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Cablegate: Belgian Formin in Goma

VZCZCXRO5723
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0078 0222107
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 222106Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0006
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0061
INFO RWANDA COLLECTIVE
SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000078

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV BE CG
SUBJECT: BELGIAN FORMIN IN GOMA

1. Following his visit to Kinshasa, Belgian Foreign Minister
Steven Vanackere visited Goma January 20-21. He was accompanied
by Africa Director (and former Ambassador to Congo) Renier
Nijskens, Ambassador Struye de Swielande, and other officials to a
breakfast meeting with diplomats based in Goma on January 21.

2. Vanackere was making his first visit to Africa and sought the
views of his guests on the situation in Eastern Congo. Vanackere,
only appointed as Foreign Minister in November 2009, was careful to
avoid making any declarations of his own, limiting himself to
agreement with Goma officer's statement that externally imposed
solutions would gain little or no support from the GDRC or from
other political or military actors. Solutions, he said, had to
come from the Congolese themselves.

3. According to press reports, Vanackere was asked by President
Kabila to ensure that King Albert attend Congo's 50th anniversary
celebrations on June 30. Although he acknowledged that memories of
the 1960s still resonate in the minds of many Congolese, including
those not then born, he offered no indication of concern about the
possibility suggested by some observers, that Kabila may be seeking
to reincarnate Lumumba's famous denunciation of Belgian rule in
King Baudouin's presence in June 1960.

4. Among other activities, Vanackere met with MONUC officials and
with the Technical Commission for Ratification and Reconciliation
of the STAREC program. STAREC officials told Goma-based officer
that Vanackere was in listening mode during the 90 minute meeting
and took on board their requests for financial assistance (also
made separately to other Goma-based representatives) without making
any commitment.

5. Comment: The complexities of the Congo are undoubtedly
particularly challenging for Belgian policy makers. Vanackere,
while giving no impression of being overwhelmed, freely
acknowledged his lack of current issues. The approach to the
anniversary celebrations in June is likely to be a test for the new
Minister and his advisers. End comment.
BROCK

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