Welcoming the offers by Member States, in consultation with the States concerned in the region, the Security Council this afternoon authorized the establishment of a temporary multinational force to facilitate, by using all necessary means, the return of relief organizations and the delivery of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of all civilians at risk in eastern Zaire, including the voluntary, orderly repatriation of refugees.
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council adopted unanimously resolution 1080 (1996), by which it also decided that the operation should terminate on 31 March 1997, unless the Secretary-General reported earlier that its objectives had been fulfilled.
The Council further decided that the cost of implementing the force should be borne by participating Member States and by voluntary contributions, and welcomed the establishment of a trust fund with the purpose of supporting African participation in the multinational force. It also expressed the intention of authorizing the establishment of a follow-on operation to succeed the multinational force.
Also by the resolution, the Council welcomed the offer by a Member State to take the lead in organizing and commanding the temporary multinational force.
Addressing the Council, the representative of Canada said that 20 countries had already committed more than 10,000 peace-keepers to the multinational force, with the main body coming from France, United Kingdom, United States and Canada. He called for more contributions to the trust fund to support the participation of African countries in the operation. The mission did not envisage disarmament or interposition as elements of the force mandate, he stated, adding that its primary mission would be the delivery of humanitarian aid.
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Also speaking before action on the resolution, the representative of Zaire said his Government could not understand why the Security Council had not responded earlier to the aggression perpetrated against his country. Zaire reserved the right to refuse the participation of certain Governments in the multinational force, he said.
The representative of Rwanda said that refugees were now returning to his country at a rate of 100 persons per minute in the past 48 hours. Given the changing situation, the plans for the proposed multinational force should be adapted and its mandate limited to a period of two to three months.
The primary mission of the force should be to disarm the troops of the former Rwandan Army and canton them far from the borders of Burundi and of Rwanda, the representative of Burundi said.
Statements were also made by the representatives of France, United Kingdom, China, Botswana, Germany, Republic of Korea, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Poland, Honduras, Italy, Chile, Russian Federation, United States and Indonesia.
The meeting convened at 4:38 p.m. and rose at 7:35 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in the Great Lakes region. It has before it a letter dated 14 November from the Secretary-General addressed to the Council President (document S/1996/941) which transmits a letter from the Permanent Representative of Canada, stating his Government's willingness to command a temporary humanitarian operation for eastern Zaire under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, to allow the return of humanitarian organizations and the safe delivery of assistance to displaced persons, refugees and civilians at risk. That mission would also help create necessary conditions for the voluntary, orderly and secure repatriation of refugees.
He emphasizes that the multinational mission would have humanitarian objectives and would not interfere with the balance of military forces in the area nor support the re-establishment of camps in which armed elements were able to operate.
The temporary humanitarian operation would terminate on 31 March 1997, unless the Security Council determined that the objectives of the operation had been fulfilled earlier, he adds. Within that time-frame, the Council should authorize the deployment of a follow-up operation to succeed the temporary multinational force.
Text of Draft Resolution
Also before the Council is a draft resolution (document S/1996/943), sponsored by Argentina, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, France, Gabon, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Mali, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, United States and Zaire, which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Reaffirming its resolution 1078 (1996) of 9 November 1996,
"Gravely concerned at the continuing deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region, in particular eastern Zaire,
"Taking note of the communique issued by the Fourth Extraordinary Session of the Central Organ of the Organization of African Unity Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution held at the level of Ministers in Addis Ababa on 11 November 1996 (S/1996/922) as well as a communication dated 13 November 1996 from the Permanent Observer Mission of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the United Nations,
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"Stressing the need for all States to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the States in the region in accordance with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations,
"Underlining the obligation of all concerned strictly to respect the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law,
"Having considered the letter dated 14 November 1996 from the Secretary- General to the President of the Security Council (S/1996/941),
"Reiterating its support for the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, and underlining the need for all Governments in the region and parties concerned to cooperate fully with the mission for the Special Envoy,
"Welcoming the efforts of the mediators and representatives of the OAU, the European Union and the States concerned, and encouraging them to coordinate closely their efforts with those of the Special Envoy,
"Recognizing that the current situation in eastern Zaire demands an urgent response by the international community,
"Reiterating the urgent need for an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region under the auspices of the United Nations and the OAU to address the problems of the region in a comprehensive way,
