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2004-11-05 16:06:00
Embassy Kinshasa
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 08 KINSHASA 002047 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2014

Classified By: Roger Meece. Reason 1.4 (b/d)

1. (C) Summary: There has been major progress in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo over the past few years,
ending years of open warfare involving eight national armies
and numerous domestic armed groups. Peace accords have
yielded the formal withdrawal of foreign troops, a domestic
transition process leading to elections, and an unprecedented
level in central Africa of international community
involvement, including a major U.N. peacekeeping operation.
The current peace is tenuous, however, and the transition
structure is ungainly and fragile, liable to the risk of
collapse from numerous internal and regional threats. As
well, any strategy to achieve long-term stability in the
country must take into account the de facto lack of a unified
coherent government in Kinshasa. Our overriding policy
priorities must be the success of the DRC transition process,
and cessation of destabilizing inter-state activities. There
are four main areas for attention: 1) the security
environment, 2) preparation and conduct of elections, 3)
establishment of government authority across the country, and
4) regional relations. Success is by no means guaranteed;
however, the U.S. has an important role to play to ensure
positive outcomes in each of these areas. This cable
describes background developments leading to the current
situation, summarizes the existing strategic framework and
future plan, and outlines priority areas for USG support or
intervention. End summary.

Background and Context


2. (C) Following decades of bad governance under the Mobutu
dictatorship and an inconclusive &sovereign national
conference,8 central government in then-Zaire had become
largely irrelevant for the vast majority of its citizens by
the mid-90's. Despite immense natural resources, overall
conditions had degraded to the point where one could no
longer meaningfully speak of national infrastructure, GDP
experienced a long-term decline, and a political vacuum had
developed. In essence, the country had no functional
national government, with all the attendant negative economic
and social consequences to be expected from that central
reality. The 1994 genocide and war in neighboring Rwanda
generated enormous waves of primarily Hutu Rwandan citizens
crossing the Zaire border, including ex-Kigali government
extremists implicated in the genocide as well as civilian
refugees. Rather than seeking to address positively the
growing eastern crisis, various Zairian leaders continued
free-wheeling profit-oriented practices, dealing with and
supporting the Rwandan extremist Hutu leaders.

3. (C) Unfortunately, the international community also failed

to take any meaningful action to bring under control the
armed extremist elements that continued to operate in the
vast camps established in eastern Zaire. After two years,
the Kigali government had had enough with what it viewed as
an unacceptable status quo and ongoing security threat
emanating from the eastern Zaire camps. In 1996 Rwandan
forces, acting in concert with other nations, moved to break
up the camps with invasion forces. Whether intended or not,
the action also brought about as a corollary the collapse of
the precarious Zairian equilibrium. With a broad alliance of
African states eventually joining in against the
widely-disliked Mobutu, the Kinshasa government fell within
months. It was replaced by a government composed largely of
Rwandan- and Ugandan-backed figures, with Laurent Kabila
installed as President by mid-1997. The new government in
essence basically threw out all remaining vestiges of the
Mobutu regime, readopted the name of the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, and began to build new government institutions
from scratch.

4. (C) The Laurent Kabila government, however, proved itself
also incapable of competent performance. Perhaps inevitably,
it increasingly chafed under continuing Rwandan influence,
leading to growing tensions with its erstwhile patron.
Eventually this led to renewed warfare in August 1998, and
new invasions by Rwandan and Ugandan armies. Unlike 1996,
however, other African states moved to support Kinshasa,
eventually creating an alliance of Zimbabwean, Angolan,
Namibian, and Chadian forces working with the Kabila
government arrayed against Rwandan, Ugandan, and Burundian
armies aligned with various Congolese rebel clients. Mixed
into this picture was an overlay of Hutu/Tutsi conflicts,
with Kinshasa embracing active support of Rwandan Hutu
extremists (e.g., ex-FAR, Interahamwe) in the war, and the
continuing conflict reinforcing an already-widely prevalent
anti-Tutsi sentiment in much of the DRC.

5. (C) A military stalemate developed in 1998/1999, resulting
in de facto separation of DRC territorial administration,
largely divided between the Kinshasa government backed by its
southern Africa allies; a Ugandan-sponsored group, the
Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) in the north; and a
Rwandan-backed group, the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD)
controlling much of the east. Foreign sponsors participated
heavily in exploitation of Congo,s rich mineral wealth in
all three zones. Inevitable tensions among the various
Congolese groups and their foreign backers, among the
Congolese themselves, and between supposed allies (e.g.,
Rwanda and Uganda) produced splinter movements and an overall
proliferation of various armed groups and militias.

