Viewing cable 08KINSHASA706

08KINSHASA7062008-08-27 16:46:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kinshasa
DE RUEHKI #0706/01 2401646
P 271646Z AUG 08
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1.  (SBU) The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is slowly 
grappling with fundamental governance, security and development 
challenges following historic 2006 national elections.  The promise 
of peace and democratization and the importance of the DRC as the 
linchpin of Central Africa and beyond have made it one of the 
Department's top seven priority assistance countries in Africa.  The 
January 2008 Goma accords between the government and armed groups, 
facilitated by the U.S., UN and EU, created a process aimed at 
achieving peace, security and development in the country's eastern 
provinces.  Widespread insecurity only amplifies a political and 
judicial vacuum throughout the country, contributing to a pervasive 
climate of impunity in which armed men routinely abuse civilians, 
particularly women and children.  There are clear signs the 
population is growing impatient with the pace of the government's 
efforts and skeptical that democracy can solve the country's 
problems.  Your visit will reaffirm U.S. commitment to a long 
partnership with the Congolese people to develop democratic 
institutions and reinforce our shared objective of a peaceful and 
prosperous DRC. 
¶2.  (SBU) Summary continued: The Mission's overriding goals focus on 
reinforcing Congolese political will and capacity for robust and 
effective leadership and oversight at all levels of government, 
while promoting broad economic development.  Together with 
Washington and other diplomatic missions, we will identify and 
engage key decision-makers and implement results-oriented 
initiatives to support transparent governance, legislative 
accountability, judicial independence, political pluralism and 
provincial and local autonomy.  Our assistance programs focus on 
enhancing security, fighting poverty, and supporting democratic 
reforms -- fully supporting and reflecting the transformational 
diplomacy goals laid out by Secretary Rice.  Foreign assistance 
resources for the DRC are increasing.  The FY 2006 bilateral foreign 
assistance budget for DRC programs totaled $68 million, including 
funds received from central accounts but excluding humanitarian 
assistance.  Amounts for FY 2007 rose to $71 million (with 
supplemental funding), and rose again in FY 2008 to over $150 
million (also including supplemental funding), including increases 
for peace and security (including military cooperation), governing 
justly and democratically, health, HIV/AIDS, education, and economic 
growth programs.  Humanitarian assistance has provided an additional 
$80 million per year on average during this period.  This, however, 
does not reveal the full story:  total U.S. assistance, including 
our contribution of approximately $300 million to MONUC plus 
significant donations to other international organizations, are 
likely to bring our total assistance levels to the DRC this year to 
more than $600 million.  End summary. 
Peace and Security 
¶3.  (SBU) Internal and external challenges facing the Congolese 
military (FARDC) will be a key topic of discussion during your 
visit.  The FARDC suffers from low morale, weak command and control, 
widespread corruption, haphazard administration, poor operational 
planning, limited training and equipment, and questionable military 
capability.  State and irregular military forces are responsible for 
many of the worst human rights abuses in the country. 
¶4.  (SBU) Reform of the DRC's security services has achieved little 
success to date.  DRC plans for reform of the military, police, and 
justice sectors presented at a late-February international 
conference on security sector reform (SSR) and follow-up sessions 
lack a sense of priorities and appear to be little more than laundry 
lists to which donors are expected to pledge.  In August 2008 the 
DRC launched another round of technical roundtables in each of the 
following sectors: formation of a Rapid Reaction Force; Disarmament, 
Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR); and the situation in the 
east.  While serving as a useful forum for communication, progress 
has been slow.  Additionally, USG plans to fund the training of an 
infantry battalion are eagerly awaited by the GDRC; your 
interlocutors will be keen to discuss this with you during your 
visit.  However, it will be important to focus on the fact that the 
USG has significant expectations of the GDRC in the context of this 
training, particularly those outlined in the proposed memorandum of 
¶5.  (SBU) Other USG assistance to the DRC security services is 
making an impact in the country.  $20 million in FY 2008 PKO funds 
is projected for the training of an infantry battalion.  FY 2008 ESF 
Supplemental resources and FY 2008 National Defense Authorization 
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Act (NDAA) Section 1207 resources provide support for stabilization, 
SSR, and military justice strengthening efforts.  We have used PKO 
funds to rehabilitate the officer training institute and provide 
training for staff officers and military magistrates and 
investigators.  The International Military and Education Training 
Program (IMET) funds U.S.-based courses that include 
English-language training.  INCLE (International Law Enforcement and 
Control) funds from the Department of State's Bureau of 
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) are being 
allocated to stand up the Congolese border police in Ituri District. 
