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05KINSHASA653 2005-04-18 11:27:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kinshasa
Cable title:  

KABILA: ELECTIONS PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY, 30 JUNE

Tags:   PGOV CG 
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1. (C) Ambassador met privately April 16 with President
Kabila, at the President's residence. In the wake of a very
positive presentation to the CIAT April 15 by Abbe Malu Malu
(President of the Independent Electoral Commission), in which
he outlined progress on electoral preparations, including the
launch of a public education campaign (septel), Ambassador
reiterated to President Kabila our ongoing support for the
transition as the best -- and indeed only -- route to
elections. He stressed that despite its diverse membership,
the CIAT likewise is completely unified on the need to finish
the transition as provided for by the Sun City Accords,
through the holding of free and fair democratic elections.
Kabila acknowledged the point, but noted that he wished the
CIAT were more active, and clearer in its pronouncements.
The Ambassador noted the difficulty of getting a multilateral
body to be active, but did raise the possibility of a visit
by at least some UNSC members in May as an indication of the
level of interest by CIAT members in ensuring electoral
success.



2. (C) The Ambassador noted that we are concerned about what
appears to be active efforts by some political elements not
party to the transition (note: particularly the UDPS, end
note) to foment social unrest by June 30 in an effort to
force a premature end to the transition. He emphasized that
we have a responsibility to American citizens to try to
ensure their safety and provide them the best possible advice
on what to do. Kabila said that he does not believe there
will be large-scale problems in June, in large part because
the government already is taking "measures" to respond. He
pointed to the launch (possibly as soon as the week of April
18) of a major communications strategy to educate the
population about what already has been done to prepare for
elections, and what remains to be done. This outreach, which
he said would be in coordination with Malu Malu's Independent
Electoral Commission, will involve "most" government
officials, including himself. He will address a joint
Senate-National Assembly meeting May 17 (following the
introduction of the formal request for a six-month extension
of the transition to enable elections to take place). He
expressed confidence that the Assembly will complete debate
on the constitution this month, as scheduled, allowing all
other electoral preparations to fall into place.



3. (C) Returning more directly to the possible problem of
security in June, Kabila said that the government will take
all necessary security measures to ensure that large-scale
problems do not occur. He also reminded the Ambassador that
"Kinshasa is not the country," implying that despite the
relatively shrill rhetoric from the disaffected currently
taking place in Kinshasa, the rest of the DRC would not be as
subject to disturbances. He said he had met recently with
some members of PALU (one of the most aggressive "opposition"
elements currently promoting an end to the transistion), and
said dismissively that they are not even unified themselves.
The Ambassador pointed out that the UDPS, however, has a much
larger following, is present in many places other than
Kinshasa, such as the Kasais, and is much more unified.



4. (U) Kabila asked whether it was true that UDPS leader
Etienne Tshishekedi had been officially invited to visit
Washington. The Ambassador said there had been no invitation
and that a US visit seems to be just a rumor as Tshishekdi's
advisor, Mukendi, had told us April 14 that no visit is
planned. (Comment: UDPS supporters had been putting
together a visit with appointments requested in Washington
and New York, despite Mukendi's denials, as several officials
in the Department and elsewhere had been contacted. The
suggested visit may have been canceled because Tshishekedi
was not being received at what he considered a sufficiently
high level. Alternatively, it may have been that UPDS
supporters had been working on the visit without Tshishekdi's
full approval. End Comment.) Kabila said he was pleased, in
this instance, to have been deceived by a rumor, and added
that "one man" cannot be allowed to set the country back
forty years.



5. (C) Kabila asked if the Ambassador had heard anything
about President Kagame's visit to Washington and April 15
meeting with President Bush. Ambassador replied that he had
not yet received a read-out on the meeting, while noting that
the Congolese need to follow-up quickly on their initial
success with the FDLR announcement in Rome. The decision to
disarm needs to be implemented, he stressed, noting as well
that it will be helpful if Kigali makes this process as easy
as possible.



6. (C) In closing, President Kabila raised the question of
HIPC debt relief for the DRC. The Ambassador responded that
he is hopeful that we soon will receive sufficient funding to
enable interest payments to be paid for the next two years,
and hopes that we therefore will quickly be able to offer a
rescheduling agreement.
DOUHGERTY