6. (C) Efforts by the U.S. and others to find a peaceful
solution were hindered by the necessity to seek means to
address simultaneously the varied, and largely unrelated,
interests of the numerous foreign states involved in the
conflict, as well as to redress the continuing political
vacuum in the Congo, including a complete lack of coherent
national DRC political structures and constituencies. As a
result of enormous efforts and substantial international
pressure, and with critically important active intervention
by the U.S., the Lusaka Accord was achieved in 1999. While
the Lusaka Accord was not sufficient to bring an immediate
halt to the conflict, it did provide the basis for an
eventual formal withdrawal of foreign troops from DRC
territory, and establishment of an &Inter-Congolese8
dialogue as a way to establish an internal process toward
national governance. The latter dialogue, again with heavy
international engagement, eventually resulted in a &Global
and All-Inclusive Accord8 (the Sun City Accord) in 2003
establishing the basis for the formal DRC transition process
incorporating all former Congolese belligerents, as well as
other internal &non-armed8 groups leading to elections.
These two agreements comprise the foundation for the end to
active hostilities and they set the stage for the current

DRC Transition: Ungainly, Burdened by Mistrust, But Yielding



7. (C) Given the complexity of the domestic political
environment, the required compromises among the varied
Congolese groups and diverse foreign patrons, and the
duration of active warfare, it is hardly surprising that the
transition structures established by peace accords are
ungainly and characterized by persistent deep mistrust among
key officials and factions. An additional impediment to
transition success is residual suspicion between the
&ex-government8 faction in Kinshasa, headed by President
Joseph Kabila, and its perceived enemy neighbors on the
eastern border, particularly Kampala and Kigali. This is
coupled with continuing links between the other former main
Congolese belligerents and their respective foreign allies
(the MLC and Uganda; the RCD-Goma and Rwanda). In short, the
Kinshasa transition government is not a coherent single
entity, but rather more a collection of former adversaries
existing in uneasy co-habitation. It is essentially not
capable of domestic or international long-term engagements
routinely undertaken by established governments. In
addition, many in the DRC political class in all factions of
the transition are not eager to see a successful electoral
end to the transition, and it is likely that relatively few
would find any popular base for electoral success.

8. (C) Despite daunting challenges, the transition has been
producing results, albeit at a slower pace than widely
desired. While many considered it highly unlikely three or
four years ago, formal withdrawal of foreign national armies
from DRC territory has been completed, ongoing combat has
been stopped, and all major DRC political groups have been
brought together into a transition government, however
unwieldy that government may be. Reversing decades of
economic under-performance, important economic results have
been achieved (e.g., stabilization of exchange rates, low
inflation, three years of real GDP growth), and preparations
for scheduled 2005 elections (including key pieces of
legislation) have been moving forward. Perhaps the most
significant indicator of progress, political leaders of all
major groups have increasingly been gauging their rhetoric
and actions to what amounts to early electoral positioning, a
reflection that the political leadership generally is
increasingly thinking in terms of a political, and
specifically electoral, process rather than renewed military
operations. Overall, the situation in most of the DRC stands
in startlingly positive contrast to that existing a few years

Factors Supporting Progress


9. (C) There are four major forces favoring transition
progress. First, there is general war-weariness among the
large majority of Congolese, coupled with a continuing sense
of national identity that broadly cuts across all factions.
The war had largely stalemated with no major change in sight,
and the de facto division of the country worked against both
economic and political aspirations of most Congolese. The
transition process offers the only viable alternative.
Secondly and related, there is a deeply-held desire by most
Congolese for a durable peace. This has crystallized into
strong expectations for elections as the most visible symbol
of the end to the transition - and the DRC,s long conflict.
This represents a dramatic change from the stoic resignation
characteristic of much of pre-war Zaire,s population, and
represents a major and positive force to which political
leaders are sensitive. It also has a negative aspect,
however, with a potentially explosive reaction should popular
expectations not be satisfied. Third, there is an
unprecedented engagement in the DRC by the international
community. This is manifested in the 17-member International
Committee To Accompany the Transition (CIAT), which is in
fact a formal transition institution created by the
underlying peace agreements. The CIAT is widely credited as
a beneficial and needed force to maintain progress. Finally,
the UN peacekeeping operation (MONUC), while far from
perfect, brings a significant military force to help counter
the influence of the many remaining armed groups and so
provide at least a reasonable promise of needed adequate
security conditions, and it has proved invaluable in numerous
cases to keep the transition moving forward.

