Cablegate: Kabila, Srsg/P-3 Plus Two and Angola Discuss East,

DE RUEHKI #0392/01 1261445
R 051445Z MAY 08



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Kabila, SRSG/P-3 plus two and Angola discuss East,
Rwanda ties, Kony, food shortages, and air safety


1. (SBU) Summary: On May 2 President Kabila met with SRSG Doss,
ambassadors of the P-3 plus 2 nations, and Angola, the first meeting
in this format in 2008. Kabila and the European ambassadors
expressed disappointment - without explicitly blaming each other -
for slow movement on economic development. Kabila evinced a clear
understanding of the major challenges he faces and appeared more
relaxed than at previous SRSG/P-3 plus 2 fora. He promised to hold
monthly meetings with the group, also agreeing to instruct his
economic development team to meet with the donor community to
discuss a request from European donors to monitor progress in this
area, a possible sign that current tensions between donors and
recipients, heretofore characterized by mutual recriminations of
inaction, may transition to a more collaborative phase. The
president did not seem anxious over what the SRSG and ambassadors
fear is a looming food shortage crisis in the DRC. Kabila was upset
by Rwandan president Kagame's absence in New York in April and
blamed Rwanda for failure to take steps to renew DRC-Rwanda
diplomatic ties. Kabila said it was time to bring under control
("maitriser") Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony by military force and
asked for intelligence on Kony and his men. Kabila did not,
however, intimate he would invite Uganda to take part in efforts to
deal with Kony. SRSG noted, and Kabila concurred, that provincial
and local elections cannot be held until 2009. Angola's presence at
the meeting, requested by Kabila, possibly signals an effort to
bring greater North-South balance to these P-3 plus 2 meetings. End

2. (SBU) For the first time in 2008 Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila met with the UN Secretary
General's Special Representative (SRSG) and representatives of the
UN Security Council's Permanent Three (P-3) members (U.S., UK,
France), together with non-permanent SC members Belgium and South
Africa ("plus 2"). Also invited, at Kabila's request, was the
Angolan charge d'affaires (the ambassador is currently absent), the
first time that country has participated in a P-3 plus two meeting.
DRC officials at the meeting included Foreign Minister Antipas
Mbusa, presidential chief of staff Raymond Tshibanda, diplomatic
advisor Marcellin Chissambo, and roving ambassador Seraphin Ngwej.
The meeting was the first for new SRSG Alan Doss. All P-3 plus two
nations were represented at the ambassadorial level.

Situation in the East

3. (SBU) Doss began with a presentation on the four areas of
concern (his statement was coordinated with the P-3 plus two
ambassadors and Angolan representatives at a meeting the day
before), giving a short summary of each. Doss specified each area:
the situation in the DRC's eastern region; economic development
issues; air safety and provincial/municipal elections. On the
situation in the East of the country, Doss reviewed developments
since the last Kabila-SRSG/P-3 plus 2 meeting on December 20,2007
(reftel) highlighting efforts to implement the December 9, 2007
Nairobi Communique and the agreements reached January 23) at the
National Conference in Goma (the "Amani Process"). The SRSG
expressed guarded optimism that efforts to bring about an end to the
fighting in the East were progressing but noted that much remained
to be done. He expressed satisfaction that the Defense Minister,
who originally resisted the idea, has agreed to create thematic
groups to approach the issue of military reform and military action
against militias in the East. He noted that gender-based violence
continues to be a major problem and also referred to a new area of
concern, i.e., recent violence in the western province of Bas-Congo.
Doss stated that the Bas-Congo was very different from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo's eastern region and that progress
in economic development would go a long way to solving the Bas-Congo

5. (SBU) The French and Belgian ambassadors referred to bilateral
programs their countries are sponsoring to train a DRC rapid
reaction force (RRF), including a French program now underway in the
Bas-Congo as part of an effort to create a military force for
humanitarian relief efforts within member nations of the Africa
Union's Economic Community of Central Africa States (French acronym:
CEEAC). The French ambassador noted that the French-trained
contingent could be deployed to the East if necessary. Both
ambassadors also congratulated the GDRC for the defense minister's
willingness to set up thematic groups to discuss Security Sector
Reform (SSR), a decision which could contribute to enhancing the
military's effectiveness in going after the militia groups.

