SECURITY COUNCIL, BRIEFED BY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR DRC, CALLS ON ALL PARTIES TO COOPERATE FULLY
Presidential Statement Voices Concern over Activities of Armed Groups in East
NEW YORK, 24 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this afternoon called on all parties to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fulfil all their commitments, fully implement the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, and complete the disengagement and redeployment of their forces in accordance with the Kampala Plan and the Harare sub-plans, which the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) would verify.
In a statement (document S/PRST/2001/19) read out by its President, Wang Yingfan (China), in the second of two meetings on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Council stated that it was unacceptable that more than one year after the adoption of its resolution demanding the complete demilitarization of Kisangani, the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (RCD) had so far failed to comply. The Council called on it to fully implement its obligations, noting that continued failure to do so might have future implications.
The Council reminded all parties of their obligations to cooperate fully with MONUC. It also urged the relevant parties to expedite the conclusion of their investigation into the killing of six staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the eastern part of the DRC, to report their findings to the ICRC and bring the perpetrators to justice. The Council further stressed the importance of the work of the Organization’s Humanitarian Coordinator.
Serious concern was expressed in the presidential statement over the activities of armed groups in the east of the country. All Congolese parties to the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement were called on to cooperate fully with the Facilitator, Ketumile Masire, former President of Botswana, towards a swift and constructive inter-Congolese dialogue. The statement also expressed the hope that the process would be held on Congolese soil, and respect the choice of the Congolese actors.
The Council statement concluded by commending the outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Kamel Morjane, for his outstanding work and invaluable contribution to the Congolese peace process.
[In September, Mr. Morjane will join the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).]
Briefing the Council in the first of today's two meetings, Mr. Morjane pointed out that in consolidating the positive gains made in the DRC up to now, it was crucial for all parties to show restraint and a spirit of compromise. Only dialogue would make it possible to overcome the fear and doubts concerning the true commitment of the parties. The continued attacks and violent acts of armed groups urgently required a visionary strategy. The parties should stop creating obstacles to the work of the Mission and resorting to delaying tactics.
The Secretary-General said restoration of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic would ultimately lie with the success of the inter-Congolese dialogue. Expressing his gratitude to Mr. Morjane, he said the Special Representative and Head of the Mission had helped bring the parties back to the path of negotiation, and had given the Congolese people new hope of escaping the cycle of violence and instability.
He went on to say that the third phase of MONUC’s deployment was about to begin, and as his outgoing Special Representative had said, "we are still far from the point in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the peace process is irreversible".
The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo highlighted the improved relations between his Government and the United Nations, saying that the Organization and associated personnel were warmly welcomed. Regarding the withdrawal of foreign forces and the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and resettlement (DDRRR) process, he said all the regional leaders had confirmed their intention to withdraw from his country.
Now, he continued, it was important to turn their words into deeds. Some, however, remained reluctant to do so, particularly in the areas rich in natural resources. The monitoring role of MONUC should be emphasized and, in that respect, his Government had proposed increasing the strength of the Mission to 20,000 soldiers.
Following the briefing, statements were made by the representatives of France, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Mali, Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Singapore, Russian Federation, United States, Norway, Jamaica, Ukraine, United Kingdom, China, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), Rwanda, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Mr. Morjane also responded to the questions and comments from the participants in the discussion.
Today’s first meeting started at 10:08 a.m., was suspended at 1:10 p.m., resumed at 4:41 p.m. and was adjourned at 5:09 p.m. The second meeting lasted from 5:10 to 5:18 p.m.
The text of the statement read out by the President, to be issued as document S/PRST/2001/19, reads as follows:
"The Security Council takes note with satisfaction of the progress made so far in the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"The Security Council calls on all the parties to the conflict to fulfil all their commitments, implement fully the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement (S/1999/815) and completes the disengagement and redeployment of their forces in accordance with the Kampala plan and the Harare sub-plans, which the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) will verify.
"The Security Council finds it unacceptable that more than one year after the adoption of its resolution 1304 (2000) of 15 June 2000, containing the demand completely to demilitarize Kisangani, reiterated in resolution 1355 (2001) of 15 June 2001, the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie has thus far failed to comply with it. The Security Council calls on the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie to implement fully and immediately its obligations under resolution 1304 (2000), and notes that continued failure to do so may have future implications.
"The Security Council reminds all the parties of their obligation to cooperate fully with MONUC and of their obligations with respect to the security of civilian populations under the fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949. The Council urges the relevant parties to expedite the conclusion of their investigation into the killing of six International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, to report their findings to the ICRC and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"The Security Council calls on all parties to facilitate and support humanitarian efforts of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations. It stresses the importance of the work of the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator.
"The Security Council reiterates its call for the cessation of the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this regard, it calls on all parties to cooperate fully with the expert panel and, looking forward to the addendum to the report of the panel, reiterates its readiness to consider the necessary actions to put an end to this exploitation.
"The Security Council reiterates its demand on all parties to accelerate the finalization and the implementation of comprehensive plans for the orderly withdrawal of all foreign troops from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and resettlement of all armed groups referred to in Annex A, Chapter 9.1, of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement.
"The Security Council expresses serious concern over the activities of the armed groups in the east of the country. It takes note with interest of the invitation by the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to MONUC to visit the camps where some members of the armed groups have reportedly been quartered by the Forces Armées Congolaises, and stresses the importance of MONUC assisting, within its capabilities, in the early implementation, on a voluntary basis, of the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and resettlement of these armed groups, in accordance with the authorization given in its resolution 1355 (2001). The Council requests in this regard the donor community, in particular the World Bank and the European Union, to provide financial and in-kind contributions as soon as possible to MONUC in the implementation of this mission.
