18 February 1997


Press Release
SC/6326



SECURITY COUNCIL ENDORSES PEACE PLAN FOR GREAT LAKES REGION PROPOSED BY UN/OAU SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE

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The Security Council this evening endorsed a five-point peace plan for eastern Zaire which calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of all external forces, including mercenaries, and the reaffirmation of respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Zaire and other States in the Great Lakes region.

Contained in resolution 1097 (1997), which was adopted unanimously by the Council, the plan also calls for protection and security for all refugees and displaced persons and for the rapid and peaceful settlement of the crisis in the region through dialogue, the electoral process and the convening of an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region.

The plan was proposed by the joint United Nations/Organization of African Unity Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region, Mohamed Sahnoun. It was transmitted to the Council in an 18 February letter from Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who stated that the Special Representative was in Kinshasa working on the plan and hoped it would be endorsed by all parties. In light of the numerous peace initiatives currently under way to restore peace in eastern Zaire, the Secretary-General asked for immediate Council support for Mr. Sahnoun's initiative.

In a presidential statement on 7 February, the Council had expressed full support for the Special Representative and had urged the parties to cooperate fully with his mission. It had also reaffirmed the importance of holding an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity.

The meeting, which was called to order at 7:34 p.m., was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

Resolution adopted

The full text of resolution 1097 is as follows:


Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6326 3741st Meeting (Night) 18 February 1997

"The Security Council

"Gravely concerned at the deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region, in particular eastern Zaire, and expressing serious concern over the safety of refugees and displaced persons whose lives are in danger,

"Welcoming the letter dated 18 February 1997 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council (S/1997/136) regarding progress in the efforts to resolve the crisis in the Great Lakes region,

"Reaffirming the Statement by the President of the Council of 7 February 1997 (S/PRST/1997/5),

"Reaffirming also the obligation to respect national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the States of the Great Lakes region and the need for the States of the region to refrain from any interference in each other's internal affairs,

"Underlining the obligation of all concerned to respect strictly the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law,

"Reiterating its support for the joint United Nations/Organization of African Unity Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region in the fulfilment of his mandate, and underlining the need for all Governments in the region and the parties concerned to cooperate fully with the mission of the Special Representative,

"1. Endorses the following five-point peace plan for eastern Zaire, as set out in the letter from the Secretary-General of 18 February 1997:

"-- Immediate cessation of hostilities;

"-- Withdrawal of all external forces, including mercenaries;

"-- Reaffirmation of respect for the national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Zaire and other States of the Great Lakes region;

"-- Protection and security for all refugees and displaced persons and facilitation of access to humanitarian assistance;

"-- Rapid and peaceful settlement of the crisis through dialogue, the electoral process and the convening of an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region;

"2. Calls on all Governments and parties concerned to cooperate with the joint United Nations/Organization of African Unity Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region to achieve lasting peace in the region;

"3. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."

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