6 August 1999


Press Release
SC/6711



SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES DEPLOYMENT OF UN MILITARY LIAISON PERSONNEL TO CAPITALS OF SIGNATORIES OF AGREEMENT ON DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

19990806

Resolution 1258 (1999) Adopted Unanimously

The Security Council this morning authorized the deployment for three months of up to 90 United Nations military liaison personnel to the capitals of the States signatories to the Ceasefire Agreement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1258 (1999), the Council also authorized the group, together with civilian, political, humanitarian and administrative staff, to be deployed to the provisional headquarters of the Joint Military Commission (JMC), to the rear military headquarters of the main belligerents in the country, and to other areas the Secretary-General may deem necessary.

By other terms of the text, the mandate of the personnel will include:

-- establishment of contacts and maintenance of liaison with the Commission and all parties to the Agreement;

-- assistance to the Commission and the parties in developing modalities for the implementation of the Agreement which was signed in Lusaka on 10 July;

-- provision of technical assistance, as requested, to the Commission; and

-- providing information to the Secretary-General on the situation on the ground, and to assist in refining a concept of operations for a possible further role of the United Nations in the implementation of the Agreement once it is signed by all parties.

The military liaison personnel will also secure from the parties, guarantees of cooperation and security assurances for the possible deployment in the country of military observers, the text goes on.

In addition, the Council, while welcoming the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement on 1 August by the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo, expressed deep concern that the Congolese Rally for Democracy had not signed the Agreement. It called upon that party to sign the Agreement without delay in order to bring about national reconciliation and lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Moreover, the Council called upon all parties to the conflict, in particular the rebel movements, to cease hostilities and to implement fully and without delay the provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement. It also called upon them to cooperate fully with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations in the implementation of the Agreement and to desist from any act that may further exacerbate the situation.

The Council stressed the need for a continuing process of genuine national reconciliation, and encouraged all Congolese to participate in the national debate to be organized in accordance with the provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement. It also stressed the need to create an environment conducive to the return in safety and dignity of all refugees and displaced persons. All States and parties concerned were called upon to ensure the freedom of movement, security and safety of United Nations personnel in their territory. All parties to the conflict were urged to guarantee the safety and security of all humanitarian personnel and to respect strictly the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law.

The meeting was called to order at 11:10 a.m. and adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Resolution Adopted

The full text of resolution 1258 (1999) reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Reaffirming its resolution 1234 (1999) of 9 April 1999 and recalling the statements of its President of 31 August 1998 (S/PRST/1998/26), 11 December 1998 (S/PRST/1998/36), and 24 June 1999 (S/PRST/1999/17),

"Bearing in mind the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security,

"Reaffirming the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all States in the region,

"Determined to resolve with all parties concerned the grave humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular and in the

region as a whole and to provide for the safe and free return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes,

"Recognizing that the current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo demands an urgent response by the parties to the conflict with support from the international community,

"Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel adopted on 9 December 1994,

"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 15 July 1999 on the United Nations preliminary deployment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/1999/790),

"1. Welcomes the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement on the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the States concerned in Lusaka on 10 July 1999 (S/1999/815) which represents a viable basis for a resolution of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

"2. Also welcomes the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement on 1 August 1999 by the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo, expresses deep concern that the Congolese Rally for Democracy has not signed the Agreement and calls upon the latter to sign the Agreement without delay in order to bring about national reconciliation and lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

"3. Commends the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Southern African Development Community for their efforts to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in particular the President of the Republic of Zambia, and also the Secretary-General, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Representative of the Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region and all those who contributed to the peace process;

"4. Calls upon all parties to the conflict, in particular the rebel movements, to cease hostilities, to implement fully and without delay the provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement, to cooperate fully with the OAU and the United Nations in the implementation of the Agreement and to desist from any act that may further exacerbate the situation;

"5. Stresses the need for a continuing process of genuine national reconciliation, and encourages all Congolese to participate in the national debate to be organized in accordance with the provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement;

"6. Stresses also the need to create an environment conducive to the return in safety and dignity of all refugees and displaced persons; "7. Notes with satisfaction the prompt establishment of the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission (JMC) by the States signatories to the Ceasefire Agreement as part of their collective effort to implement the Ceasefire Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