"The Security Council reiterates its firm support for the Inter-Congolese Dialogue and the efforts of the Facilitator and his team in the field. It emphasizes the importance of an open, representative and inclusive dialogue, free from outside interference and involving civil society, leading to a consensus settlement. It calls on the Congolese parties to the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement to cooperate fully with the Facilitator to enable him to conduct the process in a swift and constructive manner. It expresses the hope that the Dialogue can be held on Congolese soil, respecting the choice that the Congolese actors themselves will make. It encourages donors to continue to provide support to the Facilitator’s mission.
"The Security Council welcomes the recent high-level meetings between the Presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda and encourages them further to pursue the dialogue to find solutions to their common security concerns in accordance with the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement.
"The Security Council reiterates its commitment to support full implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. It reaffirms that the primary responsibility for implementing the Agreement lies with the parties. The Council urges them to demonstrate the necessary political will by cooperating with each other and with MONUC in achieving this goal. It expresses its readiness to consider, subject to necessary progress made by the parties and to recommendations of the Secretary-General, the possible expansion of MONUC if and when the Mission enters its third phase.
"The Security Council commends the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ambassador Kamel Morjane, for his outstanding work and invaluable contribution to the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo."
When the Security Council meets this morning, it will consider the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Council is expected to hear a briefing by Kamel Morjane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in that country and Head of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General, said over the past few months there had been several positive developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ceasefire was holding, despite some allegations of violations, which MONUC was investigating, and most of the forces had withdrawn in accordance with the Harare Disengagement Plan. MONUC’s relations with the Government of the Democratic Republic remained positive and cooperative. He had also had a very constructive meeting with President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Paul Kagame of Rwanda in Lusaka earlier this month, where both men had pledged to improve their dialogue and cooperation.
He said the restoration of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo would ultimately lie with the success of the inter-Congolese dialogue. He expressed his gratitude to his Special Representative, Kamel Morjane, who was leaving his present position. During his service, he had helped bring the parties back to the path of negotiation, and had given the people of the Democratic Republic new hope of escaping the cycle of violence and instability. Mr. Morjane’s successor would face considerable challenges. The third phase of MONUC’s deployment was about to begin, and as the outgoing Special Representative had said, "we are still far from the point in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the peace process was irreversible".
Mr. Annan went on to say that only last month three respected non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had spoken of the appalling humanitarian and human rights situation encountered by millions of Congolese and the serious obstacles to be overcome. Perhaps chief among the issues was the central one of disarmament, demobilization and repatriation (DDR) of armed groups. Without progress in that area, progress in others would be very difficult. The continued resolve of the Council, which had been steadfast in its support of the Democratic Republic of the Congo peace process, would be essential, he stressed.
Briefing the Council, KAMEL MORJANE, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Head of MONUC, said that settling the conflict shaking the DRC was essential for peace and security in Africa. A recent Security Council mission and the Secretary-General’s visit to the area were of great importance towards that end.
The peace process in the DRC was under way, he continued. The political changes in Kinshasa, the holding of the ceasefire, the disengagement and redeployment of forces and deployment of the MONUC component were favourable signs, but peace was not certain, and there would certainly be obstacles on the way. To consolidate the situation at this point, it was crucial for all parties to show restraint and a spirit of compromise by refraining from any acts that could contribute to the deterioration of the situation. Only dialogue would make it possible to overcome the fear and doubts concerning the true commitment of the parties.
It was with satisfaction that he perceived the continuation of the dialogue between the leaders of the region, he said, which should be continued without fail. That was the only way to normalize the situation in the region. The continued attacks and violent acts of armed groups urgently required a visionary strategy. The parties must show political will to reconcile, and contribute to regional stability, working towards unity of the country.
He went on to say that all parties had an obligation not only to respect the ceasefire and refrain from violence, but also to cooperate with MONUC. They should stop creating obstacles to the work of the Mission and resorting to delaying tactics. The Mission needed to receive the assistance that it needed, including firm guarantees of the parties’ commitment to the peace process. They should also show good faith and learn to trust each other. The beginning of the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and resettlement (DDRRR) of armed groups was of great importance and required cooperation from the parties.
He noted the initiative of the Rwandan Government, which had designed and begun to implement its plan of partial withdrawal. Namibia had also shown such willingness. The plan for the next, third stage of MONUC was needed at this point. Peace could only be lasting if it was accompanied by the plans for ex-combatants. Among the goals of MONUC were verification of the parties’ withdrawal, resumption of river travel and monitoring of the situation in the country. It was important to stop illegal use of the country’s natural resources, which should become a factor of economic cooperation and a source of life and energy.
He concluded that soon he would be leaving MONUC, and he wanted to thank the Secretary-General for his kind words. He also thanked the Council members for their unwavering support. Trust and cooperation of all the parties had also been important for his work.
JEAN DAVID LEVITTE (France) expressed the sadness felt today in saying not goodbye but farewell to Mr. Morjane, the outstanding special representative of the Secretary-General who had displayed extraordinary political skill and tireless efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He had given the people of that country the best possible image of the United Nations. Today, the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was on a good footing, and the ceasefire was holding.