6. (SBU) The British ambassador noted that the current situation is
an improvement over that when the President last met with the

KINSHASA 00000392 002 OF 004

SRSG/P-3 plus 2, if only because there now exists a "global plan"
against insurgent forces, a plan that included Nkunda, the FDLR and
all other groups. He asked Kabila how the P-3 plus two might help
in implementing the plan. He also expressed concern over the
continuing problem of gender-based violence and asked the President
for his thoughts on P-3 plus two help in this area as well. The
South African ambassador asked Kabila for his analysis of the
situation in the East four months after the signing of the Goma
agreements and what the international community might do
specifically to help. The U.S. ambassador praised Kabila for his
leadership in trying to implement the Nairobi and Goma accords and
reiterated requests from the UK and South African ambassadors that
he, Kabila, specify what specific actions the P-3 plus two might
take to help the DRC.

7. (SBU) Responding to Doss' and the ambassadors' comments and
questions, Kabila noted with satisfaction that Father Apolinnaire
Malu Malu, his choice to oversee implementation of the Amani
process, was doing a good job. The ceasefire, albeit fragile, was
holding. Nonetheless, the "point of no return," which Kabila
described as the time when so many militia members will have been
demobilized that further fighting will not be possible, has not yet
been reached. On July 23, the six-month date from the signing of
the Goma agreement, a comprehensive evaluation of all efforts will
be carried out. He referred to upcoming meetings in Rome and
Kinshasa with the ex-FAR/FDLR to persuade those groups' leaders to
demobilize. This will "give people a chance to avoid fighting." He
emphasized that "our vision on stability in East has not ever
changed. The process in place is the way forward," he stressed, but
"is not the only way." He also emphasized the need to address
impunity and punish criminals; failure to do so, he stated, was to
fail to give the state the authority it needed to end the insurgency
in the East once and for all.

8. (SBU) On SSR, Kabila acknowledged he personally had not played
an active role on this issue but instead had waited for donors to
come forward with their proposals for help. He thanked the French
ambassador for France's training of a RRF battalion, but noted that
much more was needed. In a lighter moment, he said he was not good
in math, but "if we only train battalions one by one it will take
quite some time to get where we need to be." He continued: "I am a
man in a hurry on military training. And I also want a plan to
train Congolese trainers." He then alluded to the sad state of
Congolese institutes for senior training, lamenting that many such
entities simply no longer exist, including a senior staff college
for military officers, a special school for engineers, senior
management, etc.

Missed meeting with Kagame; relations with Rwanda
--------------------------------------------- ----

9. (SBU) Doss and several ambassadors raised the importance of
restoring diplomatic relations between the DRC and Rwanda as called
for under the Nairobi Communique. The Angolan charge asked Kabila
if he was disappointed over the absence of Rwandan president Kagame
in New York recently at what was expected to be a summit between the
two leaders to discuss progress on a peace agreement in the East.
He also asked the president for his take on the results of the
meetings in New York. The Belgian ambassador criticized Rwanda for
its lack of cooperation in providing a list of FDLR suspects. The
U.S. ambassador referred to U.S. efforts to get the Rwandans to
cooperate with the DRC on demobilization. SRSG Doss "deplored"
Kagame's failure to appear in New York. Kabila replied that "it is
very irritating when partners are not sincere." He asked
rhetorically "Are the Rwandans really for peace? Who knows? Is the
ex-FAR or the DRC the problem? No, but the Rwandans want us to
solve their problem for them." On restoring diplomatic ties, Kabila
said in essence that the Rwandans had not taken the steps needed to
show they are interested in restoring ties and that the DRC could
not be expected to do this unilaterally. It was necessary and
important to have relations with Rwanda, Kabila stressed, but this
must proceed in stages and Rwanda had to do its part.

Time to take care of Kony by force

10. (SBU) In discussing fighting in the East, Kabila volunteered
that the time had come to use force to deal with ("maitriser" in
French) the continued predations in the DRC of the renegade faction
of the Lord's Resistance Army headed by Joseph Kony. Failure to
remove Kony immediately, Kabila asserted, would mean he will
continue to recruit Congolese to fight for him. Kabila made an
appeal for help in obtaining intelligence on Kony and his movements
but did not leave an opening for possible Ugandan intervention in
this effort.