"Determining that the present situation in eastern Zaire constitutes a threat to international peace and security in the region,
"Bearing in mind the humanitarian purposes of the multinational force as specified below,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Reiterates its condemnation of all acts of violence, and its call for an immediate ceasefire and a complete cessation of all hostilities in the region;
"2. Welcomes the letter from the Secretary-General dated 14 November 1996;
"3. Welcomes the offers made by Member States, in consultation with the States concerned in the region, concerning the establishment for humanitarian purposes of a temporary multinational force to facilitate the immediate return of humanitarian organizations and the effective delivery by civilian relief organizations of humanitarian aid to alleviate the immediate suffering of displaced persons, refugees and civilians at risk in eastern Zaire, and to
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facilitate the voluntary, orderly repatriation of refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as well as the voluntary return of displaced persons, and invites other interested States to offer to participate in these efforts;
"4. Welcomes further the offer by a Member State (S/1996/941, annex) to take the lead in organizing and commanding this temporary multinational force;
"5. Authorizes the Member States cooperating with the Secretary- General to conduct the operation referred to in paragraph 3 above to achieve, by using all necessary means, the humanitarian objectives set out therein;
"6. Calls upon all concerned in the region to cooperate fully with the multinational force and humanitarian agencies and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of their personnel;
"7. Calls upon the Member States participating in the multinational force to cooperate with the Secretary-General and to coordinate closely with the United Nations Coordinator for humanitarian assistance for eastern Zaire and the relevant humanitarian relief operations;
"8. Decides that the operation shall terminate on 31 March 1997, unless the Council, on the basis of a report of the Secretary-General, determines that the objectives of the operation have been fulfilled earlier;
"9. Decides that the cost of implementing this temporary operation will be borne by the participating Member States and other voluntary contributions, and welcomes the establishment by the Secretary-General of a voluntary trust fund with the purpose of supporting African participation in the multinational force;
"10. Encourages Member States to contribute urgently to this fund or otherwise to give support to enable African States to participate in this force, and requests the Secretary-General to report within 21 days of the adoption of this resolution to enable the Council to consider the adequacy of these arrangements;
"11. Requests the Member States participating in the multinational force to provide periodic reports at least twice monthly, through the Secretary-General, to the Council, the first such report to be made no later than 21 days after the adoption of this resolution;
"12. Expresses its intention to authorize the establishment of a follow-on operation which would succeed the multinational force, and requests the Secretary-General to submit for its consideration a report, no later than
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1 January 1997, containing his recommendations regarding the possible concept, mandate, structure, size and duration of such an operation, as well as its estimated costs;
"13. Requests the Secretary-General to initiate detailed planning and to determine the willingness of Member States to contribute troops for the anticipated follow-on operation;
"14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
LUKABU KHABOUJI N'ZAJI (Zaire) said that only a few months after achieving independence, his country had entered into a period that required the United Nations to preserve its unity. The United Nations was today, once again, meeting to address an act of aggression. Neighbouring countries, with which Zaire had enjoyed fraternal relations for 34 years, had thrust a substantial part of their populations into refugee camps in Zaire.
The authorities in Kigali had remained indifferent, he said. They had stated that security existed in Rwanda, but if there was, why were Rwandans living as refugees? he added. An entire population could not be accused of committing a crime. Only individuals had been so accused. There had been genocide, indeed, but it had been committed by Rwandans. There had been Tutsi victims of genocide, but Hutu victims as well. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was seeking to prosecute both Hutus and Tutsis.
Since 1994 Zaire had hosted some 2.5 million refugees, he continued. Zaire had housed and fed refugees that had now turned weapons on the Zairian population. The key to the crisis in eastern Zaire was the presence of refugees from Rwanda and Burundi. The Government of Kigali, particularly, must take their people back home. For some time the Government of Rwanda had called for the creation of an army in eastern Zaire. For some time Rwanda had sought to remind people of the territorial expanse of ancient empires. But the OAU many years ago had declared the post-colonial borders of Africa to be inviolable.
When Rwandan refugees first crossed the border into Zaire, his Government had urged the international community to disarm armed elements among the refugees, he said. The Council had been reluctant at that time to finance an effort to separate those armed elements from among the refugees; he wondered how much the multinational force being contemplated in the Council today would cost.
Zaire had been the victim of aggression, he continued. In August 1990, the Security Council had worked to combat aggression against Kuwait. He could
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not understand the Council's reluctance to defend Zaire against a similar aggression. As to the multinational force, Zaire reserved the right to refuse participation in the multinational force of military elements from certain countries which were associated with those responsible for the aggression.