There was a need for the inter-Congolese dialogue to be held as soon as possible on Congolese soil, he insisted. Since the publication of the report of group of experts last April on the exploitation of Congolese natural resources, the issue had become one that was engaging the growing awareness by the international community as it was being recognized as the driving force of conflict. He hoped there would be progress soon in addressing that serious factor. The peace process in Burundi, which impacted the peace efforts in the entire region, had also experienced important developments. The Burundi situation was fragile and full of hidden dangers, he warned.
The plethora of difficulties and major obstacles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo still had to be overcome, he stressed. The Council must have a clear vision of the tasks to be fulfilled. Gains won must be maintained and intensified. Bilateral contacts among belligerents must be encouraged to improve confidence among the parties. There also called for all parties to cooperate fully and daily with MONUC.
He underscored that it was unacceptable for United Nations personnel to be subjected to pressures and threats. He also stressed that the activities of armed groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi were still a major threat to peace. That issue must be addressed. The re-establishment of the river routes, which was a vital link for the Congolese, must be pursued with the cooperation of all parties as well.
NOUREDDINE MEJDOUB (Tunisia) said that the assessment of the situation, which had been provided by the Secretary-General and his Special Representative demonstrated that there was progress, but the peace process was still fragile, and significant obstacles remained. The acquired momentum could be easily lost, and it was important to make the dynamic of peace irreversible. The parties had a primary responsibility for achieving peace. For that reason, they should implement their commitments to the international community and each other. He reiterated the call to the parties to implement the plans for orderly withdrawal and DDRRR of armed groups.
He also called upon the parties to fully cooperate with MONUC and urgently demilitarize Kisangani in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, because recent discussions of the Security Council mission to the area had shown that Kisangani had a symbolic value for the parties. The Security Council had an important role to play in encouraging the parties to move forward and support the efforts of MONUC.
Resumption of the activities of armed groups in some areas was a source of concern, he said. A recent meeting between Presidents Kabila and Kagami required urgent follow-up, and all players should resume their efforts to normalize the situation. It was important to grasp the opportunity to achieve peace. An inter-Congolese dialogue was of utmost importance under the Lusaka Agreement. Another source of concern was a humanitarian situation in the country, which required massive aid on behalf of the international community. In that connection, he welcomed the efforts of humanitarian agencies to relieve the suffering of the people and called on all the parties to facilitate those efforts.
Regarding illegal exploitation of natural resources, he said the investigation of the situation should continue. It was important to stop such illegal activities, and all parties should fully cooperate with the group of experts. The strong desire of the Congolese people for peace should receive assistance from the international community. Support should also be provided for the country’s economic recovery. The United Nations should be prepared for the reconstruction phase of the peace process in the country. As far as regional and global visions of peace and security were concerned, the international conference on the Great Lakes region could lay the foundation for good neighbourly relations between the countries concerned.
Following the transition from the second to the third phase of MONUC deployment, the Mission should be supported, he said. The MONUC was to acquire new important duties. The DDRRR of armed groups in the DRC should take place without delay. The DRC was an immense country with great potential, and the international community should assist it effectively. His country today contributed to MONUC, and he hoped that the dialogue, which had begun between the countries of the region, would allow the parties to swiftly implement the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement.
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that progress had been made in the past year, and the challenge now was to see how to make the peace process irreversible. Difficulties had remained, however, and three factors were key to moving the process forward –- disengagement and withdrawal, expansion of MONUC and inter-Congolese dialogue. In terms of disengagement and withdrawal, the Mission continued to face difficulties in deploying itself and carrying out its mission. Indeed, the disengagement and withdrawal process that would demonstrate real progress in implementing the Lusaka Agreement had not advanced. The rebel movement had not yet complied with the Council's demand to withdraw from Kisangani, whose demilitarization could provide the necessary rehabilitation of its inhabitants. In the Equateur province, the Front de liberation du Congo (FLC) had not yet demonstrated understanding and ceded administration to the Government, as per the Kampala Disengagement Plan.
Also, the early commencement of the inter-Congolese dialogue was of crucial importance for engaging the parties in the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement. Hopefully, arrangements were being made for holding the conference on the new date of 20 August, following a recent postponement, apparently for technical reasons. The dialogue must start as soon as possible. It must be open, representative and inclusive, and it must be free from any outside interference. Further, it should allow for the full participation of Congolese civil society. Concerning the Mission's expansion, it had been long argued by the Government and its allies that its size had not corresponded to the demands of the situation. The Secretary-General, in his last report, had said that, at present, he was not asking for enlargement of MONUC beyond the authorized strength. At the new stage that might be set once progress had been made by the parties in disengagement and withdrawal, however, MONUC's expansion should be considered.
He said that perhaps the parties were not taking seriously the will and capacity of the United Nations. The difference that a credible United Nations presence could make had been seen in Sierra Leone. With respect to civilians' security, could the Council, with due regard to the reality on the ground and respect for its own relevant resolutions, continue to say that MONUC could not provide that? The entry into a third phase should not be delayed, either by the Council or because of lack of preparedness. Constant pressure should be applied on the parties to live up to their commitment. At the same time, the Council should demonstrate its commitment to support the full implementation of the Lusaka Agreement. Preparedness was of crucial importance, and the United Nations sorely lacked it. "Let us not be caught by surprise", he said. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was an enormous country, and with 16 million people affected by the war, the challenges of peacekeeping and peace-building would be enormous.