But Major Threats Also Remain


10. (C) Progress to-date notwithstanding, there are
innumerable ways for the transition process to derail, and
even lead to a resumption of generalized warfare. The
continued existence of numerous armed groups, including
formal armies, various armed militias, diverse localized Mai
Mai factions and bands, and armed Rwandan Hutu extremists all
create security threats and occasional flare-ups, especially
in the volatile eastern regions. The continuing severe
weakness of central government institutions and the lack of
any real government authority in many parts of the country
leaves an on-going dangerous and destabilizing political void
in the country. In addition, the oft-displayed fecklessness
of the Congolese political class always has the potential of
producing gridlock, or worse. Years of invasions,
occupation, and conflict have left a degree of tension in the
east between various communities, most notably the
Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese Tutsis and Hutus and other
Congolese ethnic groups. Finally, continuing influence and
reports of active intervention (including military forces) in
the eastern region by neighboring countries, particularly
Rwanda and to a lesser extent Uganda, and enduring commercial
interests also reinforce the threat of renewed instability
which would undoubtedly affect all of the DRC.

The Way Forward


11. (C) The CIAT, GDRC leaders, and most observers concur
that the desired end-state of the transition period is a
legitimate Kinshasa government elected through free and fair
elections; a sound political, economic, and social basis for
durable stability throughout the country; and regional
international relationships that at minimum provide for
normal diplomatic relations and resolution of differences
through dialogue. The overriding priorities for the short-
to medium-term must be the success of the DRC transition
process, and the end to destabilizing interstate activities.
The analysis above and the transition structure suggest that
the strategy to achieve these ends needs to be focused on
four critical areas: security, elections, state
authority/development, and regional relations. The following
paragraphs provide brief summaries of each critical area
designed to indicate current or planned activities, but are
not comprehensive descriptions. The first three largely
domestic issues are reflected in transition &road maps,8
one adopted by and utilized by the CIAT, and a similar
document recently approved by the GDRC. The road map outline
serves as the base line strategic transition plan as
discussed within the local community.

a) The Security Environment
This includes two major components. The first deals with the
existing multiple armies and combatant groups, estimated to
include as many as 300,000-plus men under arms. A major
demobilization (DDR) program has been designed with heavy
World Bank involvement, intended to demobilize roughly
200,000 combatants. A specialized but urgent sub-component
of this program is one dealing with the substantial number of
child soldiers. Substantial support has already been
committed to this effort, including World Bank funds, as well
as the involvement of USAID and other donors. Specifically,
USAID's support is focused on reintegration of ex-combatants
back into communities. A needed complement to this effort
is to produce an integrated national Congolese army. While
the latter lags behind the DDR framework, conceptual and
unfortunately competing frameworks for integration have been
prepared by the Belgian and South African governments.
Currently there are promising efforts underway in Kinshasa
and respective capitals seeking to harmonize these plans and
establish a master unified plan. Financial resources have
not yet been identified, although the Europeans in particular
are implying in conversations that funds may be found at
least to initiate the effort. Armed local groups, including
those in Ituri and potentially some Mai Mai groups, represent
a related but separate issue, with solutions unlikely pending
definition and establishment of the overall integration and
DDR programs. Finally, armed Rwandan Hutu extremists
represent a distinct problem, with such groups creating
security problems within the Kivus as well as representing a
continuing threat to Rwandan security. A MONUC-led voluntary
disarmament and repatriation program (DDRRR) had shown
promising results, repatriating to Rwanda many thousands of
combatants and their dependents. Numbers of new DDRRR
enrollees dropped to near-zero, however, following the June
takeover of Bukavu by &dissident8 RCD Tutsi generals Nkunda
and Mutebusi. Many of the remaining Hutu extremist elements,
estimated to number between 8,000 - 15,000, may require
forcible disarmament. Prevailing current thinking among CIAT
members is that this task should be undertaken by a specially
selected and integrated FARDC &Kivu Brigade8 (pursuant to
the integration plans discussed above), whose operations
would be closely coordinated with MONUC-reinforced
deployments and operations in the east. Progress in all
these areas must be realized, and be visible, prior to the
holding of elections if the volatile eastern region is to
participate in voting in a meaningful way . Completion of
the full integration/demobilization effort, however, will not
be required prior to elections, and indeed may continue for
some time into the future.

