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2005-07-01 10:09:00
Embassy Kinshasa
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KINSHASA 001078 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/01/2015

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

1. (C) Summary: There has been substantial recent discussion
in Kinshasa regarding the remaining FDLR presence in eastern
DRC. All parties concede that, while worthwhile, the
GDRC/Sant, Egidio initiative to promote FDLR repatriation to
Rwanda is stalled. Problems focus on the lack of FDLR
"leadership" credibility and senior field commander
opposition, and a mixed GOR message. GDRC officials assert
they are seeking to by-pass the FDLR leadership to obtain
field commitments to return to Rwanda, while also pursuing
plans for military pressure per earlier announcements. The
latter will be hobbled, however, by a continuing lack of
FARDC capability. The Tripartite international Ambassadors
propose several steps: a) seeking to strengthen a proposed
GDRC statement as much as possible; b) supporting a proposed
strong UNSC Presidential statement; c) concurrent messages
from capitals, especially Washington and London, underscoring
the history of safe return; d) whatever strengthened message
is possible from the GOR to encourage returns; e) continued
international support to train and equip FARDC integrated
units to be able to conduct more effective operations in the
Kivus; and f) complementary MONUC operations to apply
pressure on FDLR units. All, however, note that MONUC and
especially FARDC military operations in the Kivus will
inevitably involve significant civilian casualties. End

Rome Initiative Stalled


2. (C) There has been substantial discussion in Kinshasa in
recent weeks regarding remaining FDLR combatants in eastern
Congo, and the way forward. The topic was extensively
discussed by the International Committee to Accompany the
Transition (CIAT) and three GDRC Vice Presidents during an
&Espace Presidentiel8 meeting June 17. Subsequently, the
Ambassador convened heads of mission of the international
observers to the Tripartite (U.K., Belgium, The Netherlands
for E.U. Presidency, the AU Commission, and MONUC) to review
the subject. The latter group had a follow-up meeting on
June 22 with Presidency security Special Advisor Samba
Kaputo, Ambassador-at-Large Antoine Ghonda, and other
Presidency staff.

3. (C) All parties assert that the GDRC/Sant, Egidio
initiative with European-based FDLR leaders to obtain an FDLR
statement of willingness to return to Rwanda was worthwhile.
All, however, also recognize that the process is stalled,
with little prospect for progress. The problems identified
by most observers center on a lack of credibility of the
European-based "leadership" among rank-and-file FDLR
combatants in the field, continuing opposition by more senior

field commanders, many of whom were likely directly
implicated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and what is
generally described as a somewhat mixed message from Kigali
encouraging a Hutu return, but generally offering little to
reassure would-be returnees about the security conditions
they may confront.

GDRC: Moving Beyond Rome


4. (C) In the June 17 meeting with CIAT members, and in more
detail in a June 22 meeting with the Tripartite international
observer representatives, Presidential security Special
Advisor Kaputo spelled out GDRC current thinking. In the
wake of the unsuccessfulDRC visit of FDLR president Ignace
Murwanashyaka which had yielded no repatriation movements,
Kaputo indicated the GDRC concluded it would not be
worthwhile to invest any further effort in him. Instead,
Kaputo reported, the GDRC had established a discussion with
one or more field commanders to obtain a statement directly
by them of a willingness to return to Rwanda without formal
conditions. In both meetings, Kaputo reiterated the GDRC,s
position that it would not entertain any negotiation with the
FDLR regarding political conditions for a return, and that
the GDRC had on several occasions rejected FDLR arguments and
appeals to that effect. Kaputo stated that, instead, the
GDRC simply insisted that the time has come for the FDLR to
return home or face the risk of military pressure in the DRC
against them.

5. (C) In the June 17 and 22 meetings, Kaputo said that the
GDRC intended to issue a statement renewing its call for the
FDLR to return home. The draft text he read to the
Tripartite group June 22 stated that, failing that, the GDRC
would "take up its responsibilities." The Ambassador and
others in that meeting strongly encouraged Kaputo to
strengthen the GDRC language in the proposed statement as
much as possible, and most importantly include a deadline
date. UN SRSG Swing suggested the GDRC could state in its
communique that any FDLR remaining in the DRC following the
deadline would be considered "enemies of the state," opening
the door for military action at any subsequent point. Kaputo
took the suggestions under advisement. He further indicated
that a deal struck with one or more FDLR commanders called
for an FDLR statement to be issued by field commander(s) two
days after the GDRC statement, renewing the pledge to return
to Rwanda. He indicated, however, that the proposed FDLR
statement would include a call for the international
community to ensure adequate humanitarian and security
conditions for the repatriation operation. Quizzed on this
point, Kaputo suggested such conditions meant ensuring such
things as food and water for the return, as well as
assurances, for example, that those who were under 10 years
of age at the time of the 1994 genocide would not be swept up
summarily in security sweeps in Rwanda following their return.

