1 October 2005

Security Council Extends Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo for One Month, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1628 (2005)

NEW YORK, 30 September (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), which was to expire today, for one month, until 31 October.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1628 (2005), the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the sovereignty and political independence of the country and its readiness to support the peace and national reconciliation process.

In his most recent report to the Council, the Secretary-General recommended a one-year extension of the mandate, until 1 October 2006, which would include the period through the elections and the immediate post-transitional period following the installation of a new Government.

The meeting started at 10:13 a.m. and was adjourned at 10:17 a.m.

Council Resolution

The full text of resolution 1628 (2005) reads, as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its resolutions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolutions 1565 (2004) of 1 October 2004, 1592 (2005) of 30 March 2005, 1596 (2005) of 18 April 2005 and 1621 (2005) of 6 September 2005,

"Reaffirming its commitment to respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and its readiness to support the peace and national reconciliation process in that country, in particular through the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC),

"Noting that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

"1.  Decides to extend the mandate of MONUC, as contained in resolutions 1565 (2004), 1592 (2005), 1596 (2005) and 1621 (2005), adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, until 31 October 2005;

"2.  Decides to remain seized of the matter."


The latest report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document S/2005/603) covers developments in that country since August.  The Secretary-General recommends a one-year extension of MONUC's mandate, until 1 October 2006, which would include the period up until the holding of elections and the immediate post-transitional period following the installation of the new Government.  The constitutional referendum is scheduled to take place before the first extension of the transition expires on 31 December.  Parliament is likely to have voted, by that time, for the second and final six-month extension of the transition, to allow the Independent Electoral Commission to organize the elections. 

[The Global and All-Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed on 17 December 2002, outlined a transitional process culminating in national elections to be held two years after the June 2003 inauguration of the Transitional Government, with the stipulation that the transition could be extended for two six-month periods if technical preparations for elections were delayed.] 

Despite delays caused by logistical problems, encouraging progress has been made in the voter registration process, the report states.  As of 17 September, more than 11 million voters had registered, including 2.9 million in Kinshasa, out of an estimated electorate of 20 to 25 million.  Voter registration, which started on 20 June in Kinshasa, has been extended to the provinces and is scheduled to end nationwide on 25 September.  Registration time lines, however, have been extended in several areas, including in Katanga and the Kasais, due to logistical difficulties encountered by the Independent Electoral Commission and the slow rate of voter registration.

It is vital, the report states, that the Transitional Government and Parliament adopt the necessary legislation, including the electoral law, so that the elections can be organized no later than June 2006.  In that regard, the Secretary-General urges donors to accelerate the disbursement of their pledges for financing the organization of the elections.  The MONUC, meanwhile, is expanding its role in providing logistical support to the Electoral Commission. Considerable progress has been made in training the Congolese National Police, and additional formed police units will be deployed in the coming weeks, increasing the Mission's capacity to assist in providing security during the election period.

Despite calls by the Union pour le progrès et la démocratie sociale (UDPS) for a boycott of voter registration, the process has continued in Katanga province in a generally peaceful fashion, the report notes.  It is doubtful, however, that the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) contingents in Katanga would be able to establish control over the whole of the province.  The lack of State authority and tensions between ethnic groups pose a serious potential threat to the security of the electoral process.  As the FARDC continues to be poorly equipped, MONUC believes that an enhanced military presence would be needed to help secure the elections in several key areas of Katanga.  In that regard, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council consider authorizing the deployment of an additional brigade of 2,580 personnel comprising a headquarters, three battalions and enabling assets, including one Level II hospital, one engineer company, one observation helicopter and one utility helicopter unit.

Good governance, including the proper management of natural resources and State funds, is vital to ensuring that the transitional process enjoys widespread public support, the report says.  In that connection, the Transitional Government needs to demonstrate a commitment to working closely with its international partners to establish a mechanism to ensure transparent and accountable management of public finances and to effectively address corruption.  It also needs to take urgent action to increase judicial capacity and to ensure humane detention conditions.  In that regard, the Secretary-General calls upon the Congolese authorities to allocate adequate financial resources for strengthening the justice sector in the 2006 State budget.

In the remaining months of the transition, the Transitional Government should give priority to the extension of State administration throughout the country and the improved delivery of basic services to the population, the report states.  In this connection, the Government and its international partners should develop a plan to integrate Ituri more fully into the rest of the country, particularly with regard to financial administrative and security aspects.  The transitional authorities should also take the necessary measures to establish control over the exploitation of Ituri's natural resources, to promote reconstruction and to provide a tangible peace dividend for the people.  In this regard, developing security mechanisms to protect civilians and to facilitate the monitoring of cross-border movements of combatants in the east of the country and violations of the arms embargo should be priority tasks.

During the past three years, MONUC has sought to disarm and demobilize foreign armed groups on the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to facilitate their voluntary return to their countries of origin, the report adds.  Some 12,000 combatants and their dependants have been repatriated.  During that period, MONUC and the International Committee for Support to the Transition have urged the Transitional Government to take measures to forcibly disarm the remaining foreign armed groups and facilitate their repatriation.  The general consensus within the Transitional Government on carrying out a process of forcible disarmament is encouraging.  The FARDC, however, still needs to build sufficient capacity to take effective action against the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR).  Additional international financial and logistical support will be crucial in achieving this. 

The report notes that some progress has been made in the reform of the country's armed forces, including the integration and deployment of five brigades.  It is vital that the Transitional Government assume full responsibility in that important area.  In this regard, the Secretary-General calls for increased support by international partners for security sector reform, including through addressing the main requirements for supporting the FARDC brigades.  Further efforts are needed to stop continued gross human rights violations by armed groups and FARDC against civilians in Ituri, the Kivus and central and northern Katanga.  Under the Mission's mandate for the protection of civilians, MONUC, as well as United Nations humanitarian and human rights personnel, intend to carry out protection activities, particularly where State institutions are insufficient.  The Secretary-General commends ongoing efforts to bring all components of the Mission under a common framework for the protection of the civilian population.

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