|09ADDISABABA373||2009-02-10 17:03:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Addis Ababa|
1. (C) Summary: On February 2, on the margins of the
African Union Summit, AF Acting Assistant Secretary Phillip
Carter met Rwanda's Foreign Minister, Rosemary Museminali, to
discuss the Rwandan role in stabilizing Eastern Congo. They
recognized the need for a delicate balance in managing the
human rights dimension of resolving the crisis and of
securing justice. The Foreign Minister emphasized Rwanda
does not anticipate a lengthy involvement in ongoing military
operations and agreed the peace process must evolve with the
collaboration of DRC factions. End Summary.
2. (C) Museminali said the participation of the Rwandan
military in operations in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC) against the Rwandan rebel group Democratic Forces
for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) has established a
situation on the ground that is increasingly stable and will
enhance the ability of the DRC government to protect
civilians. The hope is this operation will mark a new era in
the Kivus, and in the long-term, will result in economic
development. Museminali made clear Rwanda appreciated U.S.
support, and stressed that necessity had dictated the
decision to move forward with Rwandan intervention. She made
clear there is a limited window of opportunity for weakening
the FDLR, and made clear there are no guarantees of success,
although she was optimistic. Carter stressed the United
States will continue to support and encourage DRC-Rwandan
cooperation and dialogue, and hopes inevitable problems will
not derail progress.
3. (C) Asked why the present operations were successful,
Museminali said the political leadership of Rwanda and the
DRC had come together after a series of failures with the
realization that cooperation is essential. This operation is
the culmination of careful planning -- it is not simply
waging a war of attrition against the FDLR. Its aim is the
restoration of control by the DRC and has, as a component,
addressing the various, legitimate interests of the militias
and other groups. It also recognizes the humanitarian
components as integral to the overall operation, and has a
goal of creating the possibility for refugees to repatriate.
Above all, the current operations are predicated on the
assumption that the government of the DRC owns the problem,
as well as the solution. This is a comprehensive joint
operation in which the DRC has primacy.
4. (C) Museminali said the priority for the moment is peace
and security. This includes creating conditions that lead to
the defection, demobilization, and voluntary repatriation of
FDLR soldiers in addition to the dissolution of community
support for the FDLR. The priority for the future is
regional development and regional cooperation, as well as an
effective political process that rests on open dialogue.
Museminali pointed to ongoing discussions in the region aimed
at resuscitating economic development, speaking specifically
of power generation, telecommunications, and the exploitation
of mineral resources. She believes the Economic Conference
of Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) creates a supportive
environment for discussions of regional cooperation and
development. Carter stressed the United States looks forward
to collaboration, dialogue, and exchanges replacing a vicious
with a virtuous cycle. Museminali noted that Rwanda's
presence in Eastern Congo was more an "intelligence
operation" more than a military one. The Rwandans are
expending significant effort on non-military means to
encourage the alienation of the FDLR from Congolese Hutu
groups and to split the FDLR itself.
5. (C) Regarding human rights in the DRC, Museminali said
it will require great skill to maintain a delicate balance
with security. Carter cautioned that, given the visibility
of human rights violations and the apprehension of Nkunda,
the manner in which justice is meted out will be very
important, particularly if the DRC wishes to avoid inflaming
inter-ethnic conflicts and to prevent stories from gaining a
life of their own in the international press. A transparent,
fair judicial process that defuses legitimate concerns raised
by international human rights activists is essential.
Museminali said she favors delinking FDLR-related human
rights issues from the current situation, given the danger of
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initiating something that is unmanageable and which could
exacerbate ethnic tensions.
6. (U) Acting A/S Carter approved this message.