25 July 2001


NEW YORK, 24 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 24 July:

We meet at an important moment in the development of the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Over the past few months, there have been several positive developments:

The ceasefire is holding at the confrontation lines, notwithstanding some allegations of violations that the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is investigating.

Most of the forces have withdrawn in accordance with the Harare disengagement plan.

MONUC’s relations with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo remain positive and cooperative.

And I had a very constructive meeting with Presidents Kabila and Kagame in Lusaka earlier this month, where they both pledged to improve their dialogue and cooperation.

However, as you are aware, the restoration of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will ultimately rest on the success of the inter-Congolese dialogue.

I would therefore like to commend the tireless efforts of the Facilitator, Ketsumile Masire, that have led to the adoption –- by all parties -- of the "Declaration of Fundamental Principles of the Inter-Congolese Political Negotiations".

Mr. President, I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my Special Representative, Kamel Morjane, who, as you know, is leaving his present position. During his service, he helped bring the parties back to the path of negotiation, and gave the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo new hope of escaping the cycle of violence and instability.

Through his political and diplomatic skills, his long experience with the region and its difficult issues, and the relations he developed with all the parties, Mr. Morjane has served with great distinction the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Africa and the United Nations. I wish him every success in his future endeavours.

Mr. Morjane's successor will face considerable challenges. The third phase of MONUC’s deployment is about to begin, and, as Mr. Morjane has informed the Security Council, we are still far from the point in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the peace process is irreversible.

Only last week, three respected non-governmental organizations told us of the appalling humanitarian and human rights situation encountered by millions of Congolese and the serious obstacles still to be overcome.

Perhaps chief among these is the central issue of the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration of the armed groups, without which progress in other areas will be very difficult. The continued resolve of the Security Council, which has been steadfast in its support of the Democratic Republic of the Congo peace process, will be essential in this process.

I trust that the Council will continue to display the same high level of interest in the challenges and opportunities facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo as it has over the past two years of MONUC's existence.

* *** *