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Cablegate: Un Small Arms Destruction Day in Kinshasa

VZCZCXRO4430
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0824 1980812
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170812Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6536
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000824

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM PGOV KHDP CG
SUBJECT: UN SMALL ARMS DESTRUCTION DAY IN KINSHASA

REF: KINSHASA 680

1. (U) The Ambassador marked the UN's Small Arms Destruction
Day with a speech at the Congolese military's Central
Logistics Base (CLB) July 9 at an event organized by the NGO
Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to commemorate the destruction of
more than one million small arms and light weapons (SALW)
worldwide. The event also included a tour of weapons
storerooms and a demonstration of SALW destruction. Congolese
and UN military officers, as well as other diplomatic, NGO,
and media representatives, also participated.

2. (U) The Ambassador's remarks emphasized USG leadership in
arms reduction world-wide. He noted that Embassy Kinshasa
provided USD 1.1 million in 2006 for MAG operations in the
DRC, making possible the destruction of approximately 5,000
superflous SALWs. He also announced that the USG intends to
provide an additional USD 1 million to MAG in 2007 as it
extends its work throughout the country.

3. (U) Participants were given tours of two storerooms
holding SALWs awaiting destruction. The tours marked the
first time civilians have been permitted to enter these
areas. The MAG-SALW Program Director called this testimony to
the transparency that MAG's work encourages. The event
concluded with the destruction of a symbolic "millionth
weapon."

4. (U) MAG, a London-based NGO, has played a key role in DRC
security sector reform (SSR) since July 2004 by reducing the
number of SALWs circulating throughout the country. MAG
reported that it has seen "considerable expansion" within the
past year thanks to USG support and become the largest
humanitarian organization specializing in landmine, weapons,
and arms clearance in the country. It cleared over 55,000
such items in 2006 and, in the past four months alone,
destroyed over 27,800 arms in the DRC, primarily in Kinshasa,
Mbandaka, Ikela, and Lumbubashi. Its work has been especially
vital to securing parts of Mbandaka following a weapons depot
explosion in mid-June which left five people dead and over 50
injured (reftel).

5. (U) Comment: This event served as a key opportunity to
highlight the USG's continuing support of arms reduction
throughout the world and underscored Embassy Kinshasa's
support in professionalizing the Congolese military. It
received extensive positive coverage in the local media. End
comment.
MEECE

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