 The Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Projects 
appropriation - "NADR" -pays for the destruction of obsolete 
ordnance.  In addition, the $300 million in U.S. funding for MONUC 
now also supports its new FARDC training program, designed to assist 
the military plus up its capabilities in the context of its 
operations in the east. 
¶6.  (SBU) Other partners are also involved in SSR.  The EU has long 
had significant involvement in the Congolese security sector, 
including a European mission to assist the FARDC, known as EUSEC. 
EUSEC has been involved in a number of very useful projects, 
including carrying out a census of the FARDC and implementing reform 
in the payment system of the military.  On a bilateral basis, 
France, Belgium and other EU member states have provided substantial 
funding for military reform and training programs.  South Africa and 
Angola have also played major roles, including the training of FARDC 
Challenges in the East 
¶7.  (SBU) You may also wish to discuss the Goma and Nairobi 
processes with your interlocutors and the challenges both are facing 
at the moment.  Implementation of the Goma accords - particularly in 
terms of reaching agreement on issues related to disengagement, 
brassage, and DDR -- has proven to be problematic, highlighted by 
recent unwillingness on the part of the CNDP to engage seriously in 
the process.  The GDRC needs to hear the message that the USG is 
committed to the success of the accords and that, despite 
difficulties, the government must stay within the bounds of the 
process and not opt to resolve the CNDP problem by force. 
¶8.  (SBU) Equally, the government needs to hear the message that the 
USG and international community expect them to do everything in 
their power to isolate and cut off support for the FDLR to ensure 
its disarmament, per the Nairobi communique.  You may also, however, 
wish to congratulate the GDRC for its recent success in convincing 
FDLR-RUD fighters to disarm and relocate.  In addition, you may also 
wish to bring up the Rewards for Justice program and the importance 
the USG places on it as a tool for capturing fugitives. 
¶9.  (SBU) MONUC consists of an 18,000-strong uniformed peacekeeping 
operation, with military contingents in all provinces and major 
cities, and more than 3,000 civilian employees.  With an annual 
budget of over $1 billion, it is the largest and most expensive UN 
peacekeeping operation in history.  The U.S., as the largest 
contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget, funds 27 percent of its 
expenditures, i.e., approximately $300 million per year.  India, 
Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Uruguay and Nepal are the 
leading contributors of peacekeeping troops, each with contingents 
of more than 1,000.  Much more than a simple peacekeeping operation, 
it provides military, transportation, communications and 
administrative services in the absence of a meaningful GDRC presence 
outside Kinshasa and most provincial capitals.  MONUC's Radio Okapi 
is the only FM station broadcasting throughout the DRC in the 
country's five main languages.  MONUC also maintains regular flights 
to all major Congolese cities. 
¶10.  (SBU) Another key aspect of MONUC's activities involves what is 
known as the "stabilization plan," which aims to lay the groundwork 
for the mission's eventual and orderly withdrawal, particularly from 
the east.  The plan is supported by an assistance package for 
implementation, and consists of four principal components: a 
security component, by which armed groups are disbanded through a 
combination of political and military means; a political component, 
which involves GDRC political actors advancing the peace processes; 
a state authority component, by which institutions such as the 
police, judiciary, and other elements of public administration are 
strengthened; and a return and reintegration component, which aims 
to aid and resettle ex-combatants, refugees, and internally 
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displaced persons in local communities.  The USG is providing 
support either directly to or in cooperation with all aspects of the 
stabilization plan through the FY 2008 Foreign Assistance budget, 
the FY 2008 Supplemental ESF appropriation, and the FY 2008 NDAA 
Section 1207 appropriation. 
Democracy and Governance 
¶11.  (SBU) The Congolese people had high expectations that the 
democratic process would improve their lives.  The relatively large 
turnout in the July and October 2006 presidential and parliamentary 
elections demonstrated hopes for a democratic system of government. 
New institutions, however, have been slow to generate momentum.  The 
500-member National Assembly counts only a small number of members 
with legislative or government experience.  The 
Assembly and the 106-member Senate have only begun to consider a 
heavy agenda of major legislation.  Provincial officials are 
unfamiliar with decentralized authority and lack resources, money 
and experience.  Elections for local and municipal officials are 
tentatively scheduled for mid-2009 at the earliest. 
¶12.  (SBU) Parties and candidates aligned with Kabila's electoral 
coalition, the Alliance for the Presidential 
Majority (AMP), have working majorities in the National 
Assembly and Senate, as well as eight of 11 provincial assemblies 
and ten of 11 governorships -- leaving the opposition with little 
apparent political clout. 