Today, on CNN, he had watched the entire cabinet of the Rwandan Government waiting on the border with Zaire to welcome returning Rwandan refugees, he said. "What a shame", he added. Those refugees had been living like animals for two years and now the Government wanted to welcome them back. Rwanda was a master of such manoeuvres.
GIDEON KAYINAMURA (Rwanda) said that during the past 48 hours, refugees had been crossing the Rwandan border at a rate of 100 per minute. It was expected that by early next week, the bulk of Rwandan refugees would have returned to their motherland. The Rwandan Government welcomed that long- awaited return of its nationals and believed that conditions for the return of many more refugees were now in place. Today, the entire cabinet accompanied the President of Rwanda to the Zaire border town of Goma to welcome the incoming refugees. Local and government machinery had been mobilized throughout the country to prepare welcome centres for refugees, where they would be received before the return to their respective homes.
The proposed multinational force was no longer relevant, as far as rescuing Rwandan refugees in eastern Zaire was concerned, he said. With the changed situation in eastern Zaire, plans for the proposed force should also be changed to adapt to the changing conditions on the ground. The force should be smaller. It should reconsider the location of its troops, seek a new mandate, and be able to quickly address its purely humanitarian mission. Its mandate should be for a limited period of two to three months at the utmost and its mandate should include disarming the former Rwandan Government soldiers and militia who had held thousands of Rwandan refugees captive in camps in eastern Zaire.
The international community should help by providing adequate resources to facilitate the rehabilitation and re-integration of the returning refugees, he said. The Rwanda Government urged the Council not to hurry to adopt a resolution before getting the full facts about the changing circumstances on the ground. The humanitarian assistance that was required should be distributed inside Rwanda, in order to meet the humanitarian needs which had just arisen.
He denied the allegations put forward by the representative of Zaire. The Rwandan Government was not responsible for the misery being suffered by Zaire. His Government had not "de-nationalized" Zairian citizens.
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NSANZE TERENCE (Burundi) said that the immediate cause of the refugee crisis in eastern Zaire was the 1994 genocide, which claimed 1 million lives and drove 1 million into exile. The greatest blame must fall on the former Rwandan Army and the guerrillas who held the refugees captive in the camps. For the past two years, his Government had warned of the poisonous effects of the guerrilla's aggression against Rwanda and Burundi. Various alternatives had been proposed, but the Security Council had refused to take the "bull by the horns" and neutralize them. That had led to the current crisis.
The United Nations should now tackle the issue. Given the interdependence of the peoples of the Great Lakes region, the recurrent tragedies there should be confronted as a whole, he said. As a highest priority, the international community should organize an international conference, facilitate the return of refugees, and establish collective security for the region.
For nearly four months, the 7 million people of Burundi had suffered under a crushing economic embargo, he said. Burundi's people were being gratuitously sacrificed. The embargo, a violation of the Charters of both the OAU and the United Nations, was subjecting Burundi's people to a cruel death. Refugees returning to Burundi from Zaire were faced with tragic conditions in their own country. The embargo's repercussions on them would exacerbate the chronic crisis in the Great Lakes region.
He added that the primary mission of the multinational force in Zaire should be to disarm the troops of the former Rwandan Army and canton them far from the borders of Burundi and of Rwanda.
ROBERT R. FOWLER (Canada) said that as he spoke, food and medicine sat idly in storage, close at hand yet out of reach of the needy. Aid agencies were again prevented from accomplishing their tasks by armed men who sought to use the pain and suffering of non-combatants for political and military purposes.
In its resolution 1078 of seven days ago, the Security Council had stated clearly that the countries in the region had a responsibility to create the conditions necessary for the speedy and peaceful resolution of the crisis, he said. The Council also had declared that the international community needed urgently to act.
The Canadian Prime Minister had done so with the strong support of the Canadian people, he said. As a result of his consultations with several world leaders and international organizations, including the OAU, Canada had undertaken to take on a substantial role in mounting a multinational humanitarian intervention force to make possible the safe delivery of humanitarian aid and to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of refugees; "that is to save lives", he added. Canada brought to that task a combination
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of capacity, compassion and commitment. It had no illusions about the risks and difficulties involved, but it was absolutely convinced that there was no alternative but to act.
