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Cablegate: Drc-Angola Communique On December 15-17 Binational

VZCZCXRO6844
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1154 3630629
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290629Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0517
RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA 1993
INFO RUCNSAD/SADC COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001154

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EPET PREL PREF PBTS AO CG
SUBJECT: DRC-ANGOLA COMMUNIQUE ON DECEMBER 15-17 BINATIONAL
COMMISSION SKIRTS AROUND CONTENTIOUS OIL DISPUTE

REF: (A) LUANDA 784; (B) KINSHASA 1129;
(C) KINSHASA 1096;(D) KINSHASA 1061;
(E) 2008 KINSHASA 316

1. (SBU) The DRC-Angola Bilateral Commission met December 15-17 in
Luanda. The December 17 joint communique on the meeting refers
mostly to migration and economic issues. The Commission agreed,
however, to set up an expert working group to discuss maritime
boundaries. Regional cooperation minister Raymond Tshibanda,
considered one of President Joseph Kabila's most trusted advisors,
will undoubtedly brief the president on the Commission's work. Copy
of the French version of the communique was forwarded electronically
to AF/C and AF/S. Main points in communique are highlighted below.


2. (U) How the Commission undertook its work: The Commission
decided to carry out its work by dividing into sub-committees on (a)
migration and borders; (b) transportation, public works, energy, and
telecommunications; (c) petroleum issues and the DRC's debt to
Angola; and (d) defense and security. The conclusions of each
sub-committee's work were incorporated into the final communique.


3. (SBU) Agreement on oil exploration: Article nine of the
communique refers to the Agreement on Oil Exploration and Production
in the Joint Maritime Zone, which was signed in Luanda on 30 July
2007 and ratified by the GRA and the Parliament of the GDRC. The
communique noted that Angola and the DRC held two meetings in
Kinshasa on implementation of the oil agreement: a
ministerial-level meeting on 23 July 2008 and a technical meeting on
11 March 2009. A third meeting planned to take place in Luanda has
not yet been held because of a lack of response from the GDRC, but
will occur before the end of the first quarter of 2010 (Comment:
Implementation of the oil exploration and production agreement with
Angola may take years because the GDRC lacks the technical capacity
to comply with its obligations under the agreement. It is also
rumored that individual ministers affected by the agreement are
delaying the awarding of contracts in order to obtain bribes. End
comment).

4. (U) Migration and land borders: Article 13 of the communique
notes that "mechanisms have been found for dealing with migration
issues and re-verification of the demarcation of land and river
borders." By mid-2010, Angola and the DRC plan to hold a working
group on migration and border issues (ref C).

5. (U) Tripartite agreement on repatriation: Agreement Article 15
highlights the necessity of signing a tri-partite agreement between
Angola-DRC-UNHCR regarding the voluntary repatriation of Angolan
refugees within a two-year period. Both parties agreed that Angola
will submit to the DRC for review by 15 January 2010, a draft
agreement on migration that will address "protection of both
expelled citizens and those who desire to voluntarily return to
their countries."

6. (U) Maritime boundaries: The communique states that "special
attention" was given to the problem of the delimitation and
demarcation of the maritime boundaries between the two countries,
specifically with regard to determining how far the continental
shelf extends. Both sides agreed to convene a meeting of experts
during the first six months of 2010. A date will be set later.


7. (U) Next meeting: The tenth session of the Bilateral Commission
Q7. (U) Next meeting: The tenth session of the Bilateral Commission
is slated to be held in the DRC during the second half of 2010.


8. (SBU) Comment: The tone of the meeting -- held against a
background of strained relations over refugees and resources --
suggests that tensions between the two countries may be subsiding.
Although little progress appears to have been made in resolving the
contentious issue of offshore drilling in an area claimed by both
countries, that issue will have to be decided at a much higher pay
grade. Regional Cooperation Minister Raymond Tshibanda, a trusted
advisor of President Kabila, will brief his boss on what was not
said in the communique. End comment.


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