgency as a result of UNSC 1804 and 1807, of the French
prosecutions, and of perceived pressure, both political and
military, from both the international community and FARDC. Improved
"sensibilization" techniques and messages are bearing fruit. It
would be important from now on for all actions with regard to FDLR
to be considered in terms of their potential public impact, taking
into account that FDLR leaders will naturally put every action into
the worst possible light.

-- The GOR asked about the effect in this last regard of its "list"
of over 6,000 genocidaires. (This is a recurring JMG TF theme.)
Lacaille responded that it had been helpful in getting FDLR worried
but hurtful in that it could have increased the determination of
many to tough it out, since 6,000 is roughly the estimated number of
combatants, so they might be misled into thinking that they all were
subject to arrest upon return, a point their commanders have of
course been driving home.

-- This led to a lengthy Rwandan rant on how the list had been
misunderstood, and how it had been misrepresented in the Congolese
press. The GOR plopped down a recent interview in the Kinshasa
paper Le Potential, in which Foreign Minister Mbusa Nyamwisi was
quoted as saying, yes, the list had been a deterrent to returns. He
misrepresents the meaning of the list, said the GOR, and this sort
of thing must stop.

-- Mamba then looked over the article and found the parts where FM
Mbusa correctly stated what the list really was: he was just

KINSHASA 00000345 003 OF 003

stating the obvious, that the list had, objectively, not helped.
There ensued a not very constructive textual exegesis. The U.S.
pointed out that the point was not to wrangle over what the list
really was (which we all understood) or wasn't, or what its effect
had or hadn't been, but to learn from this experience and, as
Lacaille had been urging, develop a public information strategy
ahead of taking significant public actions (or, as in this case,
actions likely to be made public), not after they are taken and the
damage has been done.

-- The U.S., with eager South African backing, requested that DDRRR
data be supplied to the TF on a regular basis, and that the data
slides Lacaille showed today be made available electronically or in
hard copy. Lacaille said that he would ask for authorization to do

Other business

6. (SBU) There were no comments at all on the previous week's
minutes (probably a first for this forum), and it almost ended
around 1400, which would have been unprecedented ... until the South
African delegation brought up the dreaded question of the JMG
Envoys' Brussels minutes and of when, or whether, the JMG TF would
ever be allowed to interface with the Joint Verification Mechanism
(JVM). No, the minutes had not been transmitted (as they have not
been for the previous six or so weeks), making JVM coordination
impossible. And the usual wrangle resumed over the question of
whether the TF had the standing to make a recommendation to the
Special Envoys about coordination with the JVM absent those minutes.

7. (SBU) Coming as it did just as everyone else thought that they
would get out early for the first time in minuted history, the South
African intervention was unwelcome, but it bore fruit: a
recommendation was at last being made. The week's minutes would at
long last include a recommendation to the Envoys, to be considered
at their April 17 meeting in New York. The substance of the
recommendation will be that the Envoys (who, in the case of DRC and
Rwanda, are the same as those to the JVM) examine the existing terms
of reference of the two groups (JMG and JVM) so that these can be
"harmonized." or "synchronized."

8. (SBU) Field Trips: The Rwandan delegation has for several
sessions been requesting that the GDRC and MONUC organize
observation trips to the field for the TF, particularly to border
areas alleged to have been infiltrated by ex-FAR/IH. This has now
been formally put on the agenda, and the chair (MONUC) will make
specific proposals for a trip or series of trips.

9. (SBU) The repeated South African request that the TF draft and
adopt a specific workplan with targets, objectives and time frames,
was not really debated


10. (SBU) The decision to recommend that the Envoys consider closer
collaboration with the JVM counts as a small but discernible shift
in the tectonic plates. The Rwandan delegation finally conceded on
this point, although we know from their previous implacable
opposition to such a move, as well as through other channels, that
they are reluctant to see such cooperation (but it's not clear what
the issue really is).

11. (SBU) The ideal outcome would be for the Envoys to look at the
two terms of reference and state that there is no incompatibility
with briefings by the JVM to the TF and that these should commence
forthwith. The alternative solution that has been discussed, that
the JVM should furnish information on request to the TF puts the
burden on the TF to know what to ask for. Without hard facts to
discuss (i.e., verified reports, not allegations), the TF is just an
audience before which one side or the other can make claims and
allegations that are impossible for the group to sort out. End


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