Cablegate: Scenesetter for Codel Price July 01-02 2008

DE RUEHKI #0560/01 1781507
P 261507Z JUN 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is
slowly grappling with fundamental governance, security and
development challenges following historic 2006 national elections.
The promise of peace and democratization and the importance of the
DRC as the linchpin of central Africa and beyond have made it one of
the Department's top seven priority assistance countries in Africa.
The January 2008 Goma accords between the government and armed
groups, facilitated by the U.S., UN and EU, created a process aimed
at achieving peace, security and development in the country's
eastern provinces. Widespread insecurity only amplifies a political
and judicial vacuum throughout the country, contributing to a
pervasive climate of impunity in which armed men routinely abuse
civilians, particularly women and children. There are clear signs
the population is growing impatient with the pace of the
government's efforts and skeptical that democracy can solve the
country's problems. This visit will reaffirm U.S. commitment to a
long partnership with the Congolese people to develop democratic
institutions and reinforce our shared objective of a peaceful and
prosperous DRC. End summary.

2. (SBU) CODEL Price's visit to the DRC is a reaffirmation of U.S.
support for the country and its fledgling democracy. It comes in
the second year following the historic presidential and
parliamentary elections of December, 2006 in which Joseph Kabila was
elected president and representative institutions were installed at
the national and provincial levels. Kabila had initially gained
power in 2001 after his father, Laurent Desire Kabila, was
assassinated. He led the DRC during a difficult transition from
dictatorship, mismanagement and devastating wars, which are believed
to have taken the lives of as many as five million people between
1996 and 2002. The electoral process produced a government that has
been confronting the challenges of developing democratic
institutions amid popular expectations of change. This situation
calls for continued and sustained U.S. engagement.

3. (SBU) The DRC, a country as vast as the United States east of
the Mississippi River, has the economic potential to drive the
development of all of central Africa. The Department's 2006
decision to identify it as one of seven priority assistance
countries in Africa reflected achievements to date, the promise of
the peace and democratization processes, and the country's
importance to regional stability and development.

4. (SBU) The Mission's overriding goals focus on reinforcing
Congolese political will and capacity for robust and effective
leadership and oversight at all levels of government, while
promoting broad economic development. Together with Washington and
other diplomatic missions, we will identify and engage key
decision-makers and implement results-oriented initiatives to
support transparent governance, legislative accountability, judicial
independence, political pluralism and provincial and local autonomy.
Our assistance program fully supports and reflects the
transformational diplomacy goals laid out by Secretary Rice.
USAID's FY 2006 bilateral foreign assistance budget for DRC programs
totaled $68 million, including funds received from central accounts
but excluding humanitarian assistance. Amounts for FY 2007 rose to
$71 million (with supplemental funding), and rose again in FY 2008
to over $100 million, including increases for peace and security,
governing justly and democratically, health, education, and economic
growth programs.

Security challenges in the east

5. (SBU) The Congolese military (FARDC) suffers from low morale,
weak command and control, widespread corruption, haphazard
administration, poor operational planning, limited training and
equipment, and questionable military capability. State and
irregular military forces are responsible for many of the worst
human rights abuses in the country. North and South Kivu provinces
merit particular attention. Following a failed FARDC offensive in
early December 2007 against a renegade militia led by dissident
General Laurent Nkunda, a self-proclaimed champion of the Congo's
small Tutsi population, the government agreed to launch a peace
process. The process brought together the government with armed
groups from both provinces in the Kivu Peace, Security and
Development Conference of January 2008. As a direct result of U.S.,
UN, and EU engagement, the Conference produced an agreement now
known as the Goma accords.

6. (SBU) Implementation of the agreement has proven to be more
problematic and will require continued commitment by the U.S., UN
and European Union. A series of government decrees established the
structure and composition of the National Program for Security,
Pacification, Stabilization and Reconstruction in North and South
Kivu (the "Amani" program) set up to implement the Goma accords.

