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Cablegate: Central African President Visits Drc, Promises To

VZCZCXRO5267
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1033 2430704
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 310704Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6773
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI 0012
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001033

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ETRD ECON CG CT
SUBJECT: CENTRAL AFRICAN PRESIDENT VISITS DRC, PROMISES TO
REOPEN BORDER


1. (U) Central African Republic (CAR) President Francois
Bozize promised to reopen the DRC-CAR border during an August
23-24 visit to Kinshasa. The 24-hour visit, which included a
one-hour meeting between Bozize and President Joseph Kabila,
focused on DRC-CAR cooperation and the reopening of the
border. Bozize characterized the two countries as having
"not a single cloud in our relations."

2. (U) The border between CAR and DRC was closed in 2002
after rebel forces of Jean-Pierre Bemba's Movement for the
Liberation of the Congo (MLC) "intervened" during Bozize's
rebellion against then-president of CAR Ange-Felix Patasse.
The CAR subsequently asked the International Criminal Court
(ICC) to investigate Bemba,s forces, which it alleged
committed numerous atrocities.

3. (U) Bozize said he had been waiting for the Congolese
army (FARDC) to establish a presence in the area before
reopening the border. (Note: The FARDC 10th Integrated
Brigade is headquartered in Gemena, Equateur Province, the
nearest major town to the border crossing at Zongo. End
note.)

4. (U) In response to a question raised at the press
conference before his departure, Bozize said the CAR had not
withdrawn its ICC complaint against Bemba. Bozize explained
that the ICC,s failure to look into the complaint thus far
was due to the "long time" needed by the ICC to gather all
the proof it needs to proceed.

5. (U) Comment: The CAR President is the latest high-level
guest from neighboring countries to visit Kinshasa. Although
DRC,s relations with the CAR are not as problematic as with
its eastern neighbors, Kabila undoubtedly has no objection to
Bozize keeping the heat on Bemba, who finished second in last
year's presidential elections. Opening the border to
legalized trade with the DRC may help stimulate economic
activity that benefits people on both sides of the frontier.
End comment.
BROCK

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