Cablegate: Scenesetter for the Visit of Drl Assistant Secretary David


DE RUEHKI #0733/01 2491248
O 051248Z SEP 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is
grappling with fundamental governance, security and development
challenges following historic 2006 national elections. The promise
of peace and democratization and the importance of the DRC as the
linchpin of Central Africa and beyond have made it one of the
Department's top seven priority assistance countries in Africa.
However, continued widespread insecurity only amplifies a political
and judicial vacuum throughout the country, contributing to a
pervasive climate of impunity in which armed men routinely abuse
civilians, particularly women and children. There are clear signs
the population is growing impatient with the pace of the
government's efforts and skeptical that democracy can solve the
country's problems. Your visit will reaffirm U.S. commitment to a
long partnership with the Congolese people to develop democratic
institutions and reinforce our shared objective of a peaceful and
prosperous DRC.

2. (SBU) The Mission's overriding goals focus on reinforcing
Congolese political will and capacity for robust and effective
leadership and oversight at all levels of government, while
promoting broad economic development. Together with Washington and
other diplomatic missions, we will identify and engage key
decision-makers and implement results-oriented initiatives to
support transparent governance, legislative accountability, judicial
independence, political pluralism and provincial and local autonomy.
Our assistance programs focus on enhancing security, fighting
poverty, and supporting democratic reforms -- fully supporting and
reflecting the transformational diplomacy goals laid out by
Secretary Rice. Foreign assistance resources for the DRC are
increasing. The FY 2006 bilateral foreign assistance budget for DRC
programs totaled $68 million, including funds received from central
accounts but excluding humanitarian assistance. Amounts for FY 2007
rose to $71 million (with supplemental funding), and rose again in
FY 2008 to over $150 million (also including supplemental funding),
including increases for peace and security (including military
cooperation), governing justly and democratically, health, HIV/AIDS,
education, and economic growth programs. Humanitarian assistance
has provided an additional $80 million per year on average during
this period. Amounts for FY 2007 rose to $71 million (with
supplemental funding), and rose again in FY 2008 to over $150
million (also including supplemental funding), including increases
for peace and security (including military cooperation), governing
justly and democratically, health, HIV/AIDS, education, and economic
growth programs. Humanitarian assistance has provided an additional
$80 million per year on average during this period. This, however,
does not reveal the full story: total U.S. assistance, including
our contribution of approximately $300 million to MONUC plus
significant donations to other international organizations, are
likely to bring our total assistance levels to the DRC this year to
more than $600 million. End summary.

Democracy and Governance

3. (SBU) The Congolese people had high expectations that the
democratic process would improve their lives. New institutions,
however, have been slow to generate momentum. The 500-member
National Assembly counts only a small number of members with
legislative or government experience. The
Assembly and the 106-member Senate have only begun to consider a
heavy agenda of major legislation. Parties and candidates aligned
with Kabila's electoral coalition, the Alliance for the Presidential
Majority (AMP), have working majorities in the National Assembly and
Senate, as well as eight of 11 provincial assemblies and ten of 11
governorships -- leaving the opposition with little apparent
political clout. Provincial officials are unfamiliar with
decentralized authority and lack resources, money and experience.
Elections for local and municipal officials are tentatively
scheduled for mid-2009 at the earliest.

4. (SBU) USG governance and institutional reform programs, budgeted
at $18.6 million for FY 2008, focus on combating corruption and
human rights abuses, developing independent judicial and legislative
institutions, facilitating decentralization of state authority, and
supporting local elections. Objectives include long-term
transformation, as well as direct citizen access to services. USAID
has provided assistance to National Assembly deputies drafting key
legislative proposals, including laws relating to the financing of
political parties, decentralization, the establishment of a national
election commission and the protection of human rights. In
addition, USAID has conducted capacity-building seminars for
National Assembly deputies and staffers, supported the creation of
provincial watchdog and advocacy groups to encourage citizen
participation in democratic processes, and worked to develop skills
of political party members, foster grassroots anti-corruption
initiatives, and establish mobile courts and legal aid clinics.

Human Rights and Gender-Based Violence

5. (SBU) Security forces and armed groups remain responsible for
most human rights violations in the DRC, including unlawful
killings, disappearances, torture, rape and arbitrary arrest and
detention. Human rights advocates have extensively documented the
involvement of these elements in such abuses.
Constitutionally-protected freedoms of association, speech, and
protest are increasingly disregarded by security and administrative
authorities using vague Mobutu and colonial-era laws to arrest and
detain perceived critics. The Embassy is working with NGOs and
other diplomatic missions to encourage Parliament to bring these
laws into line with the 2006 constitution.

6. (SBU) Sexual violence against women and girls in eastern DRC is
pervasive. While most of the recorded attacks have been by armed
groups and the FARDC, reports of rape by civilians is increasingly
prevalent. A general climate of impunity does nothing to discourage
these acts. In a recent report, the UN Human Rights Integrated
Office in the DRC (UNHRO) stated that, despite strengthened laws on
sexual violence, "law enforcement personnel and magistrates continue
to treat rape and sexual violence in general with a marked lack of
seriousness. Consequently, men accused of rape are often granted
bail or given relatively light sentences, and out-of-court
settlements of sexual violence cases are widespread." In fact,
relatively few cases are reported to the police, and fewer still
result in prosecution.