¶13.  (SBU) USG governance and institutional reform programs, 
budgeted at $10.2 million for FY 2007 and $18.6 million for FY 2008, 
focus on combating corruption and human rights abuses, developing 
independent judicial and legislative institutions, facilitating 
decentralization of state authority, and supporting local elections. 
 Objectives include long-term transformation, as well as direct 
citizen access to services.  USAID has provided assistance to 
National Assembly deputies drafting key legislative proposals, 
including laws relating to the financing of political parties, 
decentralization, the establishment of a national election 
commission and the protection of human rights.  In addition, USAID 
has conducted capacity-building seminars for National Assembly 
deputies and staffers, supported the creation of provincial watchdog 
and advocacy groups to encourage citizen participation in democratic 
processes, and worked to develop skills of political party members, 
foster grassroots anti-corruption initiatives, and establish mobile 
courts and legal aid clinics. 
Human Rights and Gender-Based Violence 
¶14.  (SBU) Security forces and armed groups remain responsible for 
most human rights violations in the DRC, including unlawful 
killings, disappearances, torture, rape and arbitrary arrest and 
detention.  Human rights advocates have extensively documented the 
involvement of these elements in such abuses. 
Constitutionally-protected freedoms of association, speech, and 
protest are increasingly disregarded by security and administrative 
authorities using vague Mobutu-and colonial-era laws to arrest and 
detain perceived critics.  The Embassy is working with NGOs and 
other diplomatic missions to encourage Parliament to bring these 
laws into line with the 2006 constitution. 
¶15.  (SBU) Sexual violence against women and girls in eastern DRC is 
pervasive.  While most of the recorded attacks have been by armed 
groups and the FARDC, reports of rape by civilians is increasingly 
prevalent.  A general climate of impunity does nothing to discourage 
these acts.  In a recent report, the UN Human Rights Integrated 
Office in the DRC (UNHRO) stated that, despite strengthened laws on 
sexual violence, "law enforcement personnel and magistrates continue 
to treat rape and sexual violence in general with a marked lack of 
seriousness. Consequently, men accused of rape are often granted 
bail or given relatively light sentences, and out-of-court 
settlements of sexual violence cases are widespread."  In fact, 
relatively few cases are reported to the police, and fewer still 
result in prosecution. 
¶16.  (SBU) USAID and the Departments of State and Defense support 
activities to respond to and prevent sexual violence through a 
variety of interventions in the eastern provinces.  Since 2002, 
USAID has allocated more than $10 million for activities to combat 
gender-based violence in the Eastern DRC.  In FY 2008, USAID is 
programming $1.5 million to continue its holistic program of care 
and support for rape survivors and other victims of sexual abuse. 
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The Defense Institute for International Legal Studies (DIILS) taught 
two three-week training sessions on the investigation of sex crimes 
in 2008 to nearly all 350 of the FARDC military magistrates and 
police investigators with investigatory and adjudicatory roles.  The 
program, funded through PKO monies, sponsored sessions in eight 
different sites across the country, and received laudatory comments 
from the international community.  A follow-up proposal for 
additional DIILS training is currently under review. 
Economic Growth 
¶17.  (SBU) Most of the estimated 60 million Congolese have not 
benefited from the country's vast natural resources, including 
minerals, forests and rivers.  With over 90 per cent unemployment 
and an informal sector that rivals the formal economy in size, most 
people survive on less than one dollar a day.  The economy is 
dominated by a large informal sector, and suffers from poor 
infrastructure and endemic corruption.  The government does not 
fully control its resources, and the illegal exploitation of timber, 
diamonds, gold, and strategic metal ore continues.  Despite annual 
GDP growth of nearly six per cent in 2007, per capita GDP is only 
around $120.  At the current growth rate, per capita income will not 
reach pre-independence levels until the middle of the 21st century. 
Economic growth, spurred largely by the mining sector in Katanga 
province, is estimated to be slightly higher for 2008, but inflation 
is forecast to double from under 10 percent in 2007 to a projected 
20 percent or higher in 2008. 
¶18.  (SBU) Despite some progress on macroeconomic and financial 
reforms since 2003, the IMF Poverty Reduction and 
Growth Facility (PRGF) lapsed in March 2007 due to continued 
government overspending and failure to meet structural reform 
targets.  The DRC received little or no direct outside assistance to 
support a $2.5 billion budget for 2007 and a $3.6 billion budget for 
¶2008.  The DRC has been granted Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) 
status.  However, without a PRGF program in place and with little 
prospect of renegotiating one before the end of 2008, the DRC will 
not receive any much-needed debt relief. 
