24 February 2000


Press Release
SC/6809



SECURITY COUNCIL EXPANDS MISSION IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1291 (2000)

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Extends Mandate until 31 August, Authorizes 5,537 Troops To Help Implement Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement

The Security Council this afternoon, stressing its commitment to the full implementation of the July 1999 Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, extended the mandate of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to 31 August and authorized its expansion.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1291 (2000), the Council authorized an expansion of up to 5,537 military personnel, including up to 500 observers, or more, provided that the Secretary-General determined that there was a need and that it could be accommodated within the overall force size and structure. Appropriate civilian support staff in such areas as human rights and child protection would also be added.

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council decided that MONUC, under a newly established joint structure with the Joint Military Commission, which was created under the Ceasefire Agreement, might take actions to protect United Nations and co-located Joint Military Commission personnel, facilities, installations and equipment; ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel; and protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.

The Council requested the Secretary-General to recommend immediately any additional force requirements necessary to enhance force protection. He was also asked, on the basis of concrete and observed military and political progress on the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement and relevant Council resolutions, to plan for any additional United Nations deployments in the country.

In a related provision, it decided that the phased deployment of military and civilian personnel would be carried out as and if the Secretary-General determined that the personnel would be able to deploy to their assigned locations and carry out their duties in conditions of adequate security and with the cooperation of the parties, and that he had received firm and credible assurances from the parties to the Ceasefire Agreement to that effect.


Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6809 4104th Meeting (AM) 24 February 2000

The Council also decided that MONUC, as part of its expanded mandate, should develop an action plan within 45 days for the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement, which would emphasize, among other key objectives: the collection and verification of military information on the parties' forces; the maintenance of the cessation of hostilities and the disengagement and redeployment of the parties' forces; and the orderly withdrawal of all foreign forces.

The Mission, in cooperation with the Joint Military Commission, would monitor implementation of the Agreement and investigate any violations. It would also monitor compliance with provisions concerning the supply of ammunition, weaponry, and other war-related matériel to the field, including all armed groups named in the Ceasefire Agreement. It would supervise and verify the disengagement and redeployment of the parties' forces, and carry out emergency mine-action activities.

The Council requested the governments of the States in the region to conclude status-of-forces agreements with the Secretary-General within 30 days. Pending the conclusion of such agreements, the model status-of-forces agreement dated 9 October 1990 should apply.

Expressing its deep concern at all violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, the Council condemned all massacres carried out in and around the territory and urged that an international investigation into all such events be carried out with a view to bringing those responsible to justice.

In that connection, the Council called on all parties to the conflict to protect human rights and respect international humanitarian law and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948. It called on all parties to refrain from or cease any support to, or association with, those suspected of involvement in the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes, and bring to justice those responsible.

Deeply concerned also over the illicit flow of arms into the region, the Council called upon all concerned to halt such flows, and expressed its intention to consider the issue further. It expressed serious concern at reports of illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth in the country and called for an end to such activities.

Statements were made by the representatives of Ukraine, Namibia, France, United Kingdom, China, Jamaica, Canada, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Netherlands, Tunisia, Mali, United States, Argentina, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Portugal (on behalf of the European Union).

The meeting, which was called to order at 11:56 a.m., adjourned at 1:33 p.m.


Council Work Programme

As 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 on the United Nations Organization Mission in that country (MONUC) (document S/2000/30), which was established by Council resolution 1279 (1999) of 30 November 1999.

The Secretary-General states that since his November 1999 report, the situation in the Democratic Republic has deteriorated. Fighting between Government troops and the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) and other armed groups has been reported in different parts of the country. According to witnesses, the armed groups have acquired new equipment. Reports from South Kivu strongly suggest the danger of large-scale violence among different ethnic groups there. Among several alleged massacres and atrocities is the burial alive of 15 women in Kivu province by rebels, apparently in suspicion of contacts with Mayi-Mayi forces.

As explained in the report, the 1999 Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, which provides for holding of an inter-Congolese national dialogue leading to national reconciliation, also envisioned the establishment of a Joint Military Commission which, together with the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), would be responsible for peacekeeping operations until the deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping force. Under another provision of the Agreement, a ministerial-level Political Committee was to be established.