SEKOU KASSÉ (Mali) paid tribute to Mr. Morjane, underscoring that the Special Representative had succeeded due to his determination, wisdom and talent in creating an atmosphere of confidence and cooperation between the United Nations and parties involved in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today more than ever, there was a need to move forward despite the difficulties being encountered in the DRC, and particularly with the disengagement of Kisangani. There was an imperative need to move forward with the total withdrawal of all foreign forces in the DRC. That was urgently required for the restoration of peace.
He said action on the situation in Kisangani, had been referred to in chapter 7 of Council resolution 1304 (2000). The Council should plan to take measures to end the unacceptable and dangerous situation there. He called for a strengthening of the city by sending two more peacekeeping contingents to it. Kisangani should also host the inter-Congolese dialogue and be the locale to head the military mission. Without DDR, there would be no withdrawal of foreign forces. In addition, the political will of the parties would not achieve objectives of peace. They needed international assistance, as well. Also, any peace process must be accompanied by economic assistance. He, therefore, reiterated appeals made to the donor community.
ALFONSO VALDIVIEZO (Colombia) said that peace in the DRC was the primary task of the Congolese themselves, but the presence of MONUC was a positive factor. After the cessation of hostilities, phase III of the Mission acquired special importance. First of all, the complete demilitarization of Kisangani should be concluded. That would alleviate the suffering of the population and restore trust. Located at the heart of the country, that city was of great importance to the peace process. It was also necessary to resume civil navigation on the Congo river, and the presence of MONUC was of great importance in that respect. The so-called "boat for peace" programme would provide food and supplies to the population and support the humanitarian actions in the area.
The activities of the regular forces in the eastern provinces remained a source of concern, and he condemned a series of human rights violations there, which had been taking place with impunity. The authorities should refrain from providing support to any armed groups in the area. It was also important to begin the DDRRR of armed groups. Any negligence or delay in addressing those concerns could become a serious obstacle to the peace process. He shared other Council members’ concern about humanitarian situation in the country. He also supported the urgent call to the donors to provide stable and adequate contributions to the DRC. He welcomed the relief workers who persevered in their humanitarian efforts in a hostile environment.
RICHARD RYAN (Ireland) wished Mr. Morjane success and said that when the Special Representative had commenced his task, no one would have anticipated reaching a stage where there was now guarded success in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His country also subscribed to the European Union position, which would be given later by Belgium.
He said the military situation in the DRC had not yet reached the positive point of no return and the potential for relapse to violence still remained. The Council must, thus, send out a clear signal that it intended to protect, maintain and preserve all achievements made so far. All the relevant parties also had to implement the Lusaka Agreements.
While developments in the DRC were moving in the right direction, he expressed concern at the slow pace, stressing that more needed to be done faster. All foreign troops must evacuate the country, support for armed groups must end, and Kisangani must be demilitarized. The parties must also take the necessary steps to enable the DDR and resettlement of armed troops while ensuring respect for human rights and upholding international humanitarian law. The inter-Congolese dialogue process must also not be allowed to falter. Tolerance, reconciliation and justice would be required to revive Congolese national life.
He said the humanitarian situation in the DRC was shocking. It was not enough for armed forces to just cease hostilities; they must also observe international humanitarian standards. Also, those who had committed war crimes must be held accountable for their wrongdoing.
JADISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) noted that there was overall progress in the country, and there were signs that the parties were prepared to take the peace process forward. However, there was also a chance that the process could be reversed with devastating consequences. He attached great importance to the continued inter-Congolese dialogue, and the preparatory meeting scheduled for August should take place without delay, for it was important to take advantage of the positive developments. He was also concerned about the resumption of violence in the two Kivu provinces and called for the full implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement there. The DDRRR process should not be delayed.
He welcomed the recent meeting between Presidents Kagame and Kabila. Such bilateral meetings could go a long way towards normalization of the situation in the region.
It was totally unacceptable that MONUC staff should face obstructions and harassment in the implementation of their work, he said. The Mission should be able to carry out its efforts without hindrance, for it played an important role in the country. He also noted that the present size of MONUC was inadequate, and it was not yet fully deployed. Hesitation should not compromise the peace process in the DRC. When planning future actions of the Mission, it was important to take into consideration the situation after the withdrawal of foreign troops. All the parties should provide all the details, which needed to be verified by MONUC, so that the next phase could be planned accordingly.
The peace process needed to be accompanied with proper economic assistance, he said. At this stage, it was important to start thinking about the post-conflict phase, which should include rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers. The donors should assist the Government in its economic recovery efforts. He also drew attention to the need to implement the experts’ recommendations regarding the use of natural resources, condemning their illegal exploitation. The humanitarian situation remained a source of concern, and he called for all parties to guarantee access to all areas for humanitarian workers.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said prospects for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were never as good as they were today. One of the reasons for that was Mr. Morjane. He paid tribute to the Special Representative’s efforts in the DRC.
He said the peace gains achieved so far in the DRC could be compared to a cracked boulder being pushed uphill with the risk of it rolling back. The first challenge, therefore, was to prevent the Congolese peace process from backsliding. The Council must, thus, closely review the situation in the Democratic Republic, while relationships between the Congolese Government and its neighbours must continue to improve.
He said Kisangani and its environs must be demilitarized immediately and without delay. The Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (RCD) Goma troops still there were in violation of Council resolution 1304 (2000) which was passed more than a year ago. The parties must also show a greater commitment to the peace process. The last challenge was to ensure that a long-term peace would be built in the DRC. In achieving that, the inter-Congolese dialogue was key. An interdisciplinary mission could also be sent by the Secretariat to the Democratic Republic and the Great Lakes region.
