Cablegate: Foreign Minister Thambwe's November 11
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SUBJECT: Foreign Minister Thambwe's November 11
briefing on Nairobi, SADC summits
1. (SBU) Summary: Foreign Minister Alexis Thambwe Mwamba convoked
ambassadors November 11 for a briefing on the summits in Nairobi on
November 7 and in Johannesburg on November 9. Nairobi had
reaffirmed the Amani and Nairobi processes as the "only framework"
for resolving the conflict in the eastern DRC. The DRC is willing
to renew diplomatic relations with Rwanda but will do so gradually,
probably by first opening consulates along the border. The joint "4
by 4 commission" (four Congolese, four Rwandans) would continue its
regular meetings. Press reports are true that GDRC has called for a
cessation of hostilities in the Ituri district to allow LRA troops
to go to designated areas on the Southern Sudan border in
anticipation of the signing of a peace agreement with the government
of Uganda. Relations with Uganda are improving; joint
Ugandan-Congolese military patrols within the DRC are under
consideration. Support from SADC members for the GDRC, as decided
at the November 9 summit, will contribute to a definitive peace
agreement in the east. Thambwe will leave soon to consult with
ECCAS members to enlist their support for the DRC. End summary.
2. (SBU) The Foreign Ministry notified embassies in the evening
hours of November 10 that Minister Thambwe wished to meet the next
morning to update P-5 and other UN Security Council ambassadors on
the just-ended Nairobi and Johannesburg summits. Present were
ambassadors of China, France, Russia, the UK, Belgium, and South
Africa plus the U.S. Charge. Also invited was the ambassador of
Angola. MONUC's senior political advisor represented SRSG Doss.
Seated beside Foreign Minister Thambwe was new defense minister
Charles Mwanda Nsimba.
Nairobi reaffirms existing framework
3. (SBU) Thambwe characterized the Nairobi discussions as
"intense and very frank." He asserted that the summit's two most
important decisions were: (1) to insist on the continuation of a
ceasefire in the conflict zone and to restore the ceasefire by force
if it is broken; and (2) that the Nairobi and Amani processes remain
the "only framework" for dealing with the conflict. Regarding the
latter, he said this meant there would be "no face-to-face meetings
between Kabila and Nkunda." The minister noted that the GDRC had
high expectations for the "Facilitation Commission" of former
presidents Olesegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Benjamin Mpaka of
Tanzania to ensure implementation of the Nairobi Communique and the
Amani accords. He also stated that his government understood these
processes applied equally to the FDLR and the CNDP.
4. (SBU) The French ambassador asked if progress had been made in
Nairobi on resuming diplomatic relations between the DRC and Rwanda.
Thambwe answered that the GRDC has taken steps to rid the Rwandan
compound in Kinshasa of squatters so that it can be renovated in
time for the return of its occupants. The Congolese public,
however, which believed that most of Nkunda's army consisted of
Rwandans, was not yet ready to accept a Rwandan diplomatic presence
here. Thambwe stated that the government was more likely to adopt a
gradual approach, in coordination with the GOR, setting up two
Congolese consulates in Rwanda just inside the border and
authorizing the Rwanda Government to do likewise just inside the
Shuttle diplomacy to continue
5. (SBU) French ambassador also encouraged Thambwe to maintain a
dialogue with Rwanda. Minister noted that each government's
four-member delegations would continue with regular meetings,
shuttling back and forth between the two capitals in an effort to
keep the lines of communication open and to advance certain goals.
Thambwe called this effort the "4X4 commission."
Cessation of hostilities with LRA
6. (SBU) U.S. charge asked Thambwe if he had seen press reports
from Southern Sudan regarding a meeting between President Kabila and
SS Vice-President Reik Marchar during the Nairobi summit. Thambwe
replied that he was present with Kabila at the meeting and that the
press reports were correct. In this connection he noted that:
-- Kabila has agreed to open a corridor so that LRA soldiers can go
to the South Sudanese border to lay down their arms and repatriate
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-- The FARDC will not shoot at LRA members proceeding north in the
corridor to the border with South Sudan.
-- Kabila has agreed to allow members of the Cessation of
Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT) to work alongside MONUC forces
based in Dungu and other areas inside DR Congo to monitor the
movement and activities of the LRA.
-- These agreements are based on the DRC's desire to help Uganda in
getting Kony to adhere (I said "sign"; the Minister responded
"adhere") to the demobilization agreement.
7. (SBU) Earlier in the meeting Thambwe stated that relations with
Uganda were improving rapidly. The two countries had "common
economic interests," including joint efforts to exploit petroleum
deposits in Lake Albert. He stated the DRC was giving consideration
to allowing the Ugandan military into the DRC to conduct operations
with the FARDC against vis-a-vis groups.
SADC summit and possible ECCAS meeting
8. (SBU) Thambwe did not speak at length regarding the SADC summit.
He noted that participants had decided to create three military
commissions (evaluation, technical, and surveillance) which would
travel shortly to the DRC to report on the situation. He mentioned
the national composition of each commission. (Note: Angola will
participate in all three. End note.) Thambwe expressed confidence
that SADC's support would contribute to the quest for peace in the
region. Thambwe ended the meeting by noting that he would leave soon
to consult with several Central African nations and that ECCAS might
also convene a summit in the near future to discuss the situation in
the eastern Congo.