The Secretary-General concludes that the deployment of additional United Nations military personnel should contribute to restoring momentum for the implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. In that connection, the signatories bear a crucial responsibility for ensuring the implementation of the Agreement. The international community’s willingness to lend its full support and allocate the significant resources that will be required will depend upon their renewed commitment to the Agreement. In that context, no new military offensives should be launched, the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel should be guaranteed, and the spreading of hostile propaganda, especially incitements to attack unarmed civilians, should cease.

The Secretary-General states that, in view of its essential role, the Joint Military Commission must be established soon on a permanent basis, so that it can react swiftly to events and provide credible and authoritative decisions. Efforts to integrate its activities with those of MONUC should continue. Designation in December of the former President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire, as the neutral facilitator for the inter-Congolese dialogue has elevated the prospect that the rest of the Lusaka peace process will now be implemented, with the assistance of the OAU. On 11 December 1999, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Kamel Morjane (Tunisia), assumed his duties in Kinshasa.

Regional efforts and initiatives undertaken in support of the peace process, including those by heads of State in the region, are to be commended, the Secretary-General states. Provided the parties agree to take the necessary steps, he recommends the deployment of four reinforced protected infantry battalion groups, accompanied by up to 500 military observers, two marine companies and the supporting military personnel and equipment, and the additional civilian personnel required. Until full deployment of a United Nations force, the role of the Joint Military Commission will remain crucial.

In order to permit the Joint Military Commission to fulfil its functions, the Secretary-General appeals to donors to provide the resources necessary to support its operations. Information from MONUC personnel confirms previous assessments that, in order to be effective, any United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo would require the deployment of thousands of international troops and civilian personnel. It would face tremendous difficulties and risks. Despite the fact that the deployment of a MONUC peacekeeping operation might create inflated and unrealistic expectations, the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement remains the best hope for the resolution of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, for the time being, the only prospect of achieving it.

With the renewed commitment of the parties to the Lusaka Agreement, fully supported by the international community, diplomatic efforts may yet succeed in resolving the crisis, the Secretary-General states. If the Agreement is to be carried out as signed, the formidable tasks expected of the United Nations will need to be carefully evaluated. In particular, it will be necessary to reflect on the question of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the armed groups in order to develop a realistic plan of action.

The United Nations can play an important role if it receives the necessary mandate and resources, the Secretary-General continues. A large-scale United Nations peacekeeping operation would provide assistance in the disengagement and withdrawal of combatant forces; provide security for the operations of United Nations military personnel; and work towards eventual disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, including the armed groups identified in the Lusaka Agreement.

The latest developments described in the report include the Joint Military Commission meeting in Harare in December 1999, at which the Commission adopted for approval by the Political Committee papers on the determination of humanitarian corridors, release of hostages, exchange of prisoners of war and relations with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It also addressed the mechanisms of disarming armed groups and handing over war criminals and perpetrators of crimes against humanity; drafting mechanisms and procedures for the disengagement of forces; and withdrawal of foreign forces.

The Joint Military Commission also adopted a proposal for a peaceful resolution of the situation at Ikela, where Congolese, Namibian and Zimbabwean troops are encircled by rebel forces. It also considered the question of stationing United Nations liaison officers and further deployment of the Joint Military Commission’s own regional structures, accompanied by OAU observers, within the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

To address the questions of security and freedom of movement for the technical survey team, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Moustapha Niasse, met with President Kabila during his visit to Kinshasa in November. Since then, the survey team has visited seven locations in rebel-held territory and one in Government-held territory; and teams of United Nations military liaison officers have been positioned at several locations. Seventy-nine United Nations military liaison officers are currently deployed on the Democratic Republic, in the capitals of the belligerent parties and elsewhere in the subregion.

Regarding the humanitarian situation in the country, the report states that there are some 960,000 internally displaced persons in eight of the 11 provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and over 300,000 refugees from six of its neighbouring countries. Recent humanitarian assessments reveal that over 2.1 million people (internally displaced persons, refugees, urban vulnerable), or 4.3 per cent of the population of the country, face critical food insecurity. Another 8.4 million, or 17 per cent of the population, face moderate but rapidly growing food insecurity.

