Cablegate: Kabila Reaffirms Commitment to Amani Process

DE RUEHKI #0759/01 2590939
O 150939Z SEP 08



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Kabila reaffirms commitment to Amani Process
at September 14 Goma meeting with ambassadors

1. (SBU) Summary: President Kabila came for an infrequent visit to
Goma September 13 following CNDP's unilateral declaration of
withdrawal and summoned P-5 ambassadors for a tour d'horizon
September 14. Kabila was clear in his support for the Amani process
which, it was announced at the meeting, has been extended for one
year. He regretted recent anti-MONUC actions by the populace and
stated that MONUC had his complete support. He said he wanted
immediate action on disengagement and put the burden of getting CNDP
on board entirely with the international facilitation. He said
disengagement lines should be placed where forces were now located
(implying that FARDC would not withdraw from positions FARDC
occupies in the Rutshuru buffer zone). He said he wanted to
continue to build military pressure on FDLR, but combating CNDP was
the priority. Earlier, EU Special Envoy van de Geer had a testy
call from Nkunda, who said he was not interested in participation in
talks with the FARDC or government, and would "think about" a
face-to-face meeting with van de Geer. Nkunda asked for an inquiry
into FDLR atrocities at Ngungu, where MONUC plans an operation to
drive out PARECO/FDLR on September 15. End Summary.

2. (SBU) President Kabila arrived in Goma September 13 for the
first time in many months, buoyed by MONUC's military actions
against CNDP and CNDP's unilateral withdrawal from areas occupied
September 5-11. He summoned SRSG Doss, Force Commander Gaye, EU
Special Envoy van de Geer, and ambassadors from U.S., Russia, China,
and Tanzania (for the AU), as well as EU resident rep for a meeting
September 14. France and UK were represented at the level of Charge
d'Affaires. (Note: Noticeably absent was a representative from
Belgium; a diplomatic contact told us the Congolese invited the P-5,
instead of the more usual P-3+2, as a way to exclude the former
colonial power. End note.) GDRC attendees included National
Assembly President Kamerhe, Minister of Interior Kalume, Minister of
Defense Chikez, Advisors Tshibanda and Chissambo, Amani Coordinator
Malu Malu, North Kivu Governor Paluku, Chief of Army Staff Kayembe,
Advisor Ngwej, Joint Commission Co-Chair Etumba, FARDC eastern
forces commander General Lukama, and humanitarian advisor Machako.
In typical style, Kabila avoided a bold or clear policy statement,
instead turning to his advisors and to Doss and van de Geer for a
round-up before making his own comments.

Amani Process extended for one year

3. (SBU) Malu Malu spoke first, giving a review of the history of
the Amani program. He lamented that it had bogged down but said it
had showed promise of life August 26 when CNDP had attended meetings
of the Joint Technical Commission. The Commission had agreed to
establish ad hoc working groups on disengagement, but the North Kivu
group was stillborn with the outbreak of fighting August 28 (for
which Malu Malu entirely blamed CNDP), as CNDP had once again
boycotted the proceedings. Malu Malu said that the Amani program
had been formally renewed for one year by decree signed earlier in
the day.

4. (SBU) Etumba gave his own review of Amani, firmly pinning blame
on CNDP but noting that the FRF in South Kivu had come on board and
that the South Kivu working group had made progress. Machako gave a
disjointed presentation on the humanitarian consequences of the
recent fighting, claiming there were 150,000 new or re-displaced
IDP's (OCHA puts the figure at 90-100,000).

5. (SBU) SRSG Doss said that every crisis could present an
opportunity: the present outbreak, with MONUC's response, could
provide the opportunity for progress on disengagement. He urged all
sides to return their forces to previous positions (i.e., to include
FARDC), and he urged greater flexibility and imagination on the part
of FARDC (i.e., in particular, Etumba). He said that Nairobi was as
important as Goma and it was essential that the government not
relent in putting increasing pressure on FDLR. He urged pursuit of
an energized DDR program for non-contact armed groups.

