Cablegate: Highlights of Joint Monitoring Group

DE RUEHKI #1377/01 3521034
O 181034Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary. The Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) established by
the Congo-Rwanda Nairobi communique got off to a rocky start at its
first meeting December 15, but succeeded in reaffirming support for
the process and establishing follow-up mechanisms. A UN emphasis on
North Kivu and repeated off-agenda detours by Congolese delegates
prevented a focused discussion of the full agenda, but judicious
interventions by UN, U.S. and EU envoys helped resolve questions on
the scope of the communique and obligations of both parties. Most
significant: follow-up to Nairobi should focus on eliminating the
threat to the region posed by all armed groups, and decisions on how
and when to address groups based in Congolese territory. The JMG
agreed to meet again in January in New York prior to the scheduled
January 16-19 Contact Group meeting, and established an expert-level
task force to consider more detailed questions each week in Goma.
End summary.

2. (SBU) The first meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) for
the Congo-Rwanda Nairobi communique was held on December 15 in Goma.
The meeting was marred by several off-agenda detours, but
established common understandings on key points and reaffirmed both
parties' commitment to the process. UN Assistant Secretary General
Haile Menkerios chaired the meeting, with SRSG William Swing also
participating. Foreign Minister Mbusa Nyamwisi and Special Envoy
Richard Sezibera headed the Congolese and Rwandan delegations
respectively. Envoys from the U.S., EU, South Africa, AU and SADC,
as well as the secretariat of the International Conference on the
Great Lakes Region (IC/GLR), participated as JMG members, with other
P3+2 representatives (France, UK, Belgium) invited as observers.
U.S. representatives were Ambassador Garvelink and Tim Shortley, AF
Assistant Secretary Frazer's senior advisor for conflict resolution.

3. The UN's decision to lead off the meeting with extensive MONUC
and UN/OCHA presentations designed to spotlight its support of
Congolese military operations in North Kivu against the forces of
renegade FARDC General Laurent Nkunda and its support for some
800,000 North Kivu IDP's skewed the meeting from its stated focus on
implementation of the Nairobi communique. However, interventions by
Menkerios, Swing, AF Senior Adviser Tim Shortley and EU Special
Envoy Roeland van de Geer succeeded in achieving consensus that the
follow-up to Nairobi should focus on eliminating the threat to the
region posed by all armed groups, and that decisions on how and when
to address groups based in Congolese territory are the exclusive
right of the Congolese government. The group also agreed that the
revived bilateral Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM) should address
reports by both parties of breaches in the agreements.

4. (SBU) Addressing actions taken by the Congolese government to
implement the communique, Mbusa noted in a prepared statement that
it had submitted its FDLR plan by the December 1 target date, and
was working out a media campaign to gain public support. He
stressed, however, that Nkunda's recent actions had pushed back
eventual implementation of the FDLR plan. He said planning was
going forward on a regional conference on peace and development to
be held later in December. Mbusa acknowledged that presidential
adviser Seraphin Ngwej was properly the Congolese representative to
the JMG, but cited his own and Defense Minister Chikez Diemu's
presence as an indication of the importance of the issue. He spoke
little during the rest of the meeting, with Chikez and Ngwej,
neither of whom appeared to have prepared to address specific agenda
items, repeatedly hijacking the discussion on petty matters.

5. (SBU) Sezibera prefaced his summary of Rwandan follow-up actions
by emphasizing that "bilateral relations are getting better," and
praising the recent visit of 50 Congolese students to Rwanda and the
"positive role" of North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku, also in
attendance. He said the Rwandan government had stepped up efforts
to monitor and control its border and taken internal measures as
well to prevent Rwandan-based support to armed groups based in
Congo. He confirmed it was preparing a list of "genocidaires" for
submission before January 1 and had for some time had structures in
place, financed by the World Bank, to receive and to facilitate
re-integration of ex-FAR/Interahamwe fighters and their families
into Rwandan society. He also cited many public statements by
Foreign Minister Murighande in support of the Nairobi process.
(Comment: By contrast, similar public statements by senior
Congolese officials have been conspicuously lacking. End comment.)

6. (SBU) Several points of contention emerged during the meeting.
Attempts by Chikez and Ngwej to maneuver the group into a public
statement citing Nkunda as the sole reason for the province's
humanitarian crisis were met by a characterization by Sezibera that
ex-FAR/Interahamwe "is the object of the communique of Nairobi."

KINSHASA 00001377 002 OF 002

The issue was eventually - and deftly - resolved by Mbusa who turned
his own delegation's argument against itself by citing Sezibera's
(erroneous) contention of an exclusive focus for the agreement. He
said this focus - and by implication a similar one on Nkunda --
would harm the credibility of the process, arguing that Nairobi did
in fact aim to eliminate the threat from all armed groups.

7. (SBU) No delegates disagreed that timing of actions against
armed groups present on Congolese territory is up to the Congolese
government, nor argued against its recent military offensive against
Nkunda's forces. However, Menkerios stressed that it should take
steps to ensure no other groups move into areas that may be vacated
by Nkunda's forces. Sezibera noted that moving against Nkunda first
would not have been Rwanda's decision, but agreed that it was
Congo's right to do so. He said the ex-FAR/Interahamwe had been a
problem for 10 years, and will continue to be a problem if it is not
dealt with. Chikez disagreed that the group was in fact a threat.
"No one has been killed by the FDLR in the last four years," he had
claimed earlier in the meeting.

8. (SBU) Ngwej, in repeated interventions, complained that the
Congolese government was unable to go forward with its FDLR plan by
January 1 without the list of "genocidaires" promised in the
communique by the Rwandan government. Sezibera noted difficulties
in identifying true "genocidaires" from a list of some 700,000
suspects, and cautioned that, for legal reasons, its list could not
be regarded as definitive, since evidence may later emerge
implicating others not initially listed. Menkerios eventually
closed discussion by noting that the Congolese obligation to begin
the program January 1 should not be affected by the list, although
it could affect completion.

9. (SBU) The Congolese delegation accused Rwanda of infiltrations
into Congo by the Rwandan Republican Guard or by Rwandan nationals.
Mbusa noted in his opening statement that Congolese security
services had picked up several Rwandans in the Bunagana theatre of
operations, discovered Rwandans among pro-Nkunda troops reporting
for brassage, and arrested two members, with ID, of Rwandan
President Paul Kagame's Republic Guard in Bukavu. Sezibera
expressed surprise at hearing this information for the first time
during this meeting. He also noted that the Congolese government
had taken no action on detailed lists the Rwandan government had
provided of ex-FAR/Interahamwe members who had gone through brassage
and joined the Congolese military. Menkerios said the JVM was the
proper forum for addressing these complaints, and urged both parties
to make their cases there.

10. (SBU) To conclude the meeting, the JMG confirmed it would meet
monthly under a rotating chairmanship, with the next to take place
in New York prior to the January 16-19 Contact Group meeting in
Brussels. It agreed to form an expert-level task force which will
meet weekly in Goma; the first meeting should take place later this
week. Due to time constraints it was unable to discuss additional
resources needed to implement the communique, but invited Congo and
Rwanda to present lists in writing of their non-humanitarian
requirements for review by donors.

11. (SBU) Comment: Although a rocky start for the JMG, the meeting
succeeded in establishing buy-in by both parties to the process and
specific follow-up mechanisms. Third-party participants clearly
want to remain involved, and pitches for their support by both
Congolese and Rwandan delegates indicate both parties' awareness
that they can not resolve the issues on their own. End comment.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>