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Cablegate: Kabila Visits Quebec City to Promote Kinshasa's

VZCZCXRO7236
OO RUEHGI RUEHMRE RUEHMT RUEHQU RUEHSR
DE RUEHKI #0891/01 2901427
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161427Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8612
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 1220
RUEHAN/AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO IMMEDIATE 0018
INFO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 0051
RUEHAB/AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN 0078
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RUEHRY/AMEMBASSY CONAKRY 0023
RUEHCO/AMEMBASSY COTONOU 0183
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0223
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0030
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 4831
RUEHLC/AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE 2685
RUEHPC/AMEMBASSY LOME 0401
RUEHLE/AMEMBASSY LUXEMBOURG 0003
RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 0002
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RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA 0310
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 0047
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RUEHOU/AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU 0095
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE 0019
RUEHPL/AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS 0032
RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC 0002
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0049
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0001
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 0043
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0253
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0649

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000891

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, AF/C AND AF/PD (CAnyaso, DWhitman)

PARIS PLS PASS USUNESCO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID SCUL CG
SUBJECT: Kabila visits Quebec City to promote Kinshasa's
bid to host 2010 Summit of "la Francophonie"

1. (SBU) Summary: President Joseph Kabila has broken with his
preference for staying at home to instead attend this week's
Francophonie Summit in Quebec City. Just days ago, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo submitted its letter of candidacy for Kinshasa
to host the 2010 summit; the only other candidate is Madagascar,
which has been lobbying in support of Antananarivo for several
months. The potential political benefits of hosting the summit in
Kinshasa in 2010, the 50th anniversary of Congolese independence,
are not lost on Kabila, who likely faces an uphill battle in his bid
for a second term in the 2011 presidential elections, to be held
less than a year after the summit. End summary.

Kabila breaks isolation to go to Quebec
---------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The delegation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to
the 12th summit of "La Francophonie" in Quebec City departed
Kinshasa October 13. The delegation was headed by President Joseph
Kabila, who learned French as an adult. (Note: Raised in Tanzania,
Kabila has excellent Swahili and English; he now also speaks French
fluently. End note.) In attending the summit Kabila is breaking
with what has become his usual practice of not attending large
international meetings. By nature a shy person, Kabila did not
attend this year's UN General Assembly. He also typically passes on
OAU summits and meetings of sub-regional African organizations. In
December of last year he turned down an invitation from Secretary
Rice to meet with her at a summit of Great Lakes heads of state in
Addis Ababa. The official reason for Kabila's absence at this
year's UNGA was fighting in the eastern region of the DRC. Although
the situation there has not changed significantly since the opening
of UNGA, Kabila nonetheless decided to go to Quebec.

3. (SBU) The French DCM (pls protect) told Charge recently that
Kabila has only one objective in going Quebec: to lobby for the
DRC's candidacy to host the 2010 summit of francophone nations. In
2006, at the Bucharest summit, the DRC expressed interest in hosting
the 2010 event, evoking two arguments: (1) The summit had never
been held in Central Africa; and (2) 2010, the 50th anniversary of
the DRC's independence (as well as for most of Africa's francophone
nations) is the logical time for this event to be hosted by the DRC,
the world's most populous French-speaking African nation and,
indeed, the most populous francophone nation in the world. (Note:
Zaire President Mobutu twice offered to host the Francophonie
summit, offers that were rejected because of security concerns. End
note.)

4. (SBU) Although the Congolese originally offered, at the
Bucharest summit two years ago, to host the 2010 summit, a formal
letter of candidacy was not submitted to Francophonie Secretary
General Abdou Diouf until Saturday, October 11, less than a week
before the Quebec City meeting's opening on October 17. Kabila and
his team debated whether to host the event for almost two years,
even though a number of francophone nations encouraged the DRC to

KINSHASA 00000891 002 OF 002


present its candidacy. The leading proponent within the GDRC for
hosting the event during the long internal debate was Andre Kimbuta,
the mayor of city of Kinshasa, who is also the governor of the
province of Kinshasa. (Note: Charge recently met with Kimbuta to
discuss another issue; Kimbuta proudly introduced himself as the
"mayor of the largest French-speaking city in the world." End
note.)

Madagascar is the only other candidate
--------------------------------------

5. (SBU) The only other announced candidate to host the 2010 summit
is Madagascar, which formalized its bid many months ago. According
to our French contact, Madagascar has at least 10 confirmed
supporters. But the DRC has a good chance of getting the nod, he
said, because of the DRC's two compelling arguments: the event has
never been held in Central Africa, and the DRC, as Africa's largest
francophone nation, would be a more appropriate site for the event
on the 50th anniversary of the independence of many of Africa's
French-speaking nations. Regarding the first argument, we
understand that reports are circulating that President Omar Bongo of
Gabon will nominate Libreville as the venue if Kinshasa's candidacy
fails to attract support. We understand that Diouf also supports
the DRC. Finally, the government of Madagascar may have alienated
France and certain other countries by having decreed in 2007 that
English is a co-official language with French and Malgache. (Note:
the Francophonie chooses its bi-annual summit city by consensus;
there is no vote. End note.)

6. (SBU) Comment: We understand the internal GDRC debate over
whether to host the summit was finally won by those who argued that
holding the event in Kinshasa could be politically beneficial for
Kabila, whose popularity in this, the country's most populous city,
is very low. Summit preparations will require significant
investments in infrastructure, including roads, communications,
hotels, and other buildings, which in turn should create many new
jobs. Grants or low-interest loans for many projects are likely to
be provided by the organization's wealthiest members. The event
itself will bring some 60 heads of state or government to the DRC,
accompanied by their delegations and the media. Kabila and his
ministers will also benefit from a wave of international and local
press coverage. This will be much appreciated by the ruling party
in the lead-up to the 2011 presidential elections, to be held no
later than September, 2011. End comment.

Brock

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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