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Cablegate: Kabila and Bemba Hold First Post-Election Meeting

VZCZCXRO3644
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1725 3121726
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081726Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5131
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001725

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM CG ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: KABILA AND BEMBA HOLD FIRST POST-ELECTION MEETING

REF: A. KINSHASA 1439
B. KINSHASA 1707

1. (U) Presidential candidates Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre
Bemba met November 7 for the first time since the October 29
run-off vote. The meeting, at the Presidential Palace in
Kinshasa, was only the second time the two have been seen in
public together since the August 20-22 shootout between their
supporters. They last met on September 13 (ref A).

2. (U) The discussion was private, and neither spoke to the
press afterward. Kinshasa newspaper accounts described the
meeting as cordial, with front-page pictures of Kabila and
Bemba shaking hands afterward.

3. (U) A statement released by Kabila's spokesman later in
the day stated the two candidates discussed the progress of
the vote count and the overall electoral process. It said
both will respect the "verdict of the ballot boxes" and
called in the name of both candidates on the Congolese people
to remain calm and refrain from any acts of violence. It
promised additional meetings between the two before and after
announcement of results.

4. (U) This meeting, like the one in September, was preceded
by visits to both candidates by foreign dignitaries. The four
African ex-presidents who met with them November 4-5 had
encouraged them to meet face-to-face to discuss measures to
maintain a smooth post-election period (ref B). Their
September 13 meeting followed visits by African and European
diplomats only days before

5. (SBU) Comment: The Kabila-Bemba encounter is a positive
step in creating conditions whereby both candidates -- and
their camps -- peacefully accept the announcement of
provisional election results. The general population is also
likely to be reassured by the publicized meeting. While
holding a one-on-one meeting had been discussed for some
while, the recent visit by the four African ex-presidents was
likely a contributing factor in bringing the two candidates
together. End comment.
MEECE

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