ANDREY E. GRANOVSKY (Russian Federation) said he had mixed feelings about the situation in the DRC. On the one hand, progress was evident in the disengagement of the foreign forces, and preparations were under way for the inter-Congolese dialogue. On the other, he was concerned about the delay in the retreat to the agreed positions and obstructions to the implementation of the peace process. On the whole, the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement had acquired positive dynamics. He had particular hopes for the dialogue, which was taking place between the leaders of the DRC and the neighbouring countries regarding the problems of ensuring mutual security. He supported that process, which was linked with the solution of the DDRRR of armed groups.
While in favour of the strict implementation by all parties of the demand for the cessation of providing support to the armed groups, Russia stressed the need to resolve all the issues of DDRRR strictly on the voluntary basis, he continued. The MONUC should support that process. He also supported consultations with international financial institutions to provide support for the DDRRR. In the long term, however, success depended on the settlement of inter-ethnic differences and democratization of the political life in all the countries of the Great Lakes region.
Turning to his country’s concerns, he said that more than a year after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1304 demanding demilitarization of Kisangani, the leadership of the RCD was stubbornly refusing to implement it. It was also actively opposing the implementation of the mandate of MONUC. Such a situation was unacceptable. It was an open challenge to the Council and the international community as a whole. The situation had reached a point where the Council must consider additional measures to assure the demilitarization of Kisangani. The first step could be a ban by the Member States of the issuance of entry visas for the leadership of the RCD.
Supporting the activities of MONUC, he emphasized that the decisive factor in achieving peace was consistent demonstration of the political will for peaceful settlement by the parties. He called on them to implement their obligations under relevant international instruments. In conclusion, he thanked Mr. Morjane for his contribution to the settlement of the conflict in the DRC. Under his leadership, a breaking point had been achieved in the peace efforts in that country, and the logic of agreement had replaced the logic of war.
JAMES CUNNINGHAM (United States) paid tribute to the outstanding work of MONUC, under Mr. Morjane’s leadership, in the quest for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His delegation would also subscribe to the presidential statement that would be issued later.
He said the United States did not accept the argument of the RCD government that the military presence in Kisangani was necessary to ensure human rights. His delegation, however, acknowledged and accepted that a demilitarized Kisangani would require a strengthened MONUC contingent. Also, despite all the talk of DDR and resettlement, there was still not enough progress. He underscored the importance of including representatives of the United Nations humanitarian community to ensure that there was a proper humanitarian focus in resettlement activities.
He said that as long as the Ex-FAR (Forces armées rwandaises) and Interahamwe were being armed by the Congolese Government and its allies, there would be no DDR. The lack of progress in DDR was the reason that there had not been broader progress in the quest for peace in the region. The United States was also troubled by the failure of the Government of the DRC to accept the new United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the country. He urged that Government to revise its position stating that the lack of such a coordinator would be to the detriment of the Congolese people.
He said that for peace to take root in the region, all foreign forces had to evacuate the DRC. In addition, the inter-Congolese dialogue must give the people the first accountable government, while the practice by regional governments of entering into certain practices with non-State actors must end. A Great Lakes conference on good governance was perhaps necessary. Maybe now was the time to take that proposal off the back burner.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said that the challenges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were enormous and complex and had continued to pose a threat to regional stability. Some 2.5 million people were estimated to have died from war-related causes there during the past few years. That had made it all the more important for the Council to seek broad guidance and support for its continued handling of the situation. The only viable solution to the conflict was a political settlement. The continuation of warfare would only deepen wounds and drive the country further into devastation and chaos. Despite some recent positive signs, he had remained concerned about the parties' slow pace in honouring the key commitments. He was also concerned about the appalling humanitarian situation.
While he welcomed the progress made so far towards disengagement of forces, he said he was deeply concerned about reports indicating that the demilitarization process was behind schedule, and that the Government, as well as rebel troops, were still holding positions, which, according to the agreement, should have been abandoned. That was unacceptable and threatened to undermine the entire peace process. In that regard, he appealed, in particular, to the RCD to take swift action to withdraw its troops, thereby contributing to the full demilitarization of Kisangani. Moreover, the full withdrawal of all foreign troops from the territory should also be addressed without further delay. In the wake of the disengagement process, there was a real danger that unarmed civilians, particularly in the eastern portion of the country, would fall victim to reprisals due to their ethnic background or political affiliation. Among those civilians were large numbers of children who, following demobilization, would be particularly vulnerable. He, therefore, supported the calls for rapid deployment of human rights and child-protection officers.
The inter-Congolese dialogue was a cornerstone in the peace process, as that clearly had the potential of reuniting different groups and factions, he went on. Its success would depend on its accessibility and transparency. Full freedom to express opinions was an absolute prerequisite in that regard. Recent reports of detention and intimidation of human rights defenders and civil society actors associated with the dialogue, therefore, were unacceptable and counterproductive. Another topic requiring urgent consideration was the prevailing impunity in the country. There could be no lasting peace without justice and accountability. Indeed, a failure to address that issue might seriously hinder reconciliation and lead to further atrocities and conflict. An accurate, impartial and thorough investigation of the facts was needed, and effective mechanisms to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice should be considered.
PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said that a year ago, the prospects for the achievement of peace in the DRC had seemed dim, but now a window of opportunity had been opened. The peace process remained fragile, however, and it was important to act decisively in order to bring lasting peace to the region. She was cognizant of the need for the regional solutions in view of the regional dimension of the conflict.
The parties should carry out their respective responsibilities, she continued, and a significant increase in volume of the dialogue was having a positive impact on the situation. It was important to further develop and coordinate the withdrawal plans, and DDRRR was important for the third phase of the Mission to be carried out. The DDRRR was one of the major challenges facing the Lusaka peace process. Political developments in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda were also important for ensuring the success of the peace process.
In its resolution 1341 of February 2001, the Council had urged all parties to cooperate with MONUC in implementing the DDRRR plans, she said. However, there were recent ominous reports testifying to the provision of support to various armed groups. Equally troubling were reports suggesting forced recruitment of soldiers, including children. That must be brought to an end immediately. Another factor was a lack of freedom of movement in the country. The rivers must be open to commercial traffic without delay. The economic benefits were obvious to everyone, and it was also important for confidence building and reconciliation.
Reports of human rights abuses were disturbing, particularly in the eastern region, she said. The level of insecurity severely restricted the delivery of aid to those areas. Those abuses must not go unpunished. There were also reports indicating that illegal exploitation of natural resources had continued unabated and even increased. The Council must send a message to all those involved that it was prepared to take action to put an end to the plundering of the country. In that connection, she noted the intention of the Government of Uganda to establish an inquiry concerning the illegal exploitation of resources, saying that it should be carried out with utmost transparency.
Kisangani needed to be completely demilitarized, she said. The RCD-Goma and its supporters should act in compliance with relevant resolutions. As in the past, her delegation fully supported the inter-Congolese dialogue under facilitation of the former President of Botswana, Katumile Masire. It must also be recognized that civil society, including women, had an important role in the process. Lessons could be learned from experiences of other war-torn regions in that respect. The conflict in the DRC could not be resolved without taking into consideration the interests of its neighbours. An international conference on the peace and security in the Great Lakes region could be helpful in that respect. The preparations for such a conference should begin now. An interdisciplinary mission could be sent to the area in preparation for the conference.
She concluded that the Council must continue to take action to further the cause of peace in the DRC. If the parties failed to act now, the window of opportunity could be shut. She also paid tribute to the diplomatic talents of Mr. Morjane, to whom she wished all the best.
VOLODYMYR G. KROKHMAL (Ukraine) said that despite some recent positive steps, it was still not possible to say that the peace process had become irreversible. Indeed, the process was still unstable and precarious. He was increasingly concerned about the parties' implementation of commitments under the Lusaka Agreement and of a number of existing arrangements between them. It had appeared that the pace of implementation had slowed somewhat, and the mistrust between the parties had begun to grow. That was an extremely dangerous situation that should be defused at any cost for the sake of the future of the country and of the region, as a whole. Thus, he, once again, vigorously urged the parties to preserve the current conditions and take practical measures to establish cooperation with the United Nations, within the framework of concerted efforts to ensure the success of the peace process.
He expressed deep concern about the parties' delays in finalizing the disengagement and redeployment of forces plans, which was a key to advancing the peace process. The DDR of all armed groups must be implemented, effectively and without delay, he said. It was urgent to deprive the negative forces of any support, and to monitor the related process. It was also extremely important to boost that process and ensure that it covered forces operating in the eastern part of the Congo. Another problem had been the demilitarization of Kisangani. It was absolutely unacceptable that now, after more than a year since adoption of Security Council resolution 1304 (2000), the RCD-Goma forces had remained there.
ALISTAIR HARRISON (United Kingdom) joined others in paying a warm tribute to Mr. Morjane for his constant and vigourous efforts and for driving the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo forward in difficult situations. There was now a window of opportunity in that country.
He said there had been sticking points along the way and some still remained. The RCD-Goma had still not demilitarized Kisangani while some armed groups were still in positions not agreed upon in the Harare sub-Plan. The gains made so far were not, by any means, irreversible. The DRC must continue to move forward, as backsliding could result in a return to violence. Serious and practical DDR planning was essential to move the peace process forward, and MONUC should be ready to respond to any requests for assistance in the process.
He said the recent meetings between some of the leaders of the parties to the conflict were extremely important to build up the necessary confidence to move forward. It was encouraging that Presidents Kabila and Kagame had agreed to stay in steady contact. Only a genuinely all-inclusive inter-Congolese dialogue would provide the groundwork for real peace. There was also a dire need for humanitarian assistance across the country. It was regrettable that the Government of the DRC had objected to the appointment of a new humanitarian coordinator. He hoped some agreement would be made soon.
WANG YINGFAN (China), assuming his role as a country representative, said the peace process was now at a critical juncture. It was challenging, therefore, for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the States of the Great Lakes region and the United Nations to find a way to keep that hard-won momentum and motivate the process, in order to achieve lasting peace and development in the country and the region. The conflict was too complicated for quick and easy solutions. Thus, the Council should seize the opportunity, remain focused and advance the peace process in a step-by-step and well planned manner. In particular, three questions deserved its attention: the DDRRR of the armed groups; the demilitarization of Kisangani; and the deployment of MONUC.