EU Special Envoy met September 13 with CNDP

6. (SBU) Van de Geer focused his remarks on the CNDP, noting that
the special envoys had not had a face-to-face meeting with Nkunda in
two months. He said the facilitation team had met a middle-grade
CNDP team (note: for four and a half hours) the previous day at
Kimoka. There, he said, he had made three proposals: (1) CNDP to
engage in direct military-to-military talks with FARDC to begin
September 14 (note: Van de Geer told CNDP that General Lukama said
he would be willing to go to Kimoka); (2) CNDP to go back to
meetings of the ad hoc working groups and Joint Commission, as early
as September 15; and (3) Nkunda to meet van de Geer and the
facilitation team within the next three days. The CNDP team in

KINSHASA 00000759 002.2 OF 003

response, he said, had been lukewarm on the first, negative on the
second, and noncommittal on the third. Van de Geer conveyed the
demands made by the CNDP team: release of 68 claimed new prisoners
arrested in Goma since August 28 plus action on the list of
prisoners previously presented to the government; return of FARDC to
previous positions (to include not only new positions occupied in
the Rutshuru corridor, but the return of several FARDC brigades and
battalions to areas where they had been before being called forward
against CNDP in the recent fighting); MONUC to secure and protect
areas from which CNDP was now in the process of withdrawing (to
prevent exactions by FARDC, FDLR, Mai Mai); and de-linking of FARDC
and FDLR. (Van de Geer did not reveal the first demand the CNDP
team had made -- rejection of the Amani program and a call for a new
structure "conformable with the Acte d'Engagement.")

7. (SBU) Chikez, in a short but sharp statement, criticized the
international facilitation for not being clearer and more effective
with the CNDP and for disrespecting the sovereignty of the state by
calling for FARDC withdrawal. Noncommittal, Kabila turned to van de
Geer to respond to Chikez. Van de Geer said that, in fact, the
special envoys had been very tough with Nkunda - so tough that they
had lost direct contact with him. In the meeting with CNDP at a
lower level the previous day at Kimoka, the envoys had been very
clear and direct.

Kabila reaffirms commitment to Amani

8. (SBU) At last Kabila spoke. He said that there was no other way
forward but the Amani program. He was dedicated to Amani and
inflexible on the point. The population of the Kivus was demanding
results from it. The first step, he said, was disengagement of
armed forces. It was essential to get down to the real work of
disengagement right away, not in two weeks or two months, but
tomorrow. Kabila said that disengagement should be in the positions
where the armed forces were now located (Note: this formulation
would suggest an unwillingness to reciprocate CNDP's withdrawal to
previous positions. End note.)

9. (SBU) Kabila said he had tried everything with Nkunda, even the
"Numbi affair" (mixage), but nothing had worked. Nkunda was a
criminal. Nkunda, Bosco, and Makenga were a band of "little
criminals." However, Kabila said, the CNDP was the partner in the
peace process and there was no alternative to dealing with it. It
was essential to get immediately to work on disengagement, otherwise
Nkunda would gather strength and seek an occasion to attack again in
a few weeks or months and the process would again be back to square
one. Disengagement was only the beginning of a much larger process
involving integration into FARDC or demobilization/reintegration.
(Note: Kabila indicated that demobilization could take place in
North Kivu, an apparent concession. End note).

Kabila urges continued contact with Nkunda

10. (SBU) Kabila said that the international community must keep
trying to contact Nkunda or - if he were dead or sick or pushed
aside - with whoever was in charge in the CNDP. He was worried
about the lack of contact with Nkunda. It was up to the
international facilitation to get Nkunda on board. (Note: Kabila
evinced no responsibility to contact Nkunda. End note.)

11. (SBU) Kabila regretted the recent difficulties MONUC had
encountered with the local populace (blocking movement, stoning
convoys). He said that MONUC had his complete support and that the
government had not manipulated the populace against MONUC. However,
he admitted that there were "extremists in some areas" (unspecified)
who were capable of stirring up the populace. The best way to
handle the populace was for the government and MONUC to work closely
together to make Amani work and reestablish the authority of the

We will go against FDLR when "Nkunda Affair" resolved
--------------------------------------------- --------

12. (SBU) Kabila said that he was committed to the Nairobi process
and would continue to increase pressure on the FDLR. However,
coping with the military offensive by the CNDP in recent days had
become the highest priority. Kabila said it was unreasonable to ask
DRC to launch operations against FDLR when Nkunda was attacking the
main roads leading to Goma. Once the "Nkunda affair" was resolved,
DRC could turn its whole attention to FDLR.