Canada could not begin to act alone in such circumstances, he continued. A critical mass was already in place, with 20 countries already committing over 10,000 troops. While the main body of troops committed to date were from France, United Kingdom, United States and Canada, there were firm offers as well as expressions of interest from other countries in several regions.
Canada was only a little less encouraged by efforts to find donors to contribute to the United Nations trust fund being established to support the participation of African countries, he said. More help in that area, however, was urgently required from those who could afford such contributions but were not able to provide direct assistance. Putting together the multinational force was still a work in progress. There was need for additional elements if that force was to have the proper balance and the maximum desired impact on the ground, and if it was to be allowed to prepare the way for follow-on forces. Canada, was especially grateful for the firm offer of battalions from Senegal, Ethiopia and Malawi. African participation in the multinational force was of vital importance to its legitimacy and to its effectiveness. Regional leaders and the OAU had played key roles in responding to crises in Central Africa and their advice and support in launching the effort would be crucial. Canada welcomed their vital involvement in the mission.
He urged as many other countries as possible to assist African countries to bear those costs and, in addition, to provide the strategic transport and equipment that would be required by the African partners in the venture. Sophisticated medical support would be welcomed, he said.
He said Lieutenant-General Maurice Baril, the former Military Adviser to the Secretary-General, who now commanded the Canadian Army, and who would lead the multinational force, had met yesterday with representatives of more than 70 countries to discuss the concept of operations for the proposed mission. The mission did not envisage disarmament or interposition as elements of the force's mandate. Indeed, disarmament could not be part of the mandate. If it were, it would require a much larger and robust force which would need to engage in a war with those who most evidently did not wish to be disarmed. Such a war would bring enormous and immediate harm to the very people they were seeking to save, as the elements with guns continued to find sanctuary within the refugee population they continued to hold hostage. In addition, soldiers engaged in disarmament could not undertake their primary and immediate mission, which was to make possible the delivery of humanitarian aid.
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The intention was to concentrate on the urgent and the achievable, to save lives, rather than to make a vain and necessarily imperfect attempt to address all the problems of the region, he said. The proposed multinational force did not, however, constitute all of the international community's efforts to help bring peace and stability to Central Africa. The force would be deployed for four months, and the transition from it to a longer-term United Nations operation should be carefully thought out. A civil component, including direct United Nations involvement, was envisaged alongside the force, in order to help establish the conditions that must underlie any long- term solution, including engendering respect for human rights and for justice.
The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Ambassador Raymond Chretien, was already engaged in addressing the underlying causes of the conflict and was offering advice to the Secretary-General on the longer-term role the United Nations might play in the region, he said. If the force was successful in its humanitarian mission, the second task would focus primarily on civilian peace-building, including political reconciliation and the reinforcement of the institutions of civil society. That was absolutely essential if the ages- old hatred which had fuelled endless conflicts in Central Africa was to yield to a willingness to co-exist, and if the cycle of violence in the Great Lakes region was to be broken. The welcome prospect of the imminent return of large numbers of refugees to Rwanda added both urgency and immediacy to that process of rebuilding. There would be an urgent requirement for donors, agencies and programmes to coordinate their efforts to ensure that development activities were tightly focused on buttressing the orderly and peaceful return of those refugees. They would need shelter, health care and a wide variety of other assistance to re-integrate smoothly in Rwandese society. Canada would play a full part in helping to facilitate the huge development challenge.
He said the Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy, had announced the establishment of the Canadian Peace-building Framework to assist with projects in the area. Canada encouraged other donors to consider similar initiatives. Despite the heartening news that up to a third of the Rwandese refugees in Zaire were finally going home, people continued to die in eastern Zaire in appalling numbers and their presence there continued to destabilize the region. Close to a million refugees would remain at risk in Zaire, even if the reports of current refugee flows into Gisenyi were fully accurate. The international will now existed for the formation and dispatch of a multinational force. The Government of Canada was prepared to work diligently with other Governments to enable the effective deployment of a temporary humanitarian operation in eastern Zaire. He urged the Security Council to authorize such an operation without delay.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said the force in which France was participating had a strictly humanitarian mandate. Its principal mission was to make possible the effective delivery of humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced persons and to facilitate the return of humanitarian organizations to eastern
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Zaire. It also aimed at facilitating the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons. Establishment of the force together would not have been possible without Canada's courageous decision to take command and begin the necessary groundwork, he said. Its generous offer, which would group several American, European and African contingents under its Canadian authority, was welcome. France was particularly eager that the African countries be given the means to participate fully in the humanitarian mission. For that reason, France had called repeatedly for consultations with the OAU.
