5 November 1999


Press Release
SC/6748



SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF MILITARY LIAISON PERSONNEL DEPLOYED TO ASSIST PEACE PROCESS IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

19991105

Resolution 1273 (1999) Adopted Unanimously

The Security Council this morning extended until 15 January 2000 the mandate of the 90 United Nations military liaison personnel deployed to assist the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In August, in resolution 1258 (1999), the Council originally authorized their deployment to the capitals of the six States that had signed the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement -– the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe -– as well as to the provisional headquarters of the Joint Military Commission established by the Agreement, and the rear headquarters of the main belligerents in the Democratic Republic.

By other terms of today’s resolution 1273 (1999), adopted unanimously, the Council requested the Secretary-General to continue to report to it regularly on the future presence of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic in support of the peace process, and called on all parties to the Ceasefire Agreement to continue to abide by its provisions.

The Council took today’s action in response to a recommendation contained in the Secretary-General’s 1 November report to the Council, in which he also requested prior authorization for establishing a United Nations Observer Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the deployment of 500 military observers, once security guarantees had been established.

The liaison personnel dispatched have been charged with securing guarantees of cooperation and assurances of security for the possible deployment in-country of military observers. The Council this morning noted with satisfaction the deployment of the military liaison personnel to the capitals of the relevant States and the Joint Military Commission and underlined the importance of their full deployment.

The meeting was called to order at 11 a.m. and adjourned at 11:04 a.m.


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Resolution

The full text of resolution 1273 (1999) reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Recalling its resolutions 1234 (1999) of 9 April 1999 and 1258 (1999) of 6 August 1999 and 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),

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

“Reaffirming also that the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement (S/1999/815) represents a viable basis for a resolution of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

“Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 1 November 1999 (S/1999/1116),

“Noting with satisfaction the deployment of United Nations military liaison personnel to the capitals of the States signatories to the Ceasefire Agreement and to the Joint Military Commission established by them, and underlining the importance of their full deployment as provided for in its resolution 1258 (1999),

“Noting also that the Joint Military Commission and the Political Committee have held meetings as mandated under the Ceasefire Agreement,

“Urging all parties to the Ceasefire Agreement to cooperate fully with the technical survey team despatched to the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the Secretary-General as indicated in his report of 15 July 1999 (S/1999/790), in order to allow it to assess conditions and to prepare for subsequent United Nations deployments in the country,

“1. Decides to extend the mandate of the United Nations military liaison personnel deployed under paragraph 8 of resolution 1258 (1999) until 15 January 2000;

“2. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to report to it regularly on developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo including on the future presence of the United Nations in the country in support of the peace process;


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“3. Calls on all parties to the Ceasefire Agreement to continue to abide by its provisions;

“4. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

Secretary-General’s Report

When the Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo it had before it a report of the Secretary- General in which he requests the Council to give him prior authorization for the setting up of a United Nations Observer Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the deployment of up to 500 military observers with the necessary logistical and personnel support (S/1999/1116). At the same time, the Secretary-General recommends an extension of the mandate of United Nations personnel currently in the Democratic Republic of the Congo until 15 January 2000.

In an earlier report (S/1999/790, issued 7 July 1999) the Secretary- General outlined the mandate of the projected MONUC. The observers would be deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, as required, to the belligerent and other neighbouring States. Its tasks would be in accordance with the peacekeeping functions listed in the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and would supplement those already being performed by the military liaison officers. They would include the following: to establish contacts with the various parties at their headquarters locations; to strengthen liaison with the Joint Military Commission; to assist the Joint Military Commission and the parties in investigating alleged violations of the ceasefire; and to make a general security assessment of the country.

The Mission would also secure guarantees of cooperation and assurances of security for the further deployment in-country of United Nations personnel, determine the present and likely future locations of the forces of all parties to refine and finalize the concept for deployment of United Nations military personnel and observe, subject to security arrangements, the ceasefire and disengagement of the forces and their redeployment and eventual withdrawal. The Mission would also facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance to and protection of displaced persons, refugees, children and other affected persons. Further, they would assist and protect human rights and child protection officers in the performance of their duties.

The report describes recent developments in the peace process, noting that the Joint Military Commission met in Kampala on 11 and 12 October with the participation of the States and rebel movements signatories to the Agreement. Under the Lusaka Agreement, the Joint Military Commission is responsible, together with the observers to be deployed by the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), for executing peacekeeping functions until deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping force. The Agreement stipulates that, until the deployment of United Nations/OAU observers, the cessation of


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hostilities is to be regulated and monitored by the parties through the Joint Military Commission. At the meeting in Kampala, the Commission decided to deploy observers at four positions and investigate ceasefire violations.

The Secretary-General states that all the parties, with the exception of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have guaranteed the safety of the United Nations personnel in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the areas under their control. In spite of delays in the deployment of OAU observers, the parties to the Agreement had generally continued to respect the ceasefire.

According to the report, the Political Committee, which was also established by the Agreement, expressed concern about the “slow pace” at which the United Nations was handling the request for the deployment of peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It noted that similar situations in other regions ”normally receive more prompt and appropriate response from the United Nations”. It called on the United Nations “to address the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the urgency and seriousness it deserves”.

There have been several accusations and counter-accusations of ceasefire violations by the parties and troop movements are said to be continuing, says the Secretary-General. Some reports have also indicated a build-up of foreign troops and that a serious confrontation between Rwandan and Ugandan troops had taken place in August/September. Some small locations have reportedly been seized recently by rebels and there have also been unverified reports of troop movements by government forces. The presence of former Rwandan Government forces and Interahamwe militia elements in the region and the alleged alliances they are forging with different groups underscore the intricate nature of the peace process in the Great Lakes region.

A technical survey team was mandated under resolution 1258 (1999) to locate and visit the field military headquarters of the main belligerents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While they have arrived in Kinshasa, they have not yet been able to carry out any reconnaissance visits within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The report goes on to say that insecurity remains a major obstacle to humanitarian operations and hampers access to the internally displaced, now numbering more than 800,000 people. Large numbers of civilians continue to be exposed to indiscriminate violence, looting and the destruction of property. The major constraint for the humanitarian community is that priority life-saving operations are severely underfunded.

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