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Father ("Abbe" in French) Apollinaire Malumalu, a Catholic priest
who served as conference president, leads the program as national
coordinator. Interior Minister Denis Kalume heads a steering
committee including international facilitators that met for the
first time in March. The key Joint Technical Commission on Peace
and Security, under FARDC and MONUC co-chairmanship, held its
opening session in April. Intermittent participation by various
armed groups hinders the overall progress towards disarmament and
integration of former combatants into the national army or civilian
life. Ensuring the long-term success of this agreement will clearly
require the continued and unflagging commitment of the U.S. and our
European and UN partners, including the funding of demobilization

7. (SBU) In a parallel process, the DRC and Rwanda signed a
landmark joint statement in November 2007 in Nairobi to end the
threat posed by Rwandan Hutu rebel groups known collectively as the
Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR per its French
acronym). They agreed to act through peaceful means if possible,
principally by encouraging FDLR fighters and their families to
return to Rwanda. The statement does not, however, exclude the use
of force. The FDLR, formed largely from the remnants of the former
Rwandan army and Interahamwe militia, remains the largest of several
foreign armed groups operating in the DRC, with approximately
6,000-8,000 combatants in North and South Kivu. Its leaders include
a number of individuals implicated in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. The
FDLR poses a threat to the country's overall security and stability
while remaining a continuing source of friction between Congo and
its neighbors.

8. (SBU) The U.S. has been actively involved in assisting efforts
by the DRC and the United Nations Mission in the Congo (MONUC) to
end the threat posed by the FDLR, most recently by the announcement
of a renewed Rewards for Justice Program targeting several of its
top leaders present in the DRC. This program provides for rewards
of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of named
individuals wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
for their involvement in the 1994 genocide. Their apprehension will
not only serve the cause of justice but could help break the
cohesion of the FDLR.

U.S. leadership

9. (SBU) The United States has played a key role in efforts to
re-establish peace in eastern Congo. In 2004, the U.S. launched the
Tripartite (now Tripartite Plus) process, a forum bringing together
senior officials from the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, plus Burundi, to
promote cooperation and regional dialogue. A special Tripartite
Plus summit chaired by Secretary Rice December 5, 2007 in Addis
Ababa brought together three of the four Tripartite Plus heads of
state. Although Kabila was the only head of state who did not
attend, the three ministers representing him were active
participants in decisions to strengthen commitment to resolving
conflict in eastern Congo and increasing regional cooperation.

10. (SBU) Current active U.S. peacemaking efforts date to late
2007. Eastern Congo was a major topic of Kabila's White House
meeting with the President in October 2007. They discussed USG
assistance to the DRC, including increased funding to combat malaria
and AIDS, and the war on terrorism. The President confirmed that
the U.S. would open an Embassy office in Goma in response to
Kabila's request; the office has been staffed since early November
2007 by Foreign Service Officers on detail from Washington or
Embassy Kinshasa. A new position to staff the office on a full-time
basis with someone living in Goma has been approved; the officer
will arrive in Goma in October. USAID now also maintains a regular
presence in Goma.

11. (SBU) Tim Shortley, Senior Advisor to Assistant Secretary
Jendayi Frazer, continues to play a major role in consolidating the
processes aimed at ending the threat posed by the FDLR, Nkunda's
fighters and other armed groups. Working closely with UN, EU and
South African special envoys, he helped broker the Congo-Rwanda
Nairobi communique. After President Kabila asked him to return to
the DRC in December following the failure of his Masisi offensive
against Nkunda, Shortley negotiated the withdrawal of Nkunda's
forces from territory abandoned by the FARDC during its retreat. He
was a key player at the Kivu conference, and he and the EU special
envoy continue to play active roles in pushing signatories to
implement the Goma accords.