The Secretary-General further reports that a major improvement in funding and resources is needed to address the humanitarian needs in the country. In December 1999, the United Nations Consolidated Appeal for 2000 was launched at Geneva, requesting $71.3 million. The 1999 Consolidated Appeal for $38.6 million had only a 17 per cent response rate, making it impossible to provide the necessary life- saving interventions. Recent exceptional floods and river overflows in Kinshasa created an additional group of approximately 9,000 vulnerable families in several areas of the capital. The Governments of Belgium, France, Japan, United States, Canada and the United Kingdom contributed over $500,000 to address immediate humanitarian needs, along with the European Community Humanitarian Office and United Nations agencies.

The Secretary-General also states that children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo face displacement, separation from and loss of families, physical injuries and exposure to chronic violence and forced recruitment into fighting forces. Thousands serve as combatants with the various fighting forces. Large numbers of unaccompanied minors have been reported in several provinces. The recruitment of child soldiers continues, especially in the eastern part of the country. Among the positive developments in that regard, the report mentions a Forum on the Demobilization of Child Soldiers and the Protection of Human Rights, which was organized in December 1999 by the Congolese Ministry of Human Rights, supported by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Regarding financial aspects of the situation, the Secretary-General reports that pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1258 (1999), 1273 (1999) and 1279 (1999), he has obtained from the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) commitment authorities totalling $41 million for the United Nations preliminary deployment in the subregion and for the establishment and maintenance of MONUC for the period from 6 August 1999 to 1 March 2000. That amount includes the funds necessary for equipping 500 military observers and an additional 100 civilian support personnel, expected to be deployed subject to a further decision by the Council. The Secretary-General intends to seek assessment of these requirements from the General Assembly during its resumed fifty-fourth session.

Draft Resolution

The Council also had before it a draft resolution (S/2000/143) which reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Recalling its resolutions 1234 (1999) of 9 April 1999, 1258 (1999) of 6 August 1999, 1273 (1999) of 5 November 1999, 1279 (1999) of 30 November 1999, and other relevant resolutions, and the statements of its President of 26 January 2000 (S/PRST/2000/2), 24 June 1999 (S/PRST/1999/17, 11 December 1998 (S/PRST/1998/36), 31 August 1998 (S/PRST/1998/26) and 13 July 1998 (S/PRST/1998/20),

“Reaffirming 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, and the obligation of all States to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,

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

“Reaffirming also the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo over its natural resources, and noting with concern reports of the illegal exploitation of the country's assets and the potential consequences of these actions on security conditions and the continuation of hostilities,

“Expressing its strong support for the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement (S/1999/815), which represents the most viable basis for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

“Reiterating its call for the orderly withdrawal of all foreign forces from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in accordance with the Ceasefire Agreement,

“Noting the commitment of all the parties to the Ceasefire Agreement to locate, identify, disarm and assemble all members of all armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo referred to in Annex A, Chapter 9.1, of the Ceasefire Agreement and the commitment of all countries of origin of these armed groups to take the steps necessary for their repatriation, and noting that these tasks must be conducted by the parties in accordance with the Ceasefire Agreement,

“Endorsing the selection by the Congolese Parties, with the assistance of the Organization of African Unity, of the Facilitator of the National Dialogue provided for in the Ceasefire Agreement, and calling on all Member States to provide political, financial, and material support to the Facilitation,

“Recalling the report of the Secretary-General of 17 January 2000 (S/2000/30),

“Stressing its commitment to work with the parties to implement fully the Ceasefire Agreement, while underlining that its successful implementation rests first and foremost on the will of all parties to the Agreement,

“Stressing the importance of the re-establishment of state administration throughout the national territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as called for in the Ceasefire Agreement,

“Stressing the importance of the Joint Military Commission (JMC), and urging all States to continue to provide it with assistance,

“Emphasizing that phase II of the deployment of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) should be based on the following considerations:

“(a) that the parties respect and uphold the Ceasefire Agreement and the relevant Council resolutions;

“(b) that a valid plan for the disengagement of the parties' forces and their redeployment to JMC-approved positions is developed;

“(c) that the parties provide firm and credible assurances, prior to the deployment of MONUC forces, for the security and freedom of movement of United Nations and related personnel,

“Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of the United Nations