¶19.  (SBU) The 2008 budget, signed into law by President 
Kabila in January, calls for expenditures of $3.6 billion, much of 
it for government salaries (including civil servants, public school 
teachers and military personnel) and the security sector.  Without 
outside budget support in 2008, the GDRC may again face large 
deficits, which it has historically financed through increased 
currency issuance.  The GDRC is making a concerted effort to raise 
state revenue levels, but this may not solve the budget shortfall 
problem.  Since January 2008, GDRC spending has apparently been 
contained within budgetary limits, but many of its expenses will 
come due only during the last quarter of the year.  Military 
expenditures in eastern Congo appear to be driving much of the 
recent overspending. 
¶20.  (SBU) The GDRC is working to implement the Poverty 
Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approved in mid-2006 by the IMF and 
World Bank boards.  The government's five-year program, approved by 
the National Assembly in February 2007, is based on the PRSP and 
focuses heavily on President 
Kabila's five priority areas:  infrastructure; employment; 
education; water/electricity; and health.  Economic growth will 
depend on progress in these areas.  In early 2008 the GDRC concluded 
a major agreement with the Chinese government.  Though not all 
details have been made public, the GDRC announced that it will 
exchange over 8 million tons of copper and over 200,000 tons of 
cobalt for an estimated $6 billion in Chinese-funded infrastructure 
projects, including roads, railway, universities, hospitals, housing 
and clinics.  China will also spend an estimated $3 billion in the 
mining sector on as-yet-unnamed mining concessions.  China is 
exploring other possible "infrastructure for natural resources" 
deals with the DRC. 
¶21.  (SBU) The USG is an active participant in the international 
donors' Country Assistance Framework (CAF) process for 2007-10, 
designed to align assistance strategies and support GDRC efforts to 
implement the PRSP.  Bilateral USG foreign assistance funding for 
economic growth is modest, with only $8 million designated for 
activities to increase agricultural productivity, although this is 
supplemented by a $30 million, three-year Food for Peace program to 
help spur rural development.  USAID has active global development 
alliances with mining, agro-business and health partners. 
¶22.  (SBU) U.S. commercial interests in the DRC are small but 
growing, with a U.S. company (Seaboard Corporation) running the 
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largest flour mill in the country and an American mining company 
(Freeport McMoRan) gearing up to produce an estimated 100,000 tons 
of copper metal by early 2009.  USAID has an existing public-private 
partnership (Global Development Alliance) with Freeport, and USAID 
and the British Department for International Development (DFID) are 
collaborating on efforts to develop new public-private partnerships 
with several important companies in the copper sector and help the 
GDRC implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative 
(EITI).  USAID, through the Central African Regional Program for the 
Environment (CARPE) and the Congo Basin Forestry Partnership (CBFP), 
is working to promote better management of the forestry sector.  The 
U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has granted $500,000 for a 
hydroelectric sector pre-feasibility study, and is looking at the 
transportation (river and rail) sector for further opportunities for 
U.S. investments in DRC infrastructure. 
The Scene Today 
¶23.  (SBU) Your arrival comes at a moment of continued tension, as 
well as continued hope.  The Congolese people look to their 
government, and the international community, for help to bring an 
end to conflicts that have cost billions of dollars, uprooted 
hundreds of thousands of people and resulted in millions of deaths. 
These conflicts have also created an atmosphere of widespread 
insecurity, contributing to a political and judicial vacuum in which 
women and children are routinely abused, and in which the 
perpetrators go unpunished.  There are clear signs the population is 
growing impatient with the pace of the government's efforts and 
skeptical that democracy can solve its problems.  In this 
environment, we ask you to help us to reinforce the following 
-- The Congolese people rightly expect responsible leadership at 
home, as well as supportive international partners.  We will 
continue to support the new leadership to develop transparent 
practices, establish good governance for the well-being of the 
Congolese people, and improve the stewardship of its abundant 
natural resources. 
-- They are eager to realize tangible benefits from their investment 
in democracy.  They must cease being made victims of violence. 
Human rights must be respected and violators punished. 
-- Congo has taken remarkable strides to replace war with peaceful 
democratic change.  The successful elections were a tangible 
demonstration of the people's desire for peaceful governance.  The 
United States is eager to see that momentum continue. 
-- We encourage political and military authorities to pursue a 
peaceful resolution of the security problems which persist in 
-- United States' foreign assistance to the DRC is on the increase 
across a range of sectors, and we look forward to working with the 
GDRC to support the country's development agenda. 
-- The United States will continue to support and work closely with 
the GDRC and MONUC to bring about political reconciliation and to 
prevent further conflict in the DRC and the region. 
-- We strongly support the Nairobi and Goma processes and are 
contributing funds and expertise to ensure their success will bring 
lasting peace and stability to the region.