7. (SBU) USAID and the Departments of State and Defense support
activities to respond to and prevent sexual violence through a
variety of interventions in the eastern provinces. Since 2002,
USAID has allocated more than $10 million for activities to combat
gender-based violence in the Eastern DRC. In FY 2008, USAID is
programming $1.5 million to continue its holistic program of care
and support for rape survivors and other victims of sexual abuse.
The Defense Institute for International Legal Studies (DIILS) taught
two three-week training sessions on the investigation of sex crimes
in 2008 to nearly all 350 of the FARDC military magistrates and
police investigators with investigatory and adjudicatory roles. The
program, funded through PKO monies, sponsored sessions in eight
different sites across the country, and received laudatory comments
from the international community. A follow-up proposal for
additional DIILS training is currently under review.

Peace and Security

8. (SBU) The Congolese military (FARDC) faces internal and external
challenges. The USG and other partners are committed to seeing
through progress in this area, though the pace of reform has been
slow. DRC plans for reform of the military, police, and justice
sectors lack a sense of priorities and appear to be little more than
laundry lists to which donors are expected to pledge. In August
2008 the DRC launched another round of technical roundtables in each
of the following sectors: formation of a Rapid Reaction Force;
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR); and the
situation in the east.

9. (SBU) USG assistance to the DRC security services aims to make
an impact in the country. $20 million in FY 2008 PKO funds is
projected for the training of an infantry battalion. FY 2008 ESF
Supplemental resources and FY 2008 National Defense Authorization
Act (NDAA) Section 1207 resources provide support for stabilization,
security sector reform, and military justice strengthening efforts.
We have used PKO funds to rehabilitate the officer training
institute and provide training for staff officers and military
magistrates and investigators. The International Military and
Education Training Program (IMET) funds U.S.-based courses that
include English-language training. INCLE (International Law
Enforcement and Control) funds from the Department of State's Bureau
of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) are
being allocated to stand up the Congolese border police in Ituri
District. The Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related
Projects appropriation - "NADR" -pays for the destruction of
obsolete ordnance. In addition, the $300 million in U.S. funding
for MONUC now also supports its new FARDC training program, designed
to assist the military plus up its capabilities in the context of
its operations in the east.

10. (SBU) MONUC is of course also heavily involved in this area.
One key aspect of MONUC's activities involves what is known as the
"stabilization plan," which aims to lay the groundwork for the
mission's eventual and orderly withdrawal, particularly from the
east. The plan is supported by an assistance package for
implementation, and consists of four principal components: a
security component, by which armed groups are disbanded through a
combination of political and military means; a political component,
which involves GDRC political actors advancing the peace processes;
a state authority component, by which institutions such as the
police, judiciary, and other elements of public administration are

strengthened; and a return and reintegration component, which aims
to aid and resettle ex-combatants, refugees, and internally
displaced persons in local communities.

Economic Issues

11. (SBU) The GDRC is working to implement the Poverty
Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approved in mid-2006 by the IMF and
World Bank boards. The government's five-year program, approved by
the National Assembly in February 2007, is based on the PRSP and
focuses heavily on President
Kabila's five priority areas: infrastructure; employment;
education; water/electricity; and health. Economic growth will
depend on progress in these areas. In early 2008 the GDRC concluded
a major agreement with the Chinese government. Though not all
details have been made public, the GDRC announced that it will
exchange over 8 million tons of copper and over 200,000 tons of
cobalt for an estimated $6 billion in Chinese-funded infrastructure
projects, including roads, railway, universities, hospitals, housing
and clinics. China will also spend an estimated $3 billion in the
mining sector on as-yet-unnamed mining concessions. China is
exploring other possible "infrastructure for natural resources"
deals with the DRC.

12. (SBU) The USG is an active participant in the international
donors' Country Assistance Framework (CAF) process for 2007-10,
designed to align assistance strategies and support GDRC efforts to
implement the PRSP. Bilateral USG foreign assistance funding for
economic growth is modest, with only $8 million designated for
activities to increase agricultural productivity, although this is
supplemented by a $30 million, three-year Food for Peace program to
help spur rural development. USAID has active global development
alliances with mining, agro-business and health partners. In
addition, USAID has an existing public-private partnership (Global
Development Alliance) with the American mining company Freeport
McMoRan, and USAID and the British Department for International
Development (DFID) are collaborating on efforts to develop new
public-private partnerships with several important companies in the
copper sector and help the GDRC implement the Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative (EITI).

The Scene Today

13. (SBU) Your arrival comes at a moment of continued tension, as
well as continued hope. The Congolese people look to their
government, and the international community, for help to bring an
end to the endemic abuses and conflicts in their country that have
cost billions of dollars, uprooted hundreds of thousands of people
and resulted in millions of deaths. Despite some progress, an
atmosphere of widespread insecurity persists, contributing to a
political and judicial vacuum in which women and children are
routinely abused, and in which the perpetrators go unpunished.
There are clear signs the population is growing impatient with the
pace of the government's efforts and skeptical that democracy can
solve its problems. In this environment, we ask you to help us to
reinforce the following messages:

-- The Congolese people rightly expect responsible leadership at
home, as well as supportive international partners. We will
continue to support the new leadership to develop transparent
practices, establish good governance for the well-being of the
Congolese people, and improve the stewardship of its abundant
natural resources.

-- Congo has taken remarkable strides to replace war with peaceful
democratic change. The United States is eager to see that momentum
continue. A large part of such momentum consists in addressing the
continued impunity with which certain elements of the Congolese
state, particularly the security forces, abuse the citizenry.

-- The USG is particularly concerned by the extent of abuses, to
include gender-based violence, in eastern Congo. Connected to this
is the necessity to see the Nairobi and Goma processes through. The
USG strongly supports both processes and are contributing funds and
expertise to ensure their success will bring lasting peace and
stability to the region.

-- We continue to push for the passage of key legislation that will
form a key part of the DRC's democratization agenda, to include laws
related to the judiciary and the decriminalization of press


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