6. (C) Subsequent to these meeting, the FDLR South Kivu
commander issued a communique (septel) which did reiterate a
commitment to return to Rwanda, but also repeated calls for
an international committee to oversee the return, a concept
that has been generally rejected by all western governments.
The GDRC by contrast, has not issued a statement to-date.
Embassy PolCounselor asked Kaputo about this on June 27.
Kaputo indicated that the GDRC still intends to issue a
statement, although he was vague on timing or details, and
asserted that the FDLR statement did not change the basic
framework of the strategy he had earlier outlined.
Privately, however, he has told DCM and PolCounselor he feels
that the international community should be more forthcoming
regarding the oversight committee idea.

Military Options


7. (C) The Congolese and the Ambassadors all recognize that
military pressure will be required against combatants in
eastern DRC. The real questions are the size of the target
group, and the related issue of the size of forces and the
scope of operations needed to target the FDLR fighters.
Obviously, the more of existing FDLR combatants that can be
induced to return peacefully, the simpler and more feasible
the scope of the needed operations, an important factor given
limited FARDC capabilities and the relatively modest size of
MONUC forces. In the June 17 and 22 meetings, and in even
more detail in private conversations, Kaputo has stated that
the GDRC intends to use newly-trained integrated brigades in
North and South Kivu. He recognizes, however, that many of
these troops are not yet equipped with even basic gear such
as boots or adequate arms, and the level of training provided
to various units is at best inconsistent. In addition, the
Kitona and Kamina Brigades will still require air transport
for the troops and equipment to the Kivu operational area.
Hence, Kaputo has indicated that the GDRC has been reluctant
to commit to a specific date absent confidence in at least a
minimal degree of military readiness. MONUC has been looking
at its options as well, with a view toward stepping up more
aggressive &cordon and search8 disarmament operations in
the Kivus in essence targeting FDLR units, but MONUC clearly
would like to coordinate its actions with the FARDC.

8. (C) Looking at all the factors, the international
"Tripartite" Ambassadors have proposed the following actions
to encourage FDLR returns as quickly as possible:

a) As previously noted, encouraging the GDRC to issue its
proposed statement, including strong language to clearly and
publicly communicate to the FDLR that the Congolese want the
FDLR out of the DRC, and a deadline date for peaceful returns.

b) A strong UNSC Presidential statement or other action
reinforcing the need for rapid and peaceful FDLR repatriation
to Rwanda, coupled with a call for humanitarian conditions
for such a return, and noting the past record of successful
Rwandan refugee returns. (Comment: The recent refoulement of
refugees from Burundi took place after this recommendation
was formulated. UNSC statement text regarding successful
past returns would need to be carefully drafted to maintain
credibility in light of the Burundi situation. End comment.)
The UNSC statement could reinforce the prospect of military
action, potentially with reference to the GDRC deadline date
if a GDRC communique with such a date is in fact issued.

c) Concurrent messages from capitals expressing similar
ideas, also underscoring the history of safe past Rwandan
refugee returns, and the high degree of international
community interest in the process. Congolese and other
Ambassadors expressed the view that statements from
Washington and London would likely have the greatest
potential impact.

d) Whatever further statement(s) could be obtained from the
Kigali government to provide reassurances of safe and humane
conditions for potential returnees, including unambiguous
assurances regarding those who were too young (e.g., under
the age of 10) to have culpability in the 1994 genocide.
Ideally, a senior-level GOR official traveling to eastern DRC
in cooperation with MONUC could greatly enhance the impact of
the message. Absent any further GOR statement, MONUC should
continue its ongoing program of publicizing past GOR
statements to the maximum extent possible to encourage

e) As great as possible international community support to
equip and train FARDC units as quickly as possible to be
ready for military operations in the Kivus targeting the
FDLR. A particular priority should be put on those units
already integrated, but still lacking basic skills and

f) Support for complementary MONUC operations to put pressure
on FDLR combatants. It was noted, however, the MONUC
processing centers for FDLR members wishing to return should
be maintained to accept all those wishing to return
peacefully to Rwanda.

9. (C) In reviewing these options, and particularly noting
the inevitability of military operations in some form, all
participants in the discussions in Kinshasa have noted that
there will unfortunately likely be significant civilians
casualties. The nature of the terrain in the Kivus,
population density, and the relative mobility and
capabilities of FDLR forces suggest that civilian casualties
are likely to be even higher than those incurred in ongoing
operations in Ituri District targeting militia units.