b) Elections
The centerpiece of the Sun City Accord is the holding of
elections, targeted for June 2005. The accord provides for
up to two six-month extension periods as necessary.
Significant delays, however, risk strong if not explosive
negative public reaction. Election preparations have
proceeded laboriously, but at this point there is a general
election plan in place, a budget reviewed and largely
endorsed by the international community, and the start of
needed legislation by the National Assembly and Senate. An
Independent Electoral Commission has been formed and is
starting to operate, thanks in large measure to timely USAID
intervention. The election plan is based on as simple a
model as possible, necessary given the limited time
available, the size of the country (roughly the size of
Western Europe), population (approximately 60 million), and
utter lack of national infrastructure. For example, no census
is planned, only a voter registration exercise.
Approximately half of the calculated $285 million elections
budget has been promised to-date by donors, primarily the EU.
Key decisions remain, including the question of the timing
of local, provincial, and Presidential elections (e.g.,
simultaneous or sequential), and the form of balloting (e.g.,
single-round or runoff elections for President). Strong
international and domestic pressure is being maintained on
political players to complete important legislation,
including changes or approval of a new draft Constitution,
which itself requires approval by referendum. As noted
above, however, political parties and leaders are already
beginning what amounts to election campaign activity and
there is no clear dominating political figure or party with a
decisive national majority. A crucial but often overlooked
aspect to this issue is the immediate post-election period,
with inevitable unhappiness and challenges by election
losers, a critical concern in a region burdened by large
numbers of weapons and combat-experienced fighters.
Continued strong engagement and support by the international
community, including MONUC within the limits of that body,s
mandate, will be required for the successful conduct of
elections, and transition through the post-election period.

c) State Authority, and General Development
As previously noted, a large part of the current problems in
the DRC can be attributed to the political vacuum at the
center - the lack of viable government institutions and
operations to govern generally, much less to manage a large
and diverse country such as the Congo. This will require
sustained effort over a long time, extending far beyond
elections, essentially building a new structure from a base
near zero. There has already been significant progress,
however, seen in areas as diverse as macro-economic indices
(as cited above); the gradual establishment of minimal
government services (e.g., police operations, schools),
albeit in limited areas; and even the recent appointment of
an Ituri District Commissioner, the first sign in years of
Kinshasa government authority in that troubled district.
Despite good gains in the government,s revenue base in the
past two years, domestic-generated resources are still
extremely limited with a current GDRC domestic revenue budget
base of roughly $450 million dollars for an area equivalent
to the U.S. east of the Mississippi. Clearly, sustained and
significant international support will be required for an
extended period in this area. As well, accompanying a
gradual replacement of military operations by peacetime
government, major reconciliation efforts are needed at the
local grassroots level and some are needed at the national
level, particularly in the volatile eastern areas. Without
the success of such reconciliation efforts, accompanied by
activities bringing the promise of economic improvement,
sustainable stability in the eastern region will be hard to
achieve. Related, the DRC,s largely dysfunctional judicial
system requires rebuilding. Finally, visible economic and
social development progress must be seen for nascent
government institutions to have credibility, and to address
the urgent basic needs of Congolese citizens. Macroeconomic
achievements need to translate into new investment and
employment, and improvements to the disastrous state of DRC
basic education, health, and other services must be evidenced.

d) Regional Relations
Obviously stability in the DRC and indeed the region requires
that regional governments refrain from unilateral
cross-border military operations or other activities intended
to undermine neighboring states. The DRC is particularly
vulnerable given the precarious and divided nature of its
current transition government. For long-term stability,
however, we need to go further and work to build
intergovernmental relations in which governments are capable
of dealing with each other, and resolving conflicts through
dialogue rather than confrontation. Such is not currently
the case, and the respective governments, especially those in
Kigali and Kinshasa, are unlikely to normalize their
relations if left to themselves. There are numerous efforts
to promote regional dialogue, including initiatives sponsored
by the U.N., Belgium, South Africa, and other African states
as well as the U.S. A basis for improved relations exists in
the form of commercial and economic potential, and a presumed
shared interest in peace and stability. Ultimately, however,
deep-seated mistrust and personal animosity arising from
years of conflict, exacerbated by events such as the recent
massacre of Congolese refugees in a camp in Burundi, must be
overcome by a realization that each country can best serve
its own interests through peaceful dialogue. At minimum,
clear and consistent international pressure must be
maintained, rejecting as unacceptable cross-border
interference. Ultimately, the countries in the region
themselves must renounce ambitions to work against
neighboring states, although realization of this goal is
unlikely until a more durable and coherent government can be
established in Kinshasa following elections. More broadly,
success in this area will require sustained international
engagement to promote concrete cooperation measures (e.g.,
Uganda/DRC and Rwanda Joint Verification Mechanisms), improve
border controls, and regularize ongoing contacts and dialogue.