The force would be deployed for a maximum of four months, which could be reduced if the Council so decided, he said. That operation should be followed by a mission under United Nations auspices aimed at continuing the humanitarian effort which was to begin during the next few days. It was hoped that those efforts would permit delivery of the necessary assistance, stabilize the region, and bring the beginnings of a lasting solution to the problems that had affected it for more than three years.
He said there was an awareness that the region's problems must be addressed in their totality, around a negotiating table and with the support of all interested countries. It was hoped such dialogue would be resumed. Since 1995, France had consistently called for an international conference for peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region, a proposal the OAU had supported. The Council, too, had again emphasized the need for such a conference, and the Secretary-General's Special Envoy had been given a mandate to bring it about.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) said the crisis in eastern Zaire represented one of the most challenging tasks ever to face the United Nations and paid tribute to Canada for its organization of the multinational force. That force must have a clear and achievable mandate. Its deployment would be a feasible option only if troops were put on the ground quickly. It was important to recognize the temporary nature of the operation, and essential that preparations begin immediately for an operation to take over from the force when its mandate expired on 31 March 1997.
The situation that preceded the current crisis should not be allowed to recur, he said. Deployment of the force should not be allowed to freeze the status quo, nor set back efforts of the past two years aimed at resolving the humanitarian situation. Refugees who want to return to their home should not be prevented from doing so by armed gangs. The force should not be allowed to re-establish camps in which armed elements could operate. The force should be able to ensure the exclusively humanitarian and civilian character of all refugee locations under the its control.
By authorizing establishment of the force, the Council would be responding to African calls for a neutral force to alleviate the suffering and promote the return of refugees, he said. It was hoped the African States
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would play an important part in the multinational force and in the follow-on force. A Great Lakes conference, under United Nations and OAU auspices, could play a central role in securing a peaceful and stable future for the region. Preparations for such a conference should begin.
QIN HUASUN (China) called on armed parties in the Great Lakes region to cease hostilities and create conditions for the orderly return of refugees and for a political settlement of the conflict. The international community was duty-bound to defuse the humanitarian crisis. China had noted the views of the OAU that the crisis should be resolved by Africans with the help of the international community.
He said Zaire and neighbouring countries had agreed to deployment of the multinational humanitarian force. The international military intervention in Zaire raised many complicated questions. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned, particularly Zaire, should not be violated. Full consent and cooperation should be sought from those countries, and the force should be dedicated solely to humanitarian concerns. It should also have a strict time-frame and clear terms of reference.
He said China had some reservations over the draft resolution's invocation of Chapter VII of the Charter. Refugee issues were complex, but as long as the parties were making sincere efforts, all contradictions should be settled peacefully. The countries of the region should respect each other's sovereignty and settle their disputes peacefully, through discussion as equals.
LEGWAILA JOSEPH LEGWAILA (Botswana) said the draft resolution struck a delicate balance between what was desirable and what was currently achievable in eastern Zaire. Most important was the need to gain access to the refugees and displaced persons with humanitarian assistance. Deployment of the force would avert a human tragedy of immense proportions. Botswana commended Canada for its decision to take the lead in establishing and commanding the multinational force.
He welcomed the efforts to establish a trust fund to help African States willing to contribute to the humanitarian operation. It was important that those States, especially Zaire's neighbours, should be involved. It was significant that the States affected by the situation in eastern Zaire had called for the establishment of safe corridors and deployment of an international force to ensure access to the displaced persons and refugees by the international humanitarian personnel.
The situation in eastern Zaire was not only a refugee problem, but a political problem requiring a political solution, he said. The prolonged stay of the refugees in camps in Zaire was a source of insecurity and instability to the country of asylum and represented a serious threat to Zaire's
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sovereignty and territorial integrity. The camps had become recruiting grounds for those determined to train and equip an army to fight against the Government of Rwanda. That could only lead to increased tension along the Rwanda-Zaire border and transform what began as an internal conflict into an inter-State conflict with far-reaching regional ramifications. A long-term solution lay in the return of the refugees to Rwanda. Nevertheless, it remained essential that they have immediate access to food, water and medicine and be able to return in safety and dignity.