He said that implementation of the process of DDRRR had hinged on three crucial conditions: real progress in the inter-Congolese dialogue; a total cessation of assistance of all kinds to armed groups, including weaponry and military assistance; and timely and adequate financial and economic assistance from the international community. The demilitarization of Kisangani should be realized as soon as possible. In that regard, he endorsed the proposed increase of MONUC's deployment in Kisangani and recommended that the Mission step up its contacts with RCD-Goma, with a view to applying pressure on the latter to implement Council resolution 1304 (2000). The inter-Congolese dialogue should be held on the Congolese territory at an appropriate time and free of foreign interference. Realization of the United Nations' goal at Kisangani would mark an important step in the progress towards peace.
The third phase of MONUC's deployment, he said, represented a crucial step taken by the United Nations to promote and consolidate a durable peace in the country and the entire Great Lakes region. Member States and the Secretariat, therefore, should remain ready to ensure that both human and material resources would be in place once the decision to deploy was made. Economic reconstruction and development was also vital to a lasting peace and stability in the DRC, and the international community, therefore, should give equal weight to that issue. The focus should be on guaranteeing the continuous opening of navigation of the Congo River and the early realization of the small projects proposed by the Council's mission to the region.
ILEKA ATOKI (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said that President Joseph Kabila gave priority to the return to peace and economic development, and his country would spare no efforts to implement the Lusaka Agreement and relevant resolutions of the Council. As had been pointed out in the briefing, the relations between his Government and the United Nations had greatly improved. The United Nations and associated personnel were warmly welcomed throughout the country. That reflected deep hopes that the population placed on MONUC and their appreciation of the work done by the United Nations.
It was necessary to capitalize on a true opportunity for peace, which existed in the country, he continued. Towards that end, it was crucial to establish trust with the neighbouring countries, which would ensure a return to normalcy. He strongly encouraged the Council to constantly reassess its management of the Great Lakes crisis. Regarding the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, its Facilitator, President Masire, had informed his Government of the decision to postpone the preparatory meeting, which had been initially scheduled to take place on 16 July. His Government understood the reasons for such a delay. Prior withdrawal of foreign forces would ensure the smooth implementation of the peace process.
To end impunity, it was important to punish the perpetrators of war crimes and human rights violations, he said. Reintegration of the child soldiers was also important. On 30 June, the DRC had adopted a Congolese Charter for human rights, which abolished capital punishment, introduced democracy and ensured equality of its citizens. As for the plundering of national resources, it was continuing unbridled. The investigation should continue to allow the Council to take all necessary measures to put an end to the waste of resources, which belonged to the Congolese people. He assured the Council of his Government’s full cooperation with the group of experts in that respect.
Turning to the situation in the north of the country, he said one of the parties had not carried out its disengagement plans in violation of the relevant resolutions of the Council and Kampala/Harare agreements. That intentional delay did not allow the central Government to take full control of the area. As the party in question continued to insist on its full withdrawal, its disengagement needed to be verified by MONUC. The demilitarization of Kisangani had also not been achieved.
As for the withdrawal of foreign forces and the DDRRR process, all the leaders of the region had confirmed their intention to withdraw, he said. Now, it was important to turn their words into deeds, but some remained reluctant to do so, particularly in the areas rich in natural resources. As it was important to monitor those activities, the role of MONUC should be emphasized. Phase III of the MONUC deployment should become a reality. His Government had proposed increasing the strength of the Mission to 20,000 soldiers, and he wanted the Council to take note of that proposal. He also informed the Council that the DRC had developed the sites, which MONUC and international observers should visit.
Regarding the security concerns of several parties, particularly Rwanda, he said that there was an issue of trust, which needed to be addressed. To settle such concerns, his Government had initiated direct contact with aggressor countries. Also, earlier this month, a tripartite meeting in Lusaka had been arranged with the help of the United Nations Secretary-General. The DRC wanted to inform the Council that it did not have a hidden agenda in Rwanda. All Rwandans who wanted to live in their country should be authorized to return home or seek another country of residence. The DRC did not carry any responsibility for the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and would not tolerate its territory being used to destabilize the situation in neighbouring countries. Any peace would be fragile without guarantees of lasting security, but such guarantees should not come at the cost of his country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He concluded that an international conference on the peace and security in the Great Lakes region could be helpful. Relations of trust must be strengthened with the help of the United Nations and the Security Council. The opening of the waterways also presented an opportunity to improve the economic situation and build confidence in the area. In order to maintain its credibility, the Council must implement all intended measures to assure compliance of the reluctant parties. Among other challenges were the need to restore balance in the country and rebuild an effective State capable of ensuring peace and economic safety.
JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium), on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said this session of the Council was timely, as it would make it possible to assess United Nations action in the field and propose improvements from which MONUC could benefit in the near future. He congratulated Mr. Morjane on the excellent work he had done in heading the Mission. While it would not be easy to replace him, the Union, nevertheless, called for that to be done immediately since it would not be wise to leave the outgoing Special Representative's position unfilled.
He said only a political solution was viable in the context of the DRC. The Union believed that there was a window of opportunity in that country despite the real risk of deterioration. The international community should, therefore, focus on continuation of the national dialogue; the economic situation; foreign aid; withdrawal of foreign troops; and DDRRR. Dialogue must also accompany the implementation of the Lusaka Agreements. That would be a test of the desire of the parties to find a lasting solution to the conflict.
He underlined the need for all humanitarian workers to have access to all parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The European Union had also reiterated its commitment to provide assistance of up to 120 million euros to the Democratic Republic depending on progress made in dialogue and implementation of commitments under the Lusaka Agreements.