12. (SBU) MONUC includes a 17,000-strong peacekeeping operation

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with military contingents in all provinces and major cities and more
than 3,000 civilian employees. Now led by SRSG Alan Doss of the
U.K., who previously headed the UN mission in Liberia, MONUC was
created in 1999 pursuant to the Lusaka accords and a UN Security
Council mandate. With an annual budget of over $1 billion, it is
the largest and most expensive UN peacekeeping operation in history.
The U.S., as the largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget,
funds 27 percent of its expenditures, i.e. approximately $300
million per year. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa,
Uruguay and Nepal are the leading contributors of peacekeeping
troops, each with contingents of more than 1,000. Much more than a
simple peacekeeping operation, it provides military, transportation,
communications and administrative services in the absence of a
meaningful GDRC presence outside Kinshasa and some provincial
capitals. MONUC's Radio Okapi is the only FM station broadcasting
throughout the DRC in the country's five main languages. MONUC also
maintains regular flights to all major Congolese cities.

13. (SBU) Another current key aspect of MONUC's activities in the
DRC involves what is known as the "stabilization plan," the purpose
of which is to lay the groundwork for the mission's eventual and
orderly withdrawal from particularly the eastern part of the
country. The plan is supported by an assistance package for
implementation, and consists of four principal components: a
security component, by which armed groups are disbanded through a
combination of political and military means; a political component
which involves GDRC political actors in advancing the peace
processes; a state authority component by which institutions such as
the police, judiciary, and other elements of public administration
are strengthened; and a return and reintegration component, which
aims to aid and resettle ex-combatants, refugees, and internally
displaced persons in local communities.

Peace and security

14. (SBU) Reform of the DRC's security services has achieved little
success to date. DRC plans for reform of the military, police, and
justice sectors presented at a late-February international
conference on security sector reform (SSR) lacked a sense of
priorities and appeared little more than laundry lists to which
donors were expected to pledge. The EU has long had significant
involvement in the Congolese security sector, including European
Security (EUSEC) and European Police (EUPOL) missions. France,
Belgium and other EU member states have provided substantial funding
for military reform and training programs. South Africa and Angola
have also played major roles, including training and equipping of
integrated military brigades.

15. (SBU) USG assistance to DRC security services is set to
increase. New funding from International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement (INCLE) and Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) budget lines
has been proposed. We are currently utilizing $5 million in FY 2006
PKO funds to rehabilitate the officer training institute and provide
training for staff officers and military magistrates and
investigators. The International Military and Education Training
Program (IMET) funds U.S.-based courses that include
English-language training. INCLE (International Law Enforcement and
Control) funds from the Department of State's Bureau of
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
are being allocated to stand up the Congolese border police in Ituri
District. The Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related
Projects appropriation - "NADR" -pays for the destruction of
obsolete ordnance. In addition, the $300 million in U.S. funding
for MONUC now also supports its new FARDC training program.

Democracy and governance

16. (SBU) The Congolese people had high expectations that the
democratic process will improve their lives. The relatively large
turnout in the July and October 2006 presidential and parliamentary
elections demonstrated their hopes for a democratic system of
government. New institutions, however, have been slow to generate
momentum. The 500-member National Assembly counts only a small
number of members with legislative or government experience. The
Assembly and the 106-member Senate have only begun to consider a
heavy agenda of major legislation. Provincial officials are
unfamiliar with decentralized authority and lack resources, money
and experience. Elections for local and municipal officials are
tentatively scheduled for mid 2009 at the earliest.

17. (SBU) Parties and candidates aligned with Kabila's electoral
coalition, the Alliance for the Presidential
Majority (AMP), won working majorities in the National

KINSHASA 00000560 004 OF 006

Assembly and Senate, as well as eight of 11 provincial assemblies
and ten of 11 governorships -- leaving the opposition with little
apparent political clout. Prominent opposition figure Jean-Pierre
Bemba departed for Portugal in April 2007, following fighting in
Kinshasa the month before between his forces and government troops.
He was arrested in Belgium on May 24 on an ICC warrant for war
crimes allegedly committed by his forces in the Central African
Republic from 2002-2003.