The primary objective of the international community should be the repatriation of all refugees to their country of origin, he said. It should work in close collaboration with Rwanda to create conditions there conducive to their voluntary return. It should also be prepared to extend financial and material aid to help Rwanda resettle the returnees. The international community should not ignore the reality that former Rwandan Government forces and the interahamwe had prevented the refugees from exercising their right to return voluntarily. It would be wrong to affirm that fundamental right of voluntary return while ignoring the actions of those who obstructed its exercise.
He said Botswana strongly supported the mission of the Secretary- General's Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region. It looked forward to his recommendations on modalities for convening an international conference on peace, security and development in the region. Sound preparations for such a conference were necessary in order to pave the way for serious, practical negotiations. The time had come for all people of goodwill to work towards negotiations aimed at finding a permanent political settlement.
GERHARD HENZE (Germany) said the constantly deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region had for some time been a matter of deep concern to his Government. Germany fully supported the decision of the Security Council to authorize the establishment, for humanitarian purposes, of a temporary multinational force. He would, therefore, vote in favour of the adoption of the resolution.
All efforts undertaken by the international community in the region of the Great Lakes should also address the underlying causes of the conflicts, in particular the problem of the continued presence of hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons in eastern Zaire and elsewhere in the region, he continued. He welcomed the fact that the multinational force would be authorized not only to facilitate the immediate return of humanitarian organizations and the effective delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, but also to facilitate the voluntary and orderly repatriation of refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the voluntary return of displaced persons. In that context, he welcomed yesterday's announcement that the United Nations intended to plan for a possible follow-up task force operation to continue to assist the UNHCR with
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the protection and voluntary repatriation of refugees and displaced persons, including through the establishment of humanitarian corridors.
He was committed to providing the funding for the urgently needed delivery of humanitarian assistance, he said. Together with the United States, Germany had been the most significant donor of humanitarian assistance in the region. In addition to considerable bilateral contributions, Germany had contributed to more than 30 per cent of the humanitarian assistance budget of the European Union, The international community must find lasting and sustainable solutions to the underlying causes of the conflicts in the region, in addition to the action required immediately. There must not only be a guarantee of the security of the refugees at their points of arrival, but also a real chance for those who were not involved in the genocide to be fully reintegrated in their respective home communities. Germany remained committed to efforts aimed at improving the conditions for the return of refugees to their country of origin, in particular by enhancing the economic and social situation through rehabilitation and development aid.
PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said that unless the international community tackled the looming humanitarian catastrophe in eastern Zaire, serious consequences would threaten peace and security in the whole Great Lakes region. His Government greatly appreciated the valiant efforts of Canada to lead the international community in forming a multinational force.
The multinational force, he continued must have the full cooperation of all the Governments and other parties in the region. The Republic of Korea urged them not to stand in the way under any pretext or in any form whatsoever. The situation in the Great Lakes region would not allow for partial solutions. Facilitation of the voluntary and orderly repatriation of refugees would be essential because any long-term solution would be inconceivable without that repatriation.
Every effort should be made to ensure that conditions in refugees' home countries would be acceptable for the first returning refugees so other more cautious refugees would be encouraged to follow suit, he said. The international community should build upon the valuable momentum to be created by the painstaking efforts of the participating States in the multinational force with timely and appropriate follow-on action as envisaged in the draft resolution.
AHMED GOMAA (Egypt) said that the dispatch of the multinational force to Zaire should fully respect the sovereignty of that country. The wide participation of African peace-keepers in that force should be encouraged. The role of the trust fund established for the mission would be important in that regard.
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Egypt believed that the structure of the multinational force was consistent with the requirements for such a force expressed by the OAU, he said. African Governments, including Egypt, had co-sponsored the draft resolution.
The recent return of Rwandese refugees in great numbers had been good news, but the adoption of the draft resolution would in no way contradict that news, he said. The multinational force would be a temporary operation with a limited scope. Its mandate presupposed full cooperation by all the countries of the region.
ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL (Guinea-Bissau) commended Canada for taking a stand on behalf of the people of the Great Lakes region. A solution to the crisis should be sought. Ethnic persecution, unbridled political ambitions had led to the refugee crisis and posed serious consequences to international peace and security. There were also political aspects to the problem, he said.
International assistance was necessary, hence his country welcomed the convening of the Council's meeting, he said. The establishment of institutions concerning justice and human rights were called for. Countries of the region should create the conditions conducive to the return of the refugees. The assassination of the Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in 1994 were the root causes of the situation in the region.
