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Cablegate: Drc National Committee for Great Lakes Conference

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

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001678

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PREL CG
SUBJECT: DRC NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR GREAT LAKES CONFERENCE
UPDATE

1. (U) Summary. The DRC's National Coordinator for the Great
Lakes Conference (GLC) states that initial contacts with
civil society groups around the country show that the top
priority for most people is peace and security. Congolese
citizens have expressed serious concerns about territorial
integrity and the insecurity posed by armed groups and unpaid
soldiers. The DRC is preparing to participate at an upcoming
regional meeting of national coordinators to the GLC in
Bujumbura September 6-10, in which members will discuss
national priorities and the GLC's proposed agenda. End
Summary.

National Committee Working on DRC's Agenda
------------------------------------------

2. (U) Poloff met with the DRC's National Coordinator for the
GLC, Baudouin Hamuli, September 1st, to discuss preparations
for this regional event currently scheduled for mid-November
2004. The four major themes that the GLC is planning to
address are peace and security, good governance and
democracy, economic development and regional integration, and
humanitarian and social questions. The United Nations, the
European Union, the African Union, Canada and The Netherlands
are supporting this event and will be sending observers to
the conference.

3. (U) According to Hamuli, the DRC's national commission has
been working with civil society groups from around the
country to get their input on what ought to be the priorities
for the Congo at the GLC. Although their work is ongoing, the
current consensus is that the country should focus on peace
and security issues. Ensuring the country's territorial
integrity and preventing a conflict with Rwanda is the top
security concern. Two other important security concerns
expressed are addressing the problem of armed groups in Ituri
and the Kivus, as well as the threats posed by unpaid
soldiers and the lack of a unified national army.


DRC to Participate at Upcoming Regional Meeting in Bujumbura
--------------------------------------------- ---------------

4. (U) Hamuli indicated that the DRC will attend the upcoming
meeting of national coordinators for the GLC in Bujumbura,
September 6-10. This will be the first regional meeting in
which each participating country will discuss its national
priorities with the goal of formulating a common agenda for
the conference. Hamuli noted that although the DRC had not
yet reached a consensus about its national agenda, it was
nonetheless prepared to discuss its preliminary findings. He
hopes that the DRC will be able to present its final agenda
by the next regional meeting, scheduled to take place in
Kinshasa in October.

5. (U) Hamuli explained that the current core members for the
GLC include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia,
and the DRC. He said that all core members except Rwanda and
Uganda had also agreed to include Angola and the Republic of
Congo as additional core members. The Netherlands and Canada
are the principal financial sponsors of this regional event.
Although Hamuli expressed a desire for greater U.S. support
for the conference, poloff reiterated post's previously
stated concerns over the vast scope of this conference and
the lack of a concise agenda.

Comment
-------

6. (U) Although the concept of a regional Great Lakes
conference to deal with peace, security, and economic
development issues is a positive initiative, legitimate
concerns remain over the wide range of topics the forum seeks
to cover. As suggested by initial feedback from civil society
groups, peace and security remain the main concerns for the
Congolese. The GDRC should attempt to use the limited time
left before the scheduled November GLC to focus on concrete
and realistic goals that can help improve national and
regional security.
MEECE

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