"8. Authorizes the deployment of up to 90 United Nations military liaison personnel, together with the necessary civilian, political, humanitarian and administrative staff, to the capitals of the States signatories to the Ceasefire Agreement and the provisional headquarters of the JMC, and, as security conditions permit, to the rear military headquarters of the main belligerents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, as appropriate, to other areas the Secretary-General may deem necessary, for a period of three months, with the following mandate:

"- To establish contacts and maintain liaison with the JMC and all parties to the Agreement;

"- To assist the JMC and the parties in developing modalities for the Implementation of the Agreement;

"- To provide technical assistance, as requested to the JMC;

"- To provide information to the Secretary-General regarding the situation on the ground, and to assist in refining a concept of operations for a possible further role of the United Nations in the Implementation of the Agreement once it is signed by all parties; and

"- To secure from the parties guarantees of cooperation and assurances of security for the possible deployment in-country of military observers;

"9. Welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative to serve as the Head of the United Nations presence in the subregion relating to the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to provide assistance in the Implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement, and invites him to do so as soon as possible;

"10. Calls upon all States and parties concerned to ensure the freedom of movement, security and safety of United Nations personnel in their territory;

"11. Calls for safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to those in need in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and urges all parties to the conflict to guarantee the safety and security of all humanitarian personnel and to respect strictly the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law; "12. Requests the Secretary-General to keep it regularly informed of developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to report at the appropriate time on the future presence of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in support of the peace process;

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

Secretary-General's Report

When the Council met this morning, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations preliminary deployment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (document S/1999/790 of 15 July). The report sets forth recommendations for United Nations actions in connection with the signing of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 10 July by representatives of six concerned States, and in anticipation of rebels also signing, for immediate and full implementation of the Agreement.

The report states that the Lusaka Agreement, stipulating the immediate disengagement of all military forces, also contained other provisions, such as those concerning normalization of the situation along the international borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the control of illicit trafficking of arms and the infiltration of armed groups. The Agreement also contains the modalities of implementing the ceasefire, which provided for the establishment of a Joint Military Commission under a neutral Chairman to be appointed by the OAU in consultation with the parties.

Other modalities dealt with cessation of hostilities; disengagement; the release of hostages and exchange of prisoners of war; the orderly withdrawal of all foreign forces; national dialogue and reconciliation; the re-establishment of State administration over the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the disarmament of armed groups; the formation of a national army; the redeployment of forces of the parties to defensive positions in conflict zones; the normalization of the security situation along the common borders between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbours; and a calendar for the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement.

The report also outlines proposals for United Nations actions as contained in the Lusaka Agreement, such as the deployment of an "appropriate force" by the United Nations, in collaboration with OAU, to ensure implementation of the Agreement. Also envisaged in the Agreement were a number of peace enforcement operations, such as the "tracking down" and disarming of armed groups.

Overall, the report states that the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had inflicted terrible suffering on a country already heavily burdened with poverty and neglect. The international community and the United Nations should do everything in their power to assist the Congolese Government, parties and people, as well as the other governments involved, in achieving a peaceful solution. To be effective, a United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo would have to be large and expensive, requiring the deployment of thousands of international troops and civilian personnel.

The report recommends that the Security Council immediately authorize the deployment of up to 90 United Nations military personnel, together with the necessary civilian political, humanitarian and administrative staff, to the subregion. As a second stage, based on the report of the technical survey team and of the liaison group, a further deployment would involve up to 500 military observers within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and as required to the belligerent and other neighbouring States.

The report outlines the tasks of the military observers, which would be in accordance with the peacekeeping functions listed in the Agreement, including the establishment of contacts with the various parties at their headquarters locations and liaison with the Joint Military Commission. Troop-contributing countries had been approached and a Special Representative would be appointed to lead the observer mission to be called the United Nations Observer Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). A small advance team had been sent to the region to establish contacts and liaison with the authorities in Lusaka.

The problem of armed groups was particularly difficult and sensitive, lying at the core of the conflict in the subregion and undermining the security of all States, the report states. A purely military solution appeared impossible, since the forces most able and willing to impose a military solution had clearly failed to do so. It was essential for the Congolese parties to proceed with their national debate, as provided for in the Agreement, working towards national reconciliation through dialogue among all groups concerned. The international community could then convene an international conference on the Great Lakes region to secure donor commitment to the recovery of the region as a whole.

In addition to the Secretary-General's report, the Council had before it a letter from the representative of Zambia (document S/1999/815) transmitting the text of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and its annexes, signed by regional leaders at Lusaka on 10 July.

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