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VZCZCXR01676 

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN 

DE RUEHSA #0250/01 0381147 

ZNY CCCCC ZZH 

R 071147Z FEB 08 

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3393 

INFO RUCNSAD/ SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE 

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 5288 

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9554 

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 

RUEAIIA/ CIA WASHINGTON DC 

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC 

CONFIDENTIAL SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 000250 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL : 02/07/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL BY SF 

SUBJECT: SAG NEGOTIATOR OPTIMISTIC ABOUT BURUNDI PEACE TALKS 



PRETORIA 00000250 001.2 OF 002 



Classified By: Political Counselor Raymond L. Brown. Reasons 1.4(b) an 
d (d) . 

1[1 . (C) SUMMARY. PolCouns and PolOff on 4 February met with 
SAG Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, Ambassador Kingsley 
Mamabolo, to discuss recent developments concerning the 
possible resumption of peace talks between the CNDD-FDD 
government and the Palipehutu-FNL after a six month 
stalemate. Though South African Safety and Security Minister 
Charles Nqakula will officially oversee the talks, Mamabolo 
said he will remain the SAG's key interlocutor. Mamabolo 
laid equal blame on both sides for past derailments, but is 
more optimistic that this round of peace talks will succeed 
given the FNL ' s desire to compete in 2010 elections. 

However, Jan Van Eck, one of the FNL 1 s key advisors, told 
PolOff the same day that while the FNL agrees in principle to 
the resumption of talks, they still distrust Mamabolo, whom 
they view as biased, and would like him removed from the 
SAG's negotiating team. END SUMMARY. 



SAG OPTIMISTIC 



J.2 . (C) On 4 February, PolCouns and PolOff met with SAG 
Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, Ambassador Kingsley 
Mamabolo, who opened the meeting by joking that "the process 
just keeps refusing to move forward." Throughout the 
discussion, Mamabolo appeared to lay equal blame on both 
sides for the most recent stalemate. The FNL, Mamabolo 
believes, was never really ready to compromise. Instead, he 
suspects the FNL backed out of the last peace deal because 
they wanted more time to collect weapons and recruit more 
soldiers in order to ensure themselves higher-ranking 
positions in the military. (NOTE: Mamabolo complained that 
the current demobilization process is perverse in that it is 
encouraging and rewarding rebels who continue to build their 
ranks. END NOTE) 

f.3 . (C) Mamabolo also said Burundian President Pierre 
Nkurunziza's refusal to offer cabinet-level positions. 
Ambassadorships, or Directorships to the FNL contributed to 
the breakdown of past negotiations. Mamabolo complained that 
Nkurunziza has continually rebuffed Mamabolo 's suggestion 
that he offer the FNL positions on the grounds that it would 
be "unconstitutional." Mamabolo said he does not see a 
problem with accommodating some of the rebels and will 
continue to press the issue. Mamabolo mentioned several 
times as an example of a good faith measure that Nkurunziza 
could "make up a cabinet position like Minister of State," 



for FNL leader Agathon Rwasa. 



f.4 . (C) Despite these hurdles, Mamabolo is more optimistic 
that new negotiations will succeed because "the FNL is more 
anxious to come back than in the past, given the need to make 
itself a legitimate and viable option in the upcoming 2010 
election." He also said he has told Nkurunziza that he needs 
to once and for all accept the FNL into government, otherwise 
they will continue to be a destabilizing force if continually 
excluded from government. 



MAMABOLO AND TANZANIA TO PLAY PROMINENT ROLE, RWASA LESS SO 



15. (C) Mamabolo admitted that he will continue his role as 
the lead negotiator behind the scenes, even though Minister 
for Safety and Security Charles Nqakula will continue to be 
called the SAG's lead facilitator. Mamabolo described 
himself as Nqakula 's "deputy," admitting that with the 
Qhimself as Nqakula's "deputy," admitting that with the 
current political climate in South Africa, it is difficult 
for Nqakula to travel much outside the country without it 
being perceived as either a dereliction or avoidance of his 
domestic portfolio. In a 3 February conversation with 
PolOff, Institute of Security Studies consultant Jan Van Eck 
(who has been advising the FNL) warned that Mamabolo 1 s 
continued presence is going to be a sticking point with the 
FNL, who perceive Mamabolo as pro-government. Mamabolo fully 
acknowledged that he is not well-liked by the rebels, but 
called the accusation that he "twisted arms" during the last 
round of negotiations "utter nonsense." Mamabolo chalks up 
their distrust of him to the fact that "the FNL is being 
badly advised," without naming names. 

16. (C) Van Eck also told PolOff "confidentially" that 
Tanzania will be playing a more prominent, though 
low-profile, role in negotiations. Van Eck told PolOff that 

PRETORIA 00000250 002.2 OF 002 



Tanzanian President Kikwete "realizes that Mamabolo is biased 
and that past negotiations have been unfair." According to 
Van Eck, Kikwete, who is "brave and determined," has asked 
his Foreign Minister Bernard Membe to drive the process 
"behind the scenes." 

17 . (C) As for who is driving the rebels, Mamabolo mentioned 
that while Rwasa still represents the FNL, "it is clear he 
has lost control." Mamabolo described Rwasa as a 
"figure-head like Mandela is to the ANC; the party needed his 
buy-in even though he was not always pulling the strings." 
Mamabolo believes that FNL Spokesperson Pasteur Habimana is 
instead pulling the strings. However, Mamabolo does not 
believe Habimana will return to Burundi for fear of being 
prosecuted for human rights violations, about which he has 
publicly bragged. Van Eck contradicted Mamabolo later that 
day, saying Rwasa continues to be in control, but did admit 
that Rwasa was a "non-emotional diplomat," while Habimana was 
"overly emotional and irrational." Van Eck complained that 
the rebels needed someone in between. 



NEXT STEPS 



11.8 . (C) The SAG was granted on 03 February a twelve-month 
extension from the African Union to continue peace 
negotiations between the CNDD-led government and the FNL. 
Mamabolo said the SAG is looking at integrating all factions 
of the FNL within the next six months and then assessing when 
SAG troops can come home. After integration, the SAG is 
considering suggesting some sort of Truth and Reconciliation 
Process, "which would have to be driven by Burundi, not us," 
said Mamabolo. He also said the SAG intends to start talking 
to international donors, but did not elaborate which donors 
or for what purpose. 



BOST