Press Releases

    9 August 2002


    NEW YORK, 8 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council on 8 August concerning the signing of the Pretoria Agreement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda:

    I shall be brief this morning.

    Let me also say how happy I am to see the representatives of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda here this morning, and of course Minister Zuma, representing South Africa that co-facilitated this agreement.

    I believe that the signing of the peace agreement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Rwandan Governments in Pretoria on 30 July represents an important political milestone, which could help pave the way towards a lasting resolution of one of Africa’s most complex conflicts. The parties have indicated their determination to honour this agreement and end the conflict. We on our side should do whatever we can to assist them in implementing this agreement. I applaud President Mbeki for his important contribution to this agreement, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union.

    The two Presidents have committed themselves to achieving peace, and specifically, to working with each other to achieve it, and this is very encouraging. We must now quickly approach the parties in a pragmatic manner, and urge them to take the steps required to operationalize the agreement as soon as possible. I believe the international community must provide all necessary support to ensure the success of this initiative. The momentum established must be maintained and built upon, and I hope this meeting of the Council can contribute to that.

    I have instructed the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to determine which actions it can take within its current mandate and resources to assist the parties to carry out the agreement. However, the parties need to be perfectly clear in the tasks to be performed, and provide the necessary information, in order for MONUC to define its specific role.

    The Secretariat is also looking forward to receiving a team of experts from South Africa, and in fact I think they have arrived today to discuss together the support that the process requires and how we move forward from here. I therefore expect to revert to the Council in due course with specific recommendations for MONUC, after the Secretariat undertakes intensive consultations with the parties concerned.

    The presence with us today of the South African Foreign Minister, as well as Mr. Okitundu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mr. Mazimhaka of Rwanda is particularly valuable, because it enables you to engage directly with the Council and for the Council to engage you on issues that are directly concerned with implementation of the agreement and, of course, I look forward to a very serious dialogue, not only here in the Council, but also with the various United Nations departments. I think this reflects the value of the new partnership between the African Union and the United Nations.

    Mr. President, I am now eager to listen to the Foreign Minister of South Africa and the representatives of the parties, so that we can gain a full and detailed understanding of this important agreement and its implementation as soon as possible.

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