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Cablegate: Holy See Relays Concerns About Situation In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS VATICAN 001329

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), AF/C, AF/E. AND AF/RA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CF CG PHUM PREL RW UG VT
SUBJECT: HOLY SEE RELAYS CONCERNS ABOUT SITUATION IN
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO; SEEKS U.S. SUPPORT


1. (SBU) THE HOLY SEE OUTLINED ITS CONCERNS ABOUT MOUNTING
UNREST IN THE NORTHEASTERN REGION OF ITURI IN THE DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) IN A NOTE PASSED TO EMBASSY MARCH 24.
THE VATICAN IS CALLING ON THE PARTIES TO "RESPECT AGREEMENTS
ALREADY SIGNED AND RESUME NEGOTIATIONS." THE HOLY SEE, WITH
CLERGY IN COMMUNITIES ON ALL SIDES OF THIS MULTIFACETED
CONFLICT, IS CLEARLY CONCERNED THAT RECENT GAINS IN THE CONGO
PEACE PROCESS ARE AGAIN AT RISK FROM THE MILITARY OCCUPATION
OF BUNIA BY THE UGANDAN ARMED FORCES. THEY HAVE ASKED US TO
BRING THEIR CONCERNS TO THE DEPARTMENT'S ATTENTION AND WOULD
APPRECIATE U.S. SUPPORT FOR THEIR POSITION AS OUTLINED IN
THEIR PRO-MEMORIA NOTE TO ENCOURAGE ADHESION TO THE
AGREEMENTS AND RESUMPTION OF NEGOTIATIONS.

2. (SBU) THE TEXT OF THE NOTE FOLLOWS:

BEGIN TEXT:

IN RECENT TIMES, THE ALREADY COMPLICATED SITUATION IN THE
NORTHEASTERN REGION OF ITURI (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
HAS INCREASINGLY WORSENED, INCLUDING A MILITARY OCCUPATION OF
THE CITY OF BUNIA BY THE UGANDAN ARMED FORCES (UPDF) WHO HAVE
CAUSED THE MILITIA OF THE MOVEMENT UNION DES PATRIOTES
CONGOLAIS (UPC) TO FLEE. THE GOVERNMENT OF KIGALI HAS
PUBLISHED A DECLARATION THREATENING A REPOSITIONING OF
RWANDAN TROOPS IN CONGO: "IF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS
FOUND IT ACCEPTABLE FOR UGANDA TO RETURN TO THE DRC, FOR ALL
THE DUBIOUS REASONS IT HAS GIVEN, THEN IT IS LEGITIMATE THAT
RWANDA SHOULD GO IN THE DRC TO CONTAIN THIS NEW SITUATION"
(STATEMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND REGIONAL
COOPERATION, MARCH 14TH, 2003).

IN THIS REGARD, THE HOLY SEE EXPRESSES ITS CONCERN OVER THE
FORESEEABLE CONSEQUENCES THAT SUCH A POSITION WILL HAVE ON
THE STRAINED PEACE PROCESS IN THE REGION, AS WELL AS ON THE
CIVIL POPULATION SUFFERING THE VIOLENCE OF THE VARIOUS ARMED
GROUPS FIGHTING IN THAT REGION.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE HOLY SEE ASKS THE INTERESTED PARTIES
TO AVOID FURTHER SUFFERING OF UNARMED CIVILIANS, TO RESPECT
THE AGREEMENT FOR THE CEASE-FIRE AND TO WITHDRAW FOREIGN
TROOPS FROM CONGOLESE TERRITORY, TO RESUME NEGOTIATIONS FOR
PEACE IN THE AREA AND TO PUT INTO PLACE A TRANSITIONAL
GOVERNMENT IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.

THE SECRETARIAT OF STATE HAS ASKED THE APOSTOLIC NUNCIOS IN
THE INTERESTED COUNTRIES, AS WELL AS THE PERMANENT OBSERVERS
TO THE UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION IN NEW YORK AND GENEVA, TO
PRESENT THESE CONCERNS TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS. AT THE SAME
TIME, IT APPEALS TO THOSE GOVERNMENTS WHICH MAINTAIN CLOSE
RELATIONS WITH THE AFRICAN COUNTRIES OF THE GREAT LAKES
REGION, URGING BOTH THEM AND THE MILITIA TO WORK MORE
DECISIVELY AND EFFECTIVELY TOWARDS A LASTING PEACE.

FROM THE VATICAN, 24 MARCH 2003.

END TEXT

3. (SBU) COMMENT: BECAUSE THE HOLY SEE HAS CLERGY ON ALL
SIDES OF THIS CONFLICT, THEY HAVE GENERALLY AVOIDED TAKING
STANDS ON ANY SIDE OF THE CONFLICT. THEIR DECISION TO ENGAGE
AT THIS TIME WITH A NOTE TO ALL INTERESTED PARTIES AND OTHER
GOVERNMENTS ENGAGED IN THE PEACE EFFORT REFLECTS THEIR FEAR
THAT THE PROGRESS ATTAINED TO DATE IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION
IS AT RISK OF FALLING APART. IT ALSO RESPONDS TO A RECENT
ADMONITION FROM THE POPE, WHO CAUTIONED IN A RECENT AUDIENCE
THAT, IN THE FACE OF THE FOCUS ON IRAQ, THAT THE WORLD NOT
NEGLECT THE MANY OTHER WARS AND CONFLICTS THAT THREATENED
HUMANITY.

NICHOLSON

NNNN

2003VATICA01329 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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