18. (SBU) USG governance and institutional reform programs,
budgeted at $10.2 million for FY 2007 and a proposed $19 million for
FY 2008, focus on combating corruption and human rights abuses,
developing independent judicial and legislative institutions,
facilitating decentralization of state authority, and supporting
local elections. Their objectives include long-term transformation
as well as direct citizen access to services. We have provided
assistance to National Assembly deputies drafting key legislative
proposals, including laws relating to the financing of political
parties, decentralization, the establishment of a national election
commission and the protection of human rights. We have also
conducted capacity-building seminars for National Assembly deputies
and staffers, supported the creation of provincial watchdog and
advocacy groups to encourage citizen participation in democratic
processes, and worked to develop skills of political party members,
foster grassroots anti-corruption initiatives, and establish mobile
courts and legal aid clinics.

Human rights and gender based violence

19. (SBU) Security forces and armed groups remain responsible for
most human rights violations in the DRC, including unlawful
killings, disappearances, torture, rape and arbitrary arrest and
detention. Human rights advocates have extensively documented the
involvement of these elements in such abuses.
Constitutionally-protected freedoms of association, speech, and
protest are increasingly disregarded by security and administrative
authorities using vague Mobutu-and colonial-era laws to arrest and
detain perceived critics. The Embassy is working with NGOs and
other diplomatic missions to encourage Parliament to bring these
laws into line with the 2006 constitution.

20. (SBU) Sexual violence against women and girls in eastern DRC is
pervasive. While most of the recorded attacks have been by armed
groups and the FARDC, reports of rape by civilians is increasingly
prevalent. A general climate of impunity does nothing to discourage
these acts. In a recent report, the UN Human Rights Integrated
Office in the DRC (UNHRO) stated that despite strengthened laws on
sexual violence "law enforcement personnel and magistrates continue
to treat rape and sexual violence in general with a marked lack of
seriousness. Consequently, men accused of rape are often granted
bail or given relatively light sentences, and out-of-court
settlements of sexual violence cases are widespread." In fact,
relatively few cases are reported to the police, and fewer still
result in prosecution.

21. (SBU) USAID, OFDA and the Departments of State and Defense
support activities to respond to and prevent sexual violence through
a variety of interventions in the eastern provinces. Since 2002,
USAID has allocated more than $10,000,000 for Gender-Based Violence
activities in Eastern DRC and will program $1,500,000 in FY 2008 to
continue its holistic program of care and support for rape survivors
and other victims of sexual abuse. The Defense Institute for
International Legal Studies (DIILS) taught two three-week training
sessions on the investigation of sex crimes in 2008 to nearly all
350 of the FARDC military magistrates and police investigators with
investigatory and adjudicatory roles. The program, funded through
PKO monies, sponsored sessions in eight different sites across the
country, and received laudatory comments from the international
community. A follow up proposal has been submitted for additional
DIILS training and is currently under review.

Economic growth

22. (SBU) Most of the estimated 60 million Congolese, have not
benefited from the country's vast natural resources, including
minerals, forests and rivers. With over 90 per cent unemployment
and an informal sector that rivals the formal economy in size, most
people survive on less than one dollar a day. Despite annual GDP
growth of nearly six per cent in 2007, per capita GDP is only around
$120. At the current growth rate, per capita income will not reach
pre-independence levels until the middle of the 21st century.
Economic growth, spurred largely by the mining sector in Katanga
province, is estimated to be slightly higher for 2008, but this must
be weighed along with a possible doubling of inflation, from under

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10 percent in 2007 to a projected 20 percent or higher in 2008.

23. (SBU) Despite some progress on macroeconomic and
financial reforms since 2003, the IMF Poverty Reduction and
Growth Facility (PRGF) lapsed, in March 2007 due to continued
government overspending and failure to meet structural reform
targets. The DRC received little or no direct outside assistance to
support a USD 2.5 billion budget for 2007 and USD 3.6 billion for
2008. The DRC has been granted Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC)
status, but without a PRGF program in place, and little prospect for
renegotiating one before the end of 2008, is not making progress
toward achieving the nearly complete debt forgiveness it badly

24. (SBU) The 2008 budget, signed into law by President
Kabila in January, calls for expenditures of $3.6 billion, much of
it for government salaries (including civil servants, public school
teachers and military personnel) and the security sector. Without
outside budget support in 2008, the GDRC may again face large
deficits, to which it has historically reacted with large amounts of
currency issuance. The GDRC is making a concerted effort to raise
state revenue levels, but this may not solve the budget shortfall
problem. Since January 2008, GDRC spending has been apparently
contained within budgetary limits, but many of its expenses will
come due only during the last quarter of the year. Military
expenditures in eastern Congo appear to be the cause of much of the
recent overspending.