Thousands had fled the hostility of those who sought to massacre them, he continued. For three weeks, the world had witnessed an intolerable tragedy. He wondered why the Council had not been able to act during that period until today. There were those who wondered whether a double standard existed in the application of international humanitarian law. He commended the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of the OAU for their efforts to find a solution to the crisis.
He hoped that dialogue would prevail and that understanding would be reached among the people in the region. He also hoped the multinational force would receive the support of the international community, and that the adoption of the draft resolution would help alleviate the suffering of the people there.
ZBIGNIEW M. WLOSOWICZ (Poland) said his delegation would vote in favour of the resolution. In the state of chaos reigning in eastern Zaire, urgently needed humanitarian aid could not be delivered without assuring basic security. Poland expressed its most sincere gratitude to the countries which had taken the initiative to organize the multinational force. It believed that the resolution would provide those countries with the necessary framework to perform the task they had voluntarily undertaken.
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Poland was aware that the operation could not eliminate the structural sources of the crisis in the Great Lakes region, a task that might only be achieved through long-term intensive efforts of the concerned countries, regional African organizations and the international community as a whole. It, however, believed that the operation the Security Council was about to bring into being would contribute significantly to the achievement of a sustainable solution based on the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of all the States concerned as well as on respect for human rights. With the most immediate measures taken care of, the United Nations would have to step in. The form of the appropriate United Nations presence would be decided at a later stage.
He stressed that African countries should play a fundamental role in all phases of the process, beginning with the humanitarian operation currently under discussion. He welcomed the outcome of the summit held in Nairobi on 5 November and of the extraordinary session of the Central Organ of the OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, on 11 November, which constituted a step in that direction.
GERARDO MARTINEZ BLANCO (Honduras) said that the international community must take urgent action to prevent the loss of thousands of lives through hunger and disease. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach refugees and displaced persons. The multinational humanitarian force being authorized for that purpose should also facilitate the return of refugees.
Honduras appealed to the parties concerned to implement a cease-fire and resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue, he went on. His Government also welcomed the leadership of Canada in establishing the multinational force.
An international conference on peace, development and security in the Great Lakes region was urgently needed, he said. The draft resolution before the Council aimed at meeting the humanitarian needs of refugees and displaced persons through the deployment of a neutral humanitarian force, he concluded.
LORENZO FERRARIN (Italy) said the Security Council was finally answering the "S.O.S." coming from eastern Zaire by deploying a humanitarian force to bring relief and aid to endangered populations in the region. Since the start of the Council's deliberations on the question, Italy had argued for early deployment of a multinational force. Italy had initiated diplomatic contact with the countries most directly involved, urging them to choose the road of dialogue. The international community could not remain silent but must act effectively to confront all aspects of the humanitarian emergency. Italian airplanes stood ready to transport the urgently needed relief supplies.
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A credible plan to allow the voluntary repatriation of millions of refugees must be implemented as soon as possible, he said. That required a strong and sincere commitment from their countries of origin. The refugees must not be obliged to return to areas without the necessary conditions for normal life.
To find a way out of the instability that had affected the Great Lakes region over the past years, there must be dialogue, he said. An international conference for peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region must be convened urgently. Answers must be found for the many unresolved issues, including, first and foremost, the refugee question.
He said Italy would vote in favour of the resolution to deploy a humanitarian assistance force in eastern Zaire. The suffering of the civilian population and refugees must be alleviated; too much time had already been wasted. Italy was satisfied that the operation would have strict humanitarian purposes, excluding more ambitious tasks, such as interposition between the parties to the conflict. The operation's time-frame would be limited, but defined so as to allow full implementation of its humanitarian objectives. The force would operate with the consent of the OAU and the Governments involved and would be balanced in composition. The Italian Government expressed appreciation to Canada for agreeing to take the lead and ensure the command of the operation. Italy would participate in the force as a troop- contributor.
JUAN SOMAVIA (Chile) said that the Security Council today was becoming a direct protagonist in the humanitarian crisis in eastern Zaire. The tragedy of displaced persons and refugees did not allow anything but immediate action. The draft resolution before the Council would allow the immediate dispatch of a humanitarian operation. The present action could capitalize on lessons learned from earlier actions in Somalia and Rwanda. The text could have been adopted last week or last year, in the spirit of preventive diplomacy, he added.
