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Cablegate: Tripartite Plus Meeting Read-Out

DE RUEHKM #1486/01 2681344
R 251344Z SEP 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: The Tripartite Plus meeting in Kampala
from September 15-17 followed several significant bilateral
meetings between member states. Progess on action against
the negative forces remained slow, but the Democratic
Republic of Congo and MONUC presented the outlines of their
plans to deal with the negative forces. Uganda's insistence
on placing the names of the People's Redemption Army (PRA) on
the Common Most Wanted List continued to block progress on
development of a fully approved list. Representatives from
Rwanda and the DRC engaged in a heated exchange of
accusations regarding support for the negative forces, but
agreed to revitalize the Joint Verification Commission to
check into assurances given by both sides. Burundi will host
the next Tripartite Plus meeting at a date to be determined
during the last two weeks of February 2008. End Summary.

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2. (SBU) Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Swan briefed
members of the diplomatic community on September 17 on the
proceedings and outcomes of the Tripartite Plus Commission
held in Kampala from September 15-17. Ambassadors Browning
and Leader and Senior Special Advisor Tim Shortley joined
him. DAS Swan noted that since the beginning of the
Tripartite Plus process in October 2004, dialogue between the
member states had substantially increased and qualitatively
improved. In particular, recent meetings between senior
officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda and
Uganda have helped reduce tensions and further discussions on
important security issues at the bilateral level.
Nonetheless, member states appear frustrated on the pace of
progress on removing negative forces and were particularly
disappointed in MONUC's slow progress on addressing these
threat. With the exception of a brief heated exchange
between Congolese Ambassador Nwegje and Rwandan Ambassador
Sezibera, the tenor of the discussions in Kampala was civil.

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3. (SBU) There will be several issues requiring follow-up in
the coming months. On September 25, the Chiefs of Defense
Staff meeting will focus on making the CHODS planning cell
operational and convert Joint Planning Cell recommendations
into action. The Congolese will present a detailed briefing
in Kisangani on the combined planning between the Congolese
armed forces and MONUC. The meeting to launch the Joint
Planning Cell was set to take place in Kisangani on September
20. Congo and Rwanda agreed to convene a Joint Verification
Commission to meet on September 21 in Goma. Legal teams will
meet in Bukavu from October 29-31. The Foreign Ministers
signed a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
regarding MONUC's role and mandate to engage the negative
forces. They will request a meeting with the UNSG to present
the letter during the U.N. General Assembly meetings. The
member states agreed to formalize diplomatic relations with
each other by September 2008. Uganda and Congo agreed to
ratify the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region
Pact by the end of December 2007. An evaluation of the
Tripartite Plus process will convene in Goma on November 1 to
discuss gaps. Participants will identify elements of
agreements not implemented and produce detailed action plans
for implementation.

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4. (SBU) There was consensus and concern among Tripartite
Plus countries that the security environment in eastern Congo
had deteriorated since the last meeting in June. Congo
expressed concern with the role of ex-General Laurent Nknunda
in contributing to the destabilization. Rwanda was concerned
about increased re-armament and military activity of
ex-FAR-Interahamwe in eastern Congo. A heated discussion
between Congo and Rwanda occurred between Ambassadors
Seraphin Ngwej and Richard Sezibera over these issues. Ngwej
accused Rwanda of supporting dissident General Laurent
Nkunda. Sezibera accused the Congolese army of collaborating
with the FDLR to attack Nkunda. The exchange was direct.
Congo demanded an apology from Rwanda; Rwanda refused to
apologize. Congo went on the record to state that its forces
were not collaborating with the FDLR. Rwanda stated that it
was not supporting Nkunda. Rwanda stated that Nkunda was a
Congolese matter to be dealt with by Congo as a sovereign
matter. Rwanda had its own views on the validity of Nkunda's
claims, but said it would respect whatever Congo wanted to do
to deal with Nkunda. Rwandan Foreign Minister Murigande
repeated this viewpoint at the press conference. Congo and
Rwanda decided to revitalize the Joint Verification
Commission to verify the assurances given by both

KAMPALA 00001486 002 OF 002

governments. The JVC would convene on September 21.

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5. (SBU) The People's Redemption Army (PRA) issue continued
to frustrate efforts to agree on a Common Most Wanted List.
Uganda refused proposals to put forward the names of
individuals that had no objections on the list. Rwanda
argued that the PRA is not a meaningful threat to Uganda.
All technical attempts to deal with the PRA issue failed.
Rwanda suggested the dropping of the Common Most Wanted List
altogether, arguing that the negative forces and their
leaders were known in the region. DAS Swan said that it
appeared that a high level political discussion was needed to
overcome the blockage.

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6. (SBU) Member states were eager for action against the
negative forces. Congo introduced its plan to deal with the
negative forces. The plan was based on the need to move
forward with "brassage" as a means to strengthen the capacity
of the Congolese armed forces. Brassage could be completed
in March or April 2007. Congo clarified that completion of
brassage was not a prerequisite for taking action against the
negative forces. Some action could be taken with newly
integrated units after they receive training. There was
consensus on continuing the Tripartite Plus framework because
it provided for frequent focus on the negative forces and
regular U.S. involvement.

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7. (SBU) The atmospherics of the meeting were good and a
number of follow-up activities were scheduled. The next
Tripartite Plus meeting will be held in Bujumbura, Burundi
during the last two weeks of February 2008.

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