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Cablegate: Media Reaction On Joint Drc-Rwandan Communique

VZCZCXYZ0026
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLGB #1060 3191324
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151324Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4912
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KIGALI 001060

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO PINR PINS RW CG
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ON JOINT DRC-RWANDAN COMMUNIQUE


1. Rwandan media, taking their cue from senior GOR officials,
have given positive coverage of the Nairobi Joint Communique
on a common approach to end the threat posed to peace and
security in the Great Lakes Region. On Monday, November 12,
pro-government daily "New Times" ran under the headline
"Congo agrees to FDLR disarmament plan" a review of the
communique and commitments made by the DRC and Rwandan
governments. The same day Foreign Minister Charles Murigande
hosted a press conference for local media to discuss the
communique. Under the headline "Congo committed to fight
FDLR, the "New Times" on November 13 quoted Murigande as
stating that a "new era" in Congolese-Rwandan relations was
starting. Murigande reportedly went on to say that "In the
(Nairobi) meeting I witnessed a change in attitude and
language on the part of Congolese officials...a new era is
starting in which DRC will not tolerate any of its officers
to work with a force declared the enemy of the state."
Murigande was, the story continued, optimistic that the
Congolese government would rein in military officers accused
of collaborating with the FDLR. News coverage on public and
private radio stations, while more cursory, also reflected
the Foreign Minister's upbeat assessment of the agreement.
Murigande made similar comments during an interview with
VOA's Francophone service broadcast on November 12.

2. The upbeat press coverage and comments by senior GOR
officials following the Nairobi meeting are a decided
contrast to media coverage during October of alleged DRC
collusion with the FDLR and GOR dismissal of the DRC's draft
plan for disarming the group. Throughout the month, the "New
Times" provided extensive coverage to allegations of official
DRC-FDLR collusion, including interviews with FDLR soldiers
allegedly captured by Congolese rebel general Laurent Nkunda
during fighting with FARDC units, and human rights abuses
allegedly committed by the FARDC, FDLR, and other rebel
groups. The paper also carried an op-ed by Rwandan Special
Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Ambassador Richard Sezibera,
on collaboration between the FARDC and FDLR.

3. Comment: The GOR's strong public support for the Nairobi
agreement and praise for the DRC's changed attitude appears
to reflect an effort by the GOR to meet its commitment to
publicize the contents of the joint communique and to refrain
from any negative propaganda against the DRC. End comment.
ARIETTI

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