12. (C) Progress in the inter-related four areas identified
above will be self-reinforcing, i.e., progress in any area is
helpful to efforts in the other three. Conversely, at least
some degree of success in all four areas is needed to achieve
overall objectives. A lack of progress in any of the four
will necessarily retard overall progress, and the overall
objective of a stable region requires at least partial
forward movement in all four categories.

Other Issues


13. (C) The sectors cited above do not constitute a
comprehensive listing of important outstanding issues. For
example, improper exploitation of the DRC,s natural
resources by foreign and Congolese interests continues as a
major problem. It is unlikely, however, that satisfactory
resolution of this issue can be found prior to progress in
establishing Kinshasa government authority and at least some
improvement in working relations with neighboring countries.
Likewise, sexual violence directed against women is a
horrifying past and present reality, with some armed groups
practicing systematic sexual predation as a weapon. While
there are numerous activities underway to address this
problem, including significant USAID operations, definitive
resolution is unlikely in the east absent progress in
military demobilization and integration, as well as
establishment of coherent DRC government authority.
Impunity also remains a major problem requiring resolution,
with a long-term answer certainly requiring at least minimal
improvements in the DRC,s barely functioning legal system.
All of these and other issues are important. The four areas
cited above, however, remain the central focus areas that
will in turn permit progress to be realized to address a
variety of other issues.

The U.S. Role


A - Central Focus

14. (C) As indicated above, the central problem is the
political void at the center, i.e., the lack of government
institutions and authority in the DRC. U.S. engagement
therefore needs to be focused primarily on support for the
transition process, its successful conclusion through the
conduct of free and fair elections, and follow-through for a
successful post-election period. This activity needs to be
complemented by continuing attention to ensure observance of
non-interference across borders among the Great Lakes
countries, and normalization of relations among all Great
Lake states.

B. - International Cooperation

15. (C) The DRC is a huge country with accumulated immense
problems. Certainly no single country alone has the
resources to assist in finding the necessary solutions.
Instead, we must focus use of our available resources,
coordinating closely with other bilateral and multilateral
countries and agencies to achieve the desired results.
Fortunately, widely shared common objectives and much of the
framework to enable such cooperation already exist, a
beneficial product of the work done in recent years to bring
an end to the DRC conflict. The principal national players
involved are Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, South
Africa, and Angola as well as the U.S. All are heavily
involved already with assistance and/or political support for
the DRC,s transition. These efforts are complemented by
substantial involvement of the European Union, World Bank,
IMF, ADF, and United Nations as multilateral partners.

16. (C) A general framework for coordination exists in the
17 member CIAT, whose membership includes all the main
bilateral engaged countries (e.g., Belgium, France, U.K.,
South Africa, Angola and U.S.) as well as the European Union,
the African Union, and MONUC. We should stay strongly
engaged in CIAT activities to ensure a maximum degree of
harmonized policies and activities. Complementary
senior-level consultations between capitals should ensure a
close degree of coordination between discussions being
conducted at the level of the CIAT, and topics being
discussed during bilateral/multilateral consultations.

17. (C) The MONUC peacekeeping operation represents another
element vital to the success of the transition process.
MONUC has a unique capability to help ensure adequate
security conditions in the DRC necessary for progress, and
this should therefore be its central and overriding focus.
MONUC, however, also has a variety of other capabilities and,
in accordance with the existing UNSC resolution,
responsibilities. Within the constraints of available
resources, the U.S. should continue to be as supportive as
possible of the MONUC mission, while continuing to press to
maintain a MONUC focus on key priorities to preclude mission
creep, and enlargement of an already existing
mission/resource gap.