He said DDRRR plans were the keys to the conflict. Recent events suggested that the international community would shortly be faced with the need to implement such a plan. The requirements of that process would need to be made known so as to engage donors and plan properly. The United Nations would be the natural body to steer such a plan, which should be accompanied by follow-up strategies to ensure that the plan was implemented. Carrying out such a programme, however, would necessitate modifying the mandate of the staff in the DRC. The Council would have to take action to modify that mandate as soon as possible.
M. ANASTASE GASANA (Rwanda) said that in preparation for today’s important meeting, his delegation had forwarded a letter to the President of the Council and received a written response. He did not want to engage in polemics today or say something that would impede the efforts to bring about a resolution to the conflict in the Great Lakes region. In Lusaka, the Secretary-General had recently brought together Presidents of Rwanda and the DRC. He appreciated his efforts to resolve the situation. Any success achieved in the dialogue would be shared by all the participants of the process.
Although he did not want to dwell on the matter much further, he had some points to make, he continued. The Council was an organ to ensure that all the parties respected their commitments under the Lusaka Agreement. Since the genocide plans in Rwanda still presented danger for the region, the Council should address that specific case and continue to help the region, so that the forces of evil that had carried out the genocide in Rwanda could not do any further harm.
Rwanda once again reaffirmed its cooperation with the Security Council and the Secretary-General to bring about peace to the DRC and the region.
GERHARD THERON (Namibia), speaking when the meeting resumed in the afternoon, welcomed the detailed information provided by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative regarding the situation in the DRC and the progress in the peace process there. He reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the arrangements shaping redeployment and disengagement within the region. He also welcomed the preparation for the inter-Congolese dialogue and noted its postponement to 20 August. Such dialogue should take place on Congolese soil, without foreign interference.
Continuing, he expressed concern about the obstruction of the peace process and the fact that Kisangani had not yet been demilitarized. He called on the Council to enforce its decisions on that matter, undertaking special measures to assure compliance. His delegation remained deeply concerned about the acute humanitarian situation in the DRC and called for assistance to the people of the country. He also supported MONUC’s projects, which, apart from their economic benefits, could improve the economic situation in the country. He hoped that in considering the future mandate and size of MONUC, the Council would take fully into account the demands and requirements of the DRC. In conclusion, he expressed appreciation for the efforts of Ambassador Morjane in the area.
TICHAONA JOSEPH B. JOKONYA (Zimbabwe) congratulated MONUC for "the sterling work" it had accomplished within the past few months, saying that the deployment of that Mission and the cooperation of the Lusaka Ceasefire signatories had transformed challenges into possibilities. On their part, the Southern African Development Community (SADC)-allied forces in the DRC had taken heed of the Security Council's condition that phase II of MONUC deployment would be contingent on the disengagement of all foreign troops. In that regard, Mr. Morjane could confirm that Zimbabwe had been withdrawing its troops from both the frontlines and the DRC.
Acknowledging the will of the Congolese people to achieve peace, he said that the inter-Congolese dialogue remained on schedule. In that regard, the political role of civil society, especially in the occupied eastern Congo, should be recognized. Although conventional war involving State actors had ceased, guerrilla insurgency and ethnic cleansing were yet to peter down. That explained the upsurge of violence in the two Kivus over the last few weeks. It was in the occupied territories that MONUC was facing harassment and obstructions, particularly from the RCD. In that connection, he urged the Council to impress upon those Lusaka signatories that supported RCD to encourage their ally to toe the line. He agreed with the representative of the Russian Federation that sanctions should be applied to those supporting the RCD-Goma. Allied SADC forces had done their part.
The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement acknowledged the indivisibility of the Congo, he said. It was disheartening to note that Kisangani remained militarized, despite the adoption of a resolution calling for its demilitarization. That issue merited the attention of the Council, and all those Lusaka signatories who were responsible for the destruction of Kisangani should fulfil their ceasefire obligations. The joke –- and it could not be anything but a joke -- that RCD-Goma was defending human rights made a mockery of the Security Council and the United Nations. It must be dealt with.
In conclusion, he stressed that the sheer size of the Congo made it impossible for MONUC to effectively discharge its multifaceted duties, which at some stage would involve tracking down, disarming and rehabilitating members of the groups. He urged the Council to revise the MONUC troop levels upwards so as to enable it to accomplish its monumental task. The good will of the international community, which had been demonstrated by the creation of MONUC, should be sustained. He also expressed appreciation for Mr. Morjane’s service to "Mother Africa" and wished him the best in his future efforts.
Mr. MORJANE, in response to questions raised this morning, said efforts were ongoing to establish freedom of navigation. The first level of that endeavour was to establish freedom of movement for all MONUC vehicles. There was no arrangement with the parties apart from keeping them informed. The second level was humanitarian. What was being stressed was the need for all parties to provide free access to the country to United Nations humanitarian agencies and NGOs. That would hopefully materialize next month in the form of the Peace Boats. It was hoped that the RCD would enable the second vessel to leave Kinshasa and reach Kisangani. The third level was the Joint Commission on the Congo Basin and a possible draft agreement, which would govern river navigation. Hopefully, that agreement would be finalized so that free navigation in the DRC would become a genuine fact.
Responding to the question of DDRRR, he said MONUC had prepared a concept paper that would be discussed at departmental level and with all of the agencies that needed to be involved. Responding to a question on whether resolution 1341 on child soldiers had been respected, he said that so far the response was inadequate and much still had to be done. The parties had to be encouraged and pressed further.
* *** *