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Cablegate: Foreign Minister Reacts to Nuclear Issues

VZCZCXRO1867
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0498 1570910
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050910Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8081
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 4082
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 0045
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0031
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000498

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR MSERGIO AND DINGRAM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG EMIN IAEA PGOV CG
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER REACTS TO NUCLEAR ISSUES

REF: A. KINSHASA 247 B. STATE 38529

1. (SBU) Ambassador met May 24 with Foreign Minister Antipas
Mbusa and raised two issues related to the DRC,s nuclear
research facility and the Congo,s status as a rich source of
natural uranium. Vice-minister Ignace Gata also attended.
DCM was notetaker.

GDRC Nuclear Team Invited to Vienna
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) Ambassador informed Mbusa that a letter inviting a
team from the Ministry of Higher Education/Scientific
Research (MHESR) and the Kinshasa Nuclear Energy Research
Center (CREN-K) to travel to Vienna on/about July 7 will be
delivered to MHESR the week of June 2. The meetings with
IAEA and U.S. Department of Energy officials will cover the
repatriation to the U.S. of nuclear fuel currently in and
around the two TRIGA reactors located at the CREN-K facility
on the University of Kinshasa campus (reftels). Mbusa seemed
unaware of this initiative, despite the high-level
discussions that took place with the DOS/DOE National Nuclear
Safety Administration team in March of this year. (Comment:
DRC and international media reports on the CREN-K facility,
and its involvement in deals for uranium mine concessions,
were extensive during 2007 and Mbusa must have heard about
the issue. End comment.)

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism
---------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Ambassador explained the Global Initiative to Combat
Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) to Mbusa, gave him a list, in
English, of current GICNT partner nations and the program's
statement of principles, and encouraged the GDRC to endorse
the initiative. Mbusa listened attentively but did not
appear to be very interested in this subject, noting he had
never heard of the initiative. He requested that the
information be provided in French and forwarded to the
Ministry under cover of a diplomatic note, with copy to the
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MHESR).
Post has requested a French language version of the GICNT
materials and will present these to the MFA and MHESR upon
receipt.

4. (SBU) Comment: Although Mbusa's ignorance of the
discussions already underway on the repatriation of nuclear
fuel to the U.S. from the CREN-K facility is surprising, it
is perhaps indicative of the lack of information flow between
ministries within the GDRC. The appeal for the GDRC to
consider participating in the GICNT is very timely now that
the DRC is in discussions about radioactive material sources
such as CREN-K and is faced with recurrent international
concern over its status as a potential source of natural
uranium. End comment.
GARVELINK

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