KINSHASA 00000392 003 OF 004

Economic Development and looming food shortages
--------------------------------------------- --

11. (SBU) Several ambassadors asked Kabila if he would consider
setting up a meeting with the donor community to establish
mechanisms to review progress on all fronts of Kabila's ambitious
economic development agenda (the five priority sectors for economic
and human development, or "cinq chantiers" in French). Without
stating their reasons for the meeting request or blaming the DRC
explicitly, the French and Belgian ambassadors clearly hinted there
was frustration (with the Congolese) over failures to move forward
on development projects. Avoiding the defensive posture he assumed
in past meetings with the SRSG/P-3 plus two on this sensitive issue,
Kabila said simply: Yes, we understand your frustration, because
we, the Government and the people of the Congo, are also very
frustrated," referring specifically to the need for "broken
promises" of funding to repair infrastructure. The UK ambassador
made similar comments but cast them in a different light. Noting
that Kabila had spoken on Millennium development goals in early
April in New Delhi, he said he would welcome "your leadership in the
area of economic development to achieve more urgency, more
coordination, and more accountability to you." Kabila then
surprised his interlocutors by saying that he was willing to set up
a meeting to discuss development. He did not state, however,
whether he agreed the meeting would set up the evaluation mechanisms
requested by the French and Belgians. He stipulated that he would
not attend the meeting but would make sure that the highest-ranking
members of his development affairs team would be there and requested
that the meeting take place before May 15 (no reason for that date
was given).

12. (SBU) The British ambassador noted that the emerging world food
crisis was like a "traffic accident in slow motion." Coordination
was needed to prepare a response to higher prices and shortages.
The South African ambassador followed, noting that in South Africa
and Senegal special mechanisms were recently created to deal with
this issue and asked if similar structures existed in the DRC. The
U.S. ambassador assured the president that the U.S. stood ready to
help in this area. "What can we do?" he asked pointedly. Kabila
replied that his government believed that the solution to food
shortages in the Congo, which had tremendous agricultural potential,
was to increase food production. He noted that this year the
government was buying 500 tractors to mechanize production in an
effort to speed up the availability of locally grown food. He
expressed confidence the GDRC could meet this challenge and noted
that it has approached the FAO for technical support. He also
mentioned the need to improve roads to get produce to markets.
Kabila added that an important contribution to the solution would be
for countries that export food stop turning their food into fuel,
thereby causing food shortages in the countries they export to.
Attempting to inject humor into his comments, Kabila said the issue
was one of "starving to death in the poor countries due to a lack of
food," or "dying in the rich countries from climate change because
of putting too many hydrocarbon emissions into the air."

Air Safety

13. (SBU) Doss and European ambassadors mentioned heightened
concerns over air safety in light of the April 15 crash of a DC-9 in
Goma. The French and Belgian ambassadors noted that the problem was
not related to equipment and infrastructure problems only, but also
to a lack of enforcement of air transportation safety regulations by
DRC officials. The French ambassador called for setting up a
working group to stimulate the adoption of corrective measures in
the aviation sector. Kabila responded only that his Minister of
Transportation would brief the government on May 5 on all aspects of
the problem and on possible solutions.

Provincial, local elections

14. (SBU) SRSG Doss referred to a review he has made of the status
of preparations for provincial and local elections, the last step in
the popular selection of DRC leaders as called for under the new
constitution. Although it was widely believed these elections would
be held in the second half of 2008, this would not be possible given
a number of obstacles. Doss did not elaborate on the obstacles,
except to mention that electoral lists needed updating. Doss stated
it was important, however, to hold the elections as soon as
possible, preferably by the summer of 2009. Kabila said he had not
foreseen that such important obstacles existed but now recognized
that the postponement until 2009 was necessary. He urged Doss to
use the 2005 electoral list as the basis for the upcoming polls;

KINSHASA 00000392 004 OF 004

Doss agreed the 2005 list would indeed be updated.

15. (SBU) Comment: Throughout the meeting Kabila was clearly in
command of the subject matter and at ease with his interlocutors,
even using humor at several junctures. There was no repeat here of
the tense appearance and defensive posture he has assumed at
previous meetings of this group, which the president has almost
certainly viewed as a continuation of the old and, for him,
meddlesome CIAT mechanism (the Sun City accords-created body to
ensure international community participation in the DRC's transition
to democratic rule). Pleasant surprises at the May 2 meeting were
Kabila's voluntary announcements that he would meet monthly with the
SRSG and P-3 plus 2, that his economic development team would meet
with the donor community, and that he believes the time has come to
use force in dealing with Kony. Disappointing was his lack of
appetite to take the initiative in renewing diplomatic relations
with Rwanda, although domestic political opposition here to renewed
ties helps explain his passivity on this front. Angola's presence
at the meeting is new; we suspect Kabila may see the addition to the
group of his neighbor and ally as a way to achieve greater
North-South balance within the P-3 plus two setting. End Comment.

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