13. (SBU) The meeting concluded with remarks by SRSG Doss
underlining that MONUC could not be effective without the

KINSHASA 00000759 003 OF 003

government's full support. He agreed that the first priority was
disengagement and it needed to be quick, but there were complex
details to work out. To this end, he was staying over in Goma to
work with Force Commander General Gaye and MONUC military to
elaborate a disengagement proposal to cover all conflict areas with
the CNDP.

Van der Geer reports on call from Nkunda

14. (SBU) In a follow-up discussion among the facilitation team,
van de Geer said that he had received a call from Nkunda earlier in
the day. Nkunda, he said, was nervous and aggressive. Nkunda told
him, "You are not being helpful" (not clear if "you" meant van de
Geer personally or the whole facilitation effort). He said he was
not interested in talks with the government. He repeated some of
the threatening language of the September 11 declaration (if one
shot is fired, we put a "decisive end to any future threat"; this
was the second withdrawal under pressure and it would be the last
one, etc.). Van de Geer told him that such telephonic contact was a
poor form of communication and they needed to sit face to face.
Nkunda said he would think about it and call back the next day. He
had one specific request, for an inquiry into what he called FDLR
atrocities in Ngungu. (Note: North Kivu brigade reports 16,000
IDP's have gathered around the South African helicopter base near
Ngungu, fleeing from what the brigade calls PARECO's occupation and
looting of Ngungu, in the southwestern-most reach of CNDP terrain,
where MONUC had previously established one of three small
mutually-agreed buffer zones.). SRSG Doss revealed to the
facilitation team that the North Kivu brigade would launch an attack
on PARECO/FDLR tomorrow, September 15, at Ngungu to reestablish
previous lines.

Facilitation meets to discuss

15. (SBU) The facilitation team received a late SMS message from
CNDP official Kambasu Ngeve September 14: "The Political Direction
of CNDP asserts that the government must first show a gesture of
good will before any meeting occurs."

16. (SBU) Among the facilitation team, with Doss, General Gaye, and
van de Geer present, there was consensus that there might be little
progress with Nkunda or CNDP for the being, even if there were a
concession by FARDC on withdrawing from positions taken in late
August in the Rutshuru buffer zone. The facilitation team disagreed
whether pressure could or should be put on the government to make
such a concession, in the light of the horrendous overreaching by
CNDP, with resultant massive humanitarian consequences (not to
mention discrediting of the CNDP politically and militarily). Gaye
argued it would be fruitless for MONUC to propose that FARDC
withdraw from Ntamugenga and Mutabo, positions that were militarily
untenable but which had become politically sacred. Doss
countermanded him. He said he would instruct MONUC to outline a
disengagement proposal based on sensible positions on the ground,
which would include FARDC withdrawal from Ntamugenga and Mutabo and
(most acute from a demilitarization point of view) mutual pull-back
of both sides from Rugari (where confrontation lines are narrowest,
and closest to the Rutshuru highway).

Brief re-cap of events August 29 - September 13
--------------------------------------------- --

17. (SBU) At an earlier briefing for Doss, van de Geer, and the
facilitation team, North Kivu brigade commander Brigadier General
Rawat summarized the military situation as follows: FARDC provoked
CNDP by stealing cattle in the Rutshuru area but CNDP was the first
to attack in the early hours of August 28, when it captured FARDC's
outpost at Kanombe. FARDC retaliated by taking Mutabo August 28 and
Ntamugenga August 29. The CNDP attacks north- and south-ward
beginning September 5 ultimately culminated in MONUC's use of force
to expel CNDP from Kayala and Kirotshe and CNDP's unilateral
withdrawal September 11. In the northern area, CNDP has withdrawn
600 men, carrying rifles, machine guns, and mortars. There were
still CNDP soldiers present around Mirangi, apparently not aware of
the unilateral ceasefire, and MONUC has given them an additional 24
hours to clear out. In the Kibirizi area, withdrawal of 110 cadres
was now taking place, delayed at first because of lack of FARDC
cooperation. CNDP (50 cadres with rifles, machine guns, and
mortars) finally withdrew from Kanombe, the position captured at the
beginning of the fighting August 28, yesterday September 13.


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