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Cablegate: President Kabila's December 20 Meeting

VZCZCXRO9893
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1409/01 3610600
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270600Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7297
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001409

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS MARR PHUM PREF KPKO CG

SUBJECT: PRESIDENT KABILA'S DECEMBER 20 MEETING
WITH P-3 PLUS 2 AMBASSADORS AND MONUC

1. (SBU) President Joseph Kabila received the P-3 plus 2
ambassadors/charges at his residence on December 20. The meeting
was called with 15 minutes' notice, officially in response to a
request made several weeks earlier to discuss military operations in
North Kivu. Topics covered included the fighting in North Kivu, the
upcoming Kivus conference on Peace, Stability and Development, human
rights, and the November 10 Nairobi commmunique. The meeting was
largely unremarkable except for interventions by Defense Minister
Chikez Diemu, whose criticisms of the UK ambassador and MONUC were
personal and impolitic. Another surprise was a statement by the
South African charge that a special envoy sent recently to North
Kivu to negotiate Nkunda's exile had been arrested by Congolese
authorities and then taken to Kinshasa before he was released.
Kabila apologized for the mistake and asked for better coordination
in the future. End summary.

2. (SBU) At 4:45 pm on December 20, P-3 plus 2 ambassadors were
summoned to the President Kabila's office at the presidential
residence for a meeting at 5:00 pm. The meeting, which did not
begin until 5:45, was attended by the ambassadors of the U.S.,
Belgium, and the UK, and by the charges d'affaires of South Africa
and France. SRSG William Swing, in Goma, was represented by MONUC's
acting polchief. In addition to Kabila, GDRC participants included
Defense Minister Chikez Diemu, Interior Minister Denis Kalume,
Foreign Affairs Minister Antipas Mbusa, Presidential Chief of Staff
Raymond Tshibanda, and presidential foreign affairs advisor
Marcellin Chissambo.

3. (SBU) Note: The meeting had been requested by SRSG Swing on
behalf of the P-3 plus 2 in early December, shortly after the GDRC
launched a military offensive against Nkunda. Just prior to the
meeting participants decided that, in Swing's absence, Belgian
ambassador Johann Swinnen, the most senior among the three
ambassadors present, would open the meeting (Swing's role) with a
short statement on behalf of the P-3 plus 2. End note.

4. (SBU) Kabila began, explaining that his very busy schedule had
prevented him from holding the meeting until now. He then invited
ambassadors to speak. Swinnen went through a list of "concerns"
since the group last met, in Goma, in November. He mentioned the
fighting in Kivu, the Kivus Conference, the Nairobi communique, and
human rights and impunity. With regard to human rights, he praised
the November 24 "Day Against Gender Based Violence" in Bukavu that
was organized by MONUC and the GDRC and hosted by First Lady Olive
Kabila.

5. UK ambassador spoke next, expressing support for the views put
forward by Swinnen and asking if, given recent setbacks in the fight
against Nkunda, the GDRC would be able to undertake a military
campaign against the FDLR by March 15 pursuant to its commitments
under the Nairobi communique. U.S. ambassador voiced strong support
for the Kivus Conference and congratulated GDRC for the decision to
use this approach as a way to resolve the conflict in the eastern
Congo. French charge endorsed the holding of the Conference, and
affirmed his government's willingness to support it. He also asked
for greater information about the toll on the civilian population
resulting from recent fighting in North Kivu. MONUC rep noted that
his organization was prepared to support the Conference with
logistics and security arrangements.

6. Kabila summarized participants' concerns: (1) military
developments; (2) the Kivus Conference: and (3) the humanitarian
crisis. On military developments, Kabila noted that although a
decision had been made to move forward with the Conference, the
military option "remained on the table." Hence, the FARDC continued
to send reinforcements and to re-supply its troops. He stated that
in furtherance of its commitments in Nairobi, the GRDC had put
forward a plan on the FDLR, including awareness-raising and
cantonment by January 15, and military action by March 15. GDRC
commitment to Nairobi had not changed, he asserted.

7. (SBU) On the Conference, Kabila noted that plans to hold the
event were stuck for a long time, acknowledging that much time had
been lost. He briefly reviewed the Conference's three themes --
peace, stability, and development -- noting that great progress was
being made to adequately address all three themes. He ended by
noting that just prior to the P-3 plus 2 meeting he had signed the
executive order convening the Conference. He then asked Interior
Minister Kalume to brief participants on the Conference. Kalume
went into detail on the history of the Conference idea but provided
little detail on current plans for the event. When pressed for
specifics, he would not address cost estimates, numbers of persons
expected to attend, meeting format, etc. as these matters were the

KINSHASA 00001409 002 OF 002


domain of the Technical Committee.

8. (SBU) Defense Minister Chikez spoke next. Visibly upset and
barely able to control his anger, he launched a personal attack
against the British ambassador who had "dared" to ask if the GDRC
was still able to launch an attack against the FDLR come March 15.
Chikez asserted that the FDLR had not attacked once in four years
and that the only problem in North Kivu was Nkunda, supported by
Rwanda, the same country whose oppression had created the problem of
the FDLR. He said the UK ambassador had no compassion for the
people of North Kivu and had shown callous disregard for the brave
soldiers of the FARDC. He also attacked MONUC, claiming that DPKO
officials in New York had ordered MONUC to withhold support for the
FDLR in its fight against Nkunda despite promises given to the GDRC
that it would take offensive action against Nkunda. "MONUC has to
be courageous," he stated. (Note: At a breakfast with the U.S.
ambassador the following morning Chikez was only slightly contrite,
asserting that the British had never cared about the interests of
the Congolese people. End note.)

9. (SBU) Foreign Minister Mbusa then addressed diplomatic
developments. He referred to meetings in New York, Nairobi, and
Addis Ababa, noting that great progress had been made over the past
few months. "We are near a solution" he stated several times,
emphasizing that the Government had high expectations for the
upcoming Conference. He also praised the international community
for its efforts and asked for continued support.

10. (SBU) The South African charge asked Kabila if the GDRC was
still willing to allow Nkunda to go into exile. He said the
question was important because a special South African envoy who had
traveled recently (no dates were given) to Goma to negotiate an
exile agreement with Nkunda had been arrested and brought to
Kinshasa for interrogation. Kabila replied that exile was still an
option apologized for the "misunderstanding," asking that the South
African Government coordinate with his government its overtures to
Nkunda the next time its sends a special envoy to the DRC. (Note:
The South African diplomat's revelations caused surprise, as others
present apparently had not heard about this incident. End note.)

11. (SBU) As the meeting ended the issue of attendance at the
Conference was raised. Kabila stated emphatically that Nkunda's
political organization (the CNDP) would be officially invited to the
Conference, but that Nkunda himself would not be allowed to attend.
"He will be arrested the moment he sets foot in Goma," Kabila
stated. Kabila also made clear that the Conference was for
Congolese citizens only, thereby dismissing out of hand FDLR
participation.

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