25. (SBU) The GDRC is working to implement the Poverty
Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approved in mid-2006 by the IMF and
World Bank boards. The government's five-year program, approved by
the National Assembly in February 2007, is based on the PRSP and
focuses heavily on President
Kabila's five priority areas: infrastructure; employment;
education; water/electricity; and health. Economic growth will
depend on progress in these areas. In early 2008 the GDRC concluded
an agreement with the Chinese government. Though not all details
have been made public, the GDRC announced that it will exchange over
8 million tons of copper and over 200,000 tons of cobalt for an
estimated $6 billion in Chinese-funded infrastructure projects,
including roads, railway, universities, hospitals, housing and
clinics. China will also spend an estimated $3 billion in the
mining sector on as-yet-unnamed mining concessions. China is
exploring other possible "infrastructure for natural resources"
deals with the DRC.

26. (SBU) The USG is an active participant in international donors'
Country Assistance Framework (CAF) process for 2007-10, designed to
align assistance strategies and support GDRC efforts to implement
the PRSP. Bilateral USG foreign assistance funding for economic
growth is modest, with only $8 million designated for activities to
increase agricultural productivity, although this is supplemented by
a $30 million, three-year Food for Peace program to help spur rural
development. USAID has active global development alliances with
mining, agro-business and health partners.

27. (SBU) U.S. commercial interests in the DRC are small but
growing, with a U.S. company (Seaboard Corporation) running the
largest flour mill in the country and an American mining company
(Freeport McMoRan) gearing up to produce an estimated 100,000 tons
of copper metal by early 2009. USAID and the British Department for
International Development (DFID) are collaborating on efforts to
help the GDRC implement the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (EITI). USAID, through the Central African Regional
Program for the Environment (CARPE) and the Congo Basin Forestry
Partnership (CBFP) is working to promote better management of the
forestry sector. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has
granted $500,000 for a hydroelectric sector pre-feasibility study,
and is looking at the transportation (river and rail) sector for
further opportunities for U.S. investments in DRC infrastructure.

The scene today

28. (SBU) CODEL Price's arrival comes at a moment of both tensions
as well as continued hope. The Congolese people look to their
government, and the international community, for help to bring an
end to conflicts that have cost billions of dollars, uprooted
hundreds of thousands of people and resulted in millions of deaths.
These conflicts have also created an atmosphere of widespread
insecurity, contributing to a political and judicial vacuum in which
women and children are routinely abused, and in which the
perpetrators go unpunished. There are clear signs the population is
growing impatient with the pace of the government's efforts and
skeptical that democracy can solve its problems. In this
environment, we ask you to help us to reinforce the following

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-- The Congolese people rightly expect responsible leadership at
home as well as supportive international partners. We will continue
to support the new leadership to develop transparent practices,
establish good governance for the well-being of the Congolese
people, and improve the
stewardship of its abundant natural resources.

-- They are eager to realize tangible benefits from their
investment in democracy. They must cease being made victims of
violence. Human rights must be respected and violators punished.

-- Congo has taken remarkable strides to replace war with
peaceful democratic change. The successful elections were a
tangible demonstration of the people's desire for peaceful
governance. The United States is eager to see that momentum

-- We encourage political and military authorities to pursue a
peaceful resolution of the security problems which persist in

-- The United States will continue to support and work closely with
the GDRC and MONUC to bring about political reconciliation and to
prevent further conflict in the DRC and the region.

-- We strongly support the Nairobi and Goma processes and are
contributing funds and expertise to ensure their success will bring
lasting peace and stability to the region.


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