Cablegate: Kinshasa Hosts Great Lakes Conference Preparatory

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



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary. National coordinators for the Great Lakes
Conference (GLC) held their second preparatory meeting in
Kinshasa from October 19-23. The core group of seven members
was enlarged to eleven with the addition of Sudan, the
Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, and Angola.
President Kabila addressed the meeting to convey full DRC
support for the GLC process. Participants adopted a tentative
statement of principles for the Dar-es-Salam summit scheduled
for November 19-20. End Summary.

Kinshasa Hosts Regional Preparatory Meeting

2. (U) Kinshasa hosted the second meeting of national
coordinators for the Great Lakes Conference (GLC) from
October 19 to the 23rd. The GLC will meet in Dar-es-Salam on
November 19 and 20th, and it will address four main areas;
peace and security, good governance and democracy, economic
development and regional integration, and humanitarian and
social issues. This conference is being coordinated by the UN
SRSG for the Great Lakes Region Ibrahima Fall, with support
from the European Union and the African Union and financing
from the Netherlands and Canada.

3. (U) The Kinshasa meeting included representatives from the
original seven core members (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda,
Burundi, Uganda, Zambia, and the DRC) and the new four
members (Sudan, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo,
and Angola) who will enjoy the same status as the original
members. President Kabila gave a speech on the opening day of
the meeting which signaled the DRC's full commitment to the
GLC. SRSG Fall and DRC national Coordinator, Baudouin Hamuli,
led the meetings and working sessions.

4. (SBU) Congolese sources present at the Kinshasa meeting
expressed satisfaction with the results, which included a
preliminary declaration of principles to be signed by the
heads of state at Dar-es-Salam. Participating members also
presented their tentative agendas, which they will continue
to refine during their next meeting of national coordinators
scheduled for November 8-10 in Kampala. According to these
sources, an important development was improved relations
between the Rwandan and the DRC delegations. They noted that
the U.S. sponsored tripartite talks among Rwanda, Uganda, and
the DRC had also helped build confidence and had been
specifically mentioned at the meeting as a positive
initiative that the GLC process would support.

GLC: A Process Rather than an Event

5. (SBU) Hamuli told poloff October 26 that participants
envisioned the GLC as a process that had already started,
rather than as a one-time event in Dar es Salaam. In his
view, the coordinating meetings in Bujumbura and Kinshasa had
lessened regional tensions improved communication among the
members, and served as confidence-building forums for the
eventual summits. He noted that the Dar-es-Salam conference
will adopt principles, which national commissions will then
try to implement with concrete measures during the ensuing
six months. Another summit of heads of state will then take
place in June 2005.

6. (SBU) Hamuli said President Kabila will attend the
Dar-es-Salam summit along with heads of state of all other 10
members. UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo, and high level delegations from the
European Union, the African Union, the World Bank, the
African Development Bank, Canada and The Netherlands are also
expected to attend the GLC summit.


7. (SBU) The Kinshasa preparatory meeting for the GLC
provided an opportunity to the DRC to play a more prominent
role in this regional initiative. Kabila's participation also
signaled a stronger DRC commitment to this process -- a
change from prior ambivalence about the GLC, motivated by
suspicion over Rwanda's intentions. To the extent that the
Kinshasa meeting and the overall GLC process help build
regional confidence and improved communication channels, they
can be seen as a positive steps. Nonetheless, the broad
agenda and enlarged membership will make it more difficult
for the GLC to achieve concrete results. Moreover, it remains
to be seen whether national commissions will be able to turn
general principles on peace and security, economic
development and regional integration, democracy and good
governance, and humanitarian and social issues into practical
regional initiatives. End Comment.

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