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08KINSHASA701 2008-08-26 14:47:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kinshasa
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1. (SBU) Summary: A glitch with the CNDP, which would have
forestalled the August 26 plenary of the Joint Commission, appears
to have been resolved. The International Facilitation team will
meet CNDP and Etumba August 25 to try to ensure the parties stick to
script. End Summary.

2. (SBU) CNDP's Rene Abandi, who serves as the permanent secretary
of the Joint Technical Commission on Peace and Security, left Goma
for Kirolirwe August 21 without having signed off on the invitations
to the August 26 plenary. Without his signature 48 hours in
advance, the agreed rules would have prevented the plenary from
occurring. He was unreachable by telephone. Amani and MONUC
officials feared a negative political signal, i.e., while CNDP Goma
officers had appeared to agree to the plenary and had themselves
proposed a disengagement working group as a way out of the on-going
impasse, they might have received a counter-order from the CNDP
leadership. However, on August 23 Abandi turned up in Goma and
signed off on the invitations.

3. (SBU) The International Facilitation team met August 23 to
discuss the upcoming plenary. MONUC political officer M'hand
Ladjouzi (deputy to Alpha Sow as coordinator of Amani process
issues) said that Abandi had agreed to a meeting of the Facilitation
with the full CNDP delegation in Goma on August 25. He expected
that the government chairman of the commission, Rear Admiral Didier
Etumba, and national coordinator Abbe Malu Malu would return to Goma
on August 25 in time also to meet the team. They had, however,
signaled to Ladjouzi extreme frustration with the CNDP over the
invitations flare-up and unwillingness to return if the problem was
not resolved in time. The team will also meet August 25 with OCHA
to discuss any humanitarian implications of further pull-back.

4. (SBU) The team agreed that it was essential to have Etumba on
board for the working group. It would be best if he, or Malu Malu,
presented the idea to the plenary. Etumba would have to rein in the
sundry armed groups that would otherwise complain at not being
represented in the working group. Meanwhile, the CNDP would have to
agree not to raise other issues, such as refugees and political
prisoners, which would likely sour and derail the meeting. The CNDP
should be warned that doing so would be taken as a signal of lack of

5. (SBU) Issues of concern in establishing this group would be its
composition (military experts from contending factions and concerned
groups, i.e. CNDP, PARECO, FARDC, MONUC military - and also
OCHA/UNHCR and provincial government), mandate (to produce agreed
maps), and duration (perhaps three weeks). The team recognized that
CNDP might take the position that, because of topography, it would
not be in a position to do much pull-back - i.e., PARECO and FARDC
would need to do the pulling back. The team noted MONUC military's
limited capability to secure a wider pull-back zone, and it pointed
to the return of IDP's to any secured areas as the key measure of
success of the effort.

6. (SBU) Goma poloff separately met Alpha Sow, who said he had just
moved full-time into the Amani coordinator position for MONUC,
leaving behind his duties as Head of Office in Goma. However, both
he and the incoming Head of Office will be interim. Sow confirmed
that he remained MONUC's point man for contact with Nkunda, but he
emphasized that MONUC remained reticent about contact with Nkunda,
believing that too much contact plays to his illusions of grandeur.
(Note: Sow and Ladjouzi both have long familiarity with Nkunda.
Sow was Head of Office in Kisangani, with Ladjouzi as his deputy,
when Nkunda was active there. Sow was then Head of Office in
Bukavu, with Ladjouzi as his deputy, when Nkunda pillaged the town
in 2004. End note.) Sow viewed Etumba as generally inflexible
(Etumba had stormed away a few months ago when Sow had contradicted
him on the relative importance of dealing with FDLR versus Nkunda),
although Sow said that Etumba seemed to have become more amenable in
recent weeks. Sow said that MONUC's military capacity for securing
wider pull-back zones was highly limited but there appeared to be no
other way forward.

7. (SBU) On August 21, bandits held up MSF-France at gun point on
the road to Masisi, taking cash and cell phones in a common
operation. MSF-France erred by passing through the two-and-a-half
kilometer no-man's land at 7:00, before MONUC had started its
patrols. MONUC had previously notified the NGO community that it
would patrol the road only from 8:00-10:00 and 15:00-17:00. ICRC
was similarly held up on August 22.

8. (SBU) Comment: The difficulty that MONUC has in securing the
single major road traversing CNDP territory across a relatively
narrow disengagement area is indicative of the greater difficulty it
will face in securing a pull-back territory stretching a hundred
kilometers with indeterminate width. End comment.

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