18. (C) Ongoing discussions being conducted in New York at
the U.N., and in particular the Security Council, as well as
Bank and Fund sessions also provide an opportunity for
improved coordination with multilateral coordination through
the CIAT. To-date, internal USG coordination regarding these
fora has been less than ideal, and efforts are needed to
ensure better communication and coordination regarding
proposed discussions, initiatives, and activities. The U.S.
has considerable influence in each of the multilateral
bodies, and we need to do a better job to ensure that such
influence is being used effectively in terms of our bilateral
agenda, as well as being coordinated with our positions in
the CIAT multilateral context.

C - Bilateral Activities

19. (C) Within the general context of overall support for
the transition process, current U.S. government programs and
activities should be focused on four major areas: 1)
governance issues, including election preparations, 2)
military and security issues, 3) development and institution
building, and 4) regional relations.

- Governance and elections: The U.S., primarily through
State and USAID activities, has been very much engaged in
this area, and continued major involvement will be important
to a range of governance issues. In terms of elections,
USAID was instrumental in quick intervention, for example to
get the Independent Electoral Commission in operation. It
will be important for us to continue to be very active to
encourage further progress and ensure acceptable procedures.
Our support, however, is constrained by limited USAID
Democracy and Government Funding. Specifically, at this
point, we have very little available or committed to direct
election support, a dramatic contrast to the EU,s total
committed to-date of over $100m.

- Military and security: The U.S. has already committed
resources to the DDR program, both through its support of the
World Bank and in bilateral terms through USAID. As
previously noted, there are promising initiatives underway
for harmonizing competing models from South Africa and
Belgium of the equally critical military integration program.
Pending results of that effort, we should be prepared to
look at $3.4 million in available leftover prior-year FMF
funds for potential support to the integration and military
reform program as may be appropriate. We should also be
attentive to child soldier demobilization activities, and
general reintegration programs for additional intervention
with any new resources made available.

- Development and institution building: The U.S. is
involved in these efforts, primarily through USAID. This is
a long-term process, however, and sustained engagement will
be required to show satisfactory results both pre- and
post-election to help create conditions conducive to
long-term stability. Lists of economic, education, and
health needs are very long, and the government structures and
policies needed to support progress are largely yet to be
created. One major area that is currently underfunded by all
donors is national and regional reconciliation programs.
Progress in achieving reconciliation, particularly in the
troubled east, is essential for long-term peace in the DRC
and the region. We should be attentive to the possibility of
any new resources that may be made available for these kinds
of activities, as well as seek to tap into expertise in
Africa or elsewhere that has proven effective to achieve
results. Clearly, general development activities should also
be identified for target regions that could complement any
reconciliation programs that are implemented.

- Regional relations: The U.S. is already engaged in
promoting &tripartite8 talks involving key players. As it
progresses to a more concrete form, the tripartite process
should be tailored to mesh as effectively as possible with
other ongoing initiatives, including established Joint
Verification Mechanisms, regional efforts promoted by South
Africa, the African Union, and other African countries, as
well as those of the U.N. This too represents a long-term
investment likely destined to pay full dividends only
following the establishment of a post-transition, more
effective Kinshasa government. In the short to medium term,
it is of critical importance to maintain a consistent and
strong message rejecting as unacceptable cross-border
unilateral activities designed to undermine the security or
influence of neighboring governments within their own

U.S. and Mission Constraints


20. (C) At the current time, there are two major resource
constraints limiting, or threatening to limit, U.S. influence
in key areas.

a) First, available funds to support democracy and governance
activities are extremely limited. At this point, for
example, the U.S. has committed a total of approximately $5
million over two years in indirect support of the election
process, and has no funds identified now for direct support
of scheduled elections. While USAID has leveraged its
funding to be particularly visible in early election
planning, lack of further funding will likely mean declining
U.S. visibility and influence as the transition process moves
forward to active preparation and conduct of the DRC
elections. Likewise, there are few USG funds available or
foreseen at this point to assist with improving critically
important judicial/legal systems, including anti-corruption
efforts, nor for larger-scale reconciliation efforts which
are particularly required in the troubled eastern region of
the DRC.

b) The Embassy is currently slated to lose two of its four
Political Officer positions in calendar year 05, necessarily
implying a substantial cutback in Embassy political reporting
and activities. This severe reduction in political section
staffing will mean a major reduction in reporting from the
troubled eastern region, a general reduction in the frequency
and depth of contacts among the many and diverse political
parties and groups as well as within the government, and a
general loss of USG visibility and activity. Worse, this
cutback will likely be occurring over the precise period when
DRC political activity will be particularly intense,
associated with the elections.

21. (U) Bujumbura minimize considered.