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Cablegate: Kabila Rejects Au Plea From Jean Ping

VZCZCXRO5440
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0883 2881550
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141550Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8605
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1486
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000883

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS KPKO AU CG
SUBJECT: Kabila rejects AU plea from Jean Ping
to restore diplomatic ties with Kigali

1. (SBU) African Union Commission Chair Jean Ping made a lightning
trip to Kinshasa October 10-12 in an effort to defuse tensions
between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda over
fighting in the eastern DRC. Ping met with P-3 plus 2 ambassadors,
SRSG Alan Doss, EU representatives, Senate President Leon Kengo wa
Dondo, and National Assembly president Vital Kamerhe prior to
meeting with President Kabila on October 12.

2. (SBU) Ping explained to P-3 plus 2 ambassadors at a
hastily-arranged meeting October 10 that he had decided to come to
Kinshasa -- despite very pressing business in Eritrea -- because of
the seriousness of the current situation. He reviewed recent
developments and emphasized that the conflict between the DRC and
Laurent Nkunda could not be won militarily by either side; the only
possible solution was political. He emphasized that the main thrust
of his demarche to President Kabila would be to push for a
restoration of diplomatic relations, since an institutional
mechanism for dialogue was needed. He noted that this was a
"pre-condition" for President Kagame of Rwanda if he, Kagame, were
to talk with Kabila. Ping asked P-3 plus 2 ambassadors to reinforce
his efforts vis-a-vis Kabila with regard to reestablishing
diplomatic relations, apparently unaware that all P-3 plus two
nations have, individually and collectively, lobbied the DRC to do
this.

3. (SBU) Ping also referred in general terms to a "future plan" to
move the peace process forward after ties had been restored and
greater confidence between the DRC and Rwanda was achieved. He did
not appear to know of MONUC's comprehensive disengagement plan,
which the GDRC has signed on to, as an existing road map to peace.
When asked if he would go to Rwanda after leaving the Congo to brief
Kagame, Ping said he was too busy but he would call Kagame to brief
him. Ping also announced that the AU would soon send a
representative to work in Goma on a permanent basis; until now the
AU has dispatched staff members to the eastern DRC from headquarters
or from nearby AU missions.

4. (SBU) At a MONUC meeting on October 13, AU representative in
Kinshasa Martin Bongo briefed ambassadors of UN Security Council
members. Bongo stated that Kabila, with whom the AU chairman met on
October 12, had turned down Ping's request for a restoration of
diplomatic ties. Although Bongo did not provide details, he
suggested that Kabila's reluctance to restore ties is based on a
fear of negative public opinion in the DRC, where memories of
Rwanda's 1998 invasion are still fresh. Bongo also noted that Ping
had referred to the current "setback" in the Amani Process, although
he did not suggest that the Amani process be abandoned.

5. (SBU) In a later conversation between Charge d'Affaires and
Ambassador Pierre Yere, AU senior rep in Kinshasa, Yere stated that
the AU will send a delegation to the DRC in the coming weeks to look
specifically at the issue of the FDLR which it (the AU) considers to
be the biggest obstacle to peace in the country. Yere indicated
that the AU would look specifically at ways to "involve Rwanda more"
in solving the FDLR issue, noting that Rwanda needed to be more
active in facilitating the return of the FDLR to Rwanda. Yere also
indicated that the AU will look at the issue of governance because,
as Yere said, "if there is no government presence in the east, there
can be no peace."

6. (SBU) Comment: Ping's efforts to resolve the latest Rwanda-DRC
crisis were well received by MONUC and the international community,
although diplomats here were somewhat surprised at his apparent lack
of knowledge of International Community efforts to obtain a peaceful
solution to the conflict in the east. We were also surprised that
Ping described re-establishing diplomatic ties as President Kagame's
pre-condition ("prealable"); we hope he did not pitch it to Kabila
as such. End comment.

BROCK

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