The participation of African States in the multinational force would be indispensable, he said. African leaders meeting in Nairobi had made clear that the multinational force should work closely together with Governments in the region. The most urgent mission before the multinational force would be the delivery of assistance by humanitarian agencies to meet people's most immediate needs.
The lasting solution to the problem of refugees in the Great Lakes region would only be resolved when political conditions allowed their voluntary repatriation, he said. An international conference on development and security in the Great Lakes region would be helpful in that regard. One sometimes wondered whether the leaders of political factions truly wished to
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achieve political solutions to their problems. True solutions would only be found when the leaders in the region shook the hands of their "so-called enemies". SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) called on the parties in the Great Lakes region to cease hostilities and enter into dialogue. They should cooperate with the international community to facilitate the delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance. Council resolution 1078 (1996) had played an essential role in spurring the development of a multinational force. He paid tribute to Canada's leadership of the multinational force, which would be acting impartially with the parties and with humanitarian agencies. The draft resolution specifically called for the participation of African Governments in the multinational force. The convening of an international conference on peace, development and security in the Great Lakes region would facilitate a solution of the region's political crises. In years past, the shift from a multinational force to a United Nations operation had resulted in tragedy, he said. This time, the Council must remain fully engaged and carefully consider the recommendations of the Secretary-General on that transition. MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT (United States) said none could forget the shock and horror of the strife in Rwanda in 1994, the hundreds of thousands of innocent people slaughtered in churches and schoolyards and in their homes. Now, in the past few weeks, new fighting had again sent most refugees and displaced persons into flight, danger and deprivation, and blocked humanitarian support from reaching them. Their plight was urgent. She said the international community was ready to assist those most in need -- the innocent civilians caught between fighting and fear. Last week, the Council had adopted a resolution which laid the basis for a rapid and effective international response. In the interim, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy and the UNHCR had been working to calm the situation and aid the refugees. However, the complexities of the situation in eastern Zaire, with multiple armed groups and a fragile political environment, required prudent preparation. She said the United States strongly supported Canada's initiative to lead a multinational force to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the refugees and displaced persons, and to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of refugees to their home countries. It welcomed the offers by nations to participate in the multinational force as well as the many offers of humanitarian assistance. The long-term solution was voluntary repatriation of the refugees, she said. To avert a recurrence of that humanitarian tragedy, refugees who wished to return to Rwanda should be able to do so. The Government of Rwanda had taken credible steps and made further pledges to ensure the security of the refugees and was working with international relief agencies to assist them
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upon their return. The United States was consulting with the Governments of the region on the arrangements necessary for potential deployment of United States forces. She said the United States was working closely with Canada and other Governments, United Nations agencies and the humanitarian community to determine the precise humanitarian requirements and how it might most usefully participate in those efforts and facilitate the orderly and successful repatriation of the refugees. Although considerable progress had been made, some outstanding questions on the organization and operation of the mission remained to be worked out. Planning for an appropriate operation to follow the temporary multinational force should also begin right away. The United States applauded the effort of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy, the OAU, regional leaders, the European Union and other mediators to address the underlying political problems that should be resolved before the region could achieve true peace and stability. It urged all the parties in the region to cease hostilities, cooperate with the mediation efforts, permit the flow of humanitarian assistance, and support the secure repatriation of refugees. It also urged all parties to cooperate with the International Tribunal authorized to deal with those persons responsible for the 1994 genocide. NUGROHO WISNUMURTI (Indonesia) said it was imperative that a cease-fire should be established. He also called upon the Governments and the parties concerned to allow access for humanitarian relief organizations. It was in that context that his delegation supported the establishment of the multinational force. He greatly appreciated the initiative taken by Canada to establish and lead the multinational force. The force should have the means to defend and protect itself, and the international relief personnel, he said. The time-frame of four months might suffice to overcome the emergency phase of the crisis. Further dimensions of the conflict needed to be addressed as well, if a lasting solution was to be found. They should, however, be considered in the next phase of the operations. The convening of an international conference on peace, security and stability in the Great Lakes region could no longer be postponed, he said. It should be held with the participation of all the Governments and parties involved under the joint auspices of the United Nations and the OAU. His delegation supported the draft resolution, he said, emphasizing that the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity should be upheld. The draft resolution was adopted unanimously as Council resolution 1080 (1996). Resuming his functions as Council President, the representative of Indonesia then announced that Brazil had also joined as co-sponsor of the resolution.
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