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Cablegate: Goma Notes 04/24/08 - Goma Process: Standing Together To

VZCZCXRO4057
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0390/01 1231321
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021321Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7943
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 0041
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000390

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS KPKO CG BE
SUBJECT: GOMA NOTES 04/24/08 - GOMA PROCESS: STANDING TOGETHER TO
STAND UP THE COMMISSION

REF: Kinshasa 386

Note: The following report was prepared by the Embassy officer
serving in Goma.

1. (U) Summary: The Joint Technical Commission on Peace and
Security raced for three days April 22-24 to complete the first
block of tasks on the Amani Program schedule, scrapping language
that linked disengagement to progress under the Nairobi criteria,
and confirming the cease-fire in a bilingual media blitz. Armed
groups filed reports (some exaggerated) on their size and locations,
and new working groups developed the themes they will soon carry to
the people in a public awareness campaign. A Belgian DDR expert
reminded members that others will be competing for limited brassage
and reinsertion funding. End summary.

No link with Nairobi
--------------------

2. (U) Calm action by the International Facilitation at the April 22
meeting of the Amani Program Joint Technical Commission on Peace and
Security rallied polarized members behind a compromise schedule
proposal that called on parties to the Goma accords to seek
information on developments in the Nairobi process. This avoided
the explicit link, initially proposed by the CNDP, between progress
on disarmament of the FDLR and disengagement and brassage by
Congolese armed groups that had blocked approval of Commission's
schedule (reftel).

3. (U) The Commission then reached agreement on themes for the
planned public awareness campaign targeting populations in areas of
weak state authority and under the influence of one or more armed
groups. The government co-chairman, Vice Admiral Didier Etumba,
initially suggested six themes: peaceful coexistence among
different communities; integrating all armed groups into the
national army; cease-fire and disengagement; the return of refugees;
re-establishment of state authority; and information about
ex-combatants who have laid down their arms and disengaged.

4. (U) Members and Facilitation expanded this to include child
soldiers, sexual violence against women, free movement of persons
and goods, and respect for human rights in general. As discussion
unfolded, the content and scope of themes changed, grew and shrank,
finally leaving nine topics that new working groups would define for
the next meeting.

Gearing up for the campaign
---------------------------

5. (U) On April 23, FARDC 8th Region Military Commander Delfin
Kahimbi presented a detailed account of how ex-combatants have been
reorganized into eight integrated battalions that are now deployed
against the FDLR. While they have recovered a small number of arms
and made one significant arrest (an FDLR colonel), their operations
suffer from a lack of popular support in North Kivu. For the public
awareness campaign to succeed, Kahimbi said, it must take place in
areas where the FARDC can protect people from the FDLR and talk
frankly about FDLR's evil practices.

6. (U) Etumba cautioned armed group members that the Commission's
rules of conduct would be observed throughout the campaign. He said
they should use only materials, such as flyers and storybooks,
developed by humanitarian organizations. Almost as an afterthought,
he finally broke the most-awaited detail: members participating in
the campaign will receive their full per diem, 2/3 being paid by the
government, and 1/3 by UNDP.

7. (U) Members agreed to create three new working groups: 1)
Disengagement, including eight members representing the GDRC, FRF,
CNDP, North Kivu government and South Kivu government; 2) Brassage,
with nine members drawn from the same groupings; 3) Humanitarian and
Social, working especially on lobbying, refugee and IDP issues, with
13-14 members to be named.

8. (U) Also on April 23, a solemn procession of armed group and
FARDC representatives took several hours to read statements calling
for cease-fire, in French and Swahili. Journalists recorded the
declarations for same-day broadcast. The messages called on members
of the armed groups, as well as FARDC, to end hostilities; to avoid
provocations and violence; to end recruitment and roadblocks; to
place any combatant under 18 years of age in the care of the United
Nations; and to stop collaborating with foreign armed groups.
Finally, they called their groups to prepare for disengagement and
integration into the national armed forces, or demobilization and a

KINSHASA 00000390 002 OF 002


return to civilian life.

9. (U) Etumba's earnest congratulations to the armed groups renewing
the call to cease-fire ended as he reviewed their reports on troop
strength and location. He divided the reports into three
categories: honest, dishonest and controversial. The most blatant
exaggeration attributed 14 brigades to one armed group, indicating
about 45,000 men. Etumba said he doubted any group had even 10,000.
Charitably suggesting the group had confused a regular army brigade
with the typical French gendarmerie brigade of a few score men, he
offered everyone a chance to recalculate and report a second time.
He also reminded the groups that DDR officials were engaged in a
mapping exercise that could reveal any inconsistencies with the
groups' written reports.

Pressures on DDR
----------------

10. (U) Lt. Col. De Fabribeckers, a Belgian Foreign Ministry DDR
expert, was the last presenter on April 23, and the first to raise
the high costs of the forthcoming DDR exercise. These costs will
create certain pressures, notably: time, as the window of
opportunity for DDR in North Kivu is already open and will soon slam
shut; money, as there are no large DDR donors, as in the past, and
the government can not "play Santa" but must apply the eligibility
definitions critically; and trust, as a donor which doubts that the
government is playing fair is a donor lost forever.

11. (U) DDR candidates from Kivu-based armed groups will in fact be
competing with five other groups for shrinking DDR funds: FARDC;
presidential guard; six brigades currently awaiting processing at
brassage centers; Congolese fighters on foreign soil; and
spontaneous candidates. Progression of most of these groups through
the 12-month DDR process has been largely short-circuited for
political reasons. In the absence of a program accommodating all
six, the government will indeed be selective with new candidates
from the armed groups, De Fabribeckers concluded.

Final steps before the campaign
-------------------------------

12. (U) Revision and re-submission of the key documents (theme
papers for the public awareness campaign, statements of troop
strength, and requests for release of armed group members held as
prisoners) moved easily through scrutiny and debate April 24. Even
the armed groups' certification of having removed illegal barriers
in their territories passed without problems. Belgian Foreign
Minister Karel De Gucht brought his high-level delegation to the
session late in the working day, and offered congratulations to
members and Facilitation, most in coat and tie per Etumba's orders.

Comment
-------

13. (SBU) The Commission's week-long deliberations unquestionably
took more time than they should have, but the frequent
disagreements, tantrums and reconciliations, supplemented with
technical advice from the Facilitation, created unmistakable
camaraderie. The gruff and bossy Etumba injected civics lessons
into every unclaimed minute, and heard himself quoted from time to
time on pertinent topics: the republican army, the
inappropriateness of tee-shirts, and the blamelessness of donors and
international partners. The Facilitation used the opportunity to
familiarize some armed group members, especially the CNDP, with the
nuts and bolts of negotiating and managing returnees. It is a safe
bet that all members are better peacemakers for having stood
together to stand up the Commission. End comment.

GARVELINK

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