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Cablegate: Gdrc Issues Statement On Relations with Angola;

VZCZCXRO8167
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1058 3381730
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041730Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA PRIORITY 1977
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0369
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001058

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/C, AF/S AND L/AN (OHAHS)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EPET CG AO
SUBJECT: GDRC ISSUES STATEMENT ON RELATIONS WITH ANGOLA;
REAL DEAL IS OFFSHORE OIL

1. (SBU) Following increased tensions between the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Angola (for
summary, see septel on SA Wolpe's visit to Kinshasa), on
December 2 the DRC's Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent to all
diplomatic missions in Kinshasa a statement clarifying its
position on GDRC-GOA bilateral relations. Translated text of
statement (attached to diplomatic note no. 130.07/0554/2009)
follows at para 2. More analysis will follow septel.

2. (U) Begin unofficial translation of MFA statement

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has become aware of the
content of the press release of the sister Republic of Angola
regarding the state of relations between the Republic of
Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose wide
distribution has included all foreign chanceries, thereby
provoking the attention and the concerns of the chief of our
diplomatic missions.

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Therefore, while we recommend calm and serenity to all
concerned, the MFA wishes to dispel any misunderstanding and
put the issue of the state of relations between the DRC and
its sister Republic of Angola back into proper perspective by
reviewing the actual underlying context of the problem, the
real background for Angola,s reaction.

While true that there are here and there a few problems
regarding land borders and of expulsions in both directions
of
nationals from either country, an issue which indeed has been
addressed during negotiations held in Kinshasa on October 13,
2009, and at the end of whic a satisfactory resolution was
achieved by referring the borders issue to an ad hoc
commission to be formed later, the real problem that hits a
sensitive nerve in the Republic of Angola is the fact that
the DRC legitimately exercised its right, as recognized for
all coastal states by the Montego Bay Convention, by
submitting its preliminary request for a hearing to the
Commission on Borders of the Continental Shelf.

Rightfully indeed, and regardless of the degree to which the
request is well-founded, the DRC,s maritime territory shall
be reconsidered which, obviously will not be without
consequences for the Republic of Angola, which until the
present time has been exploiting exclusively for its own
profit, all resources found in the Continental Shelf
including, particularly, oil.

However, as our two countries have said on many occasions
through diplomatic notes, the DRC remains, to the extent
possible, prepared to settle the issue peacefully and through
negotiations.

Therefore, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DRC calls
on all diplomatic missions to remain calm, and maintain the
firm hope that regardless of the nature of problems that may
exist, they will never alter the good and profound relations
that have united our sister countries for ages.

Done in Kinshasa, on December 2, 2009
Alexis Thambwe Mwamba

3. (SBU) Comment. Relations between the DRC and Angola have
deteriorated steadily over the past months, as reported by
embassies Luanda and Kinshasa. Saber-rattling by both sides
resulted in the expulsions of tens of thousands of
expatriates from both countries, apparently for reasons that
have little to do with the official justifications. Until
recently, neither side wanted to discuss publicly the
underlying cause of the dispute between them -- DRC,s claim
Qunderlying cause of the dispute between them -- DRC,s claim
that Angola is stealing its undersea oil -- although both
have asked for help privately in demarches to us and, we
assume, others. The Congolese have now announced they are in
the first stages of referring the matter for international
arbitration, apparently in the hope the Angolans will offer
to resolve the disagreement amicably through direct talks or
with the help of mutually agreed facilitators. This approach
would suggest that the Congolese are not fully confident they
can win in an international court. The ball is in Angola,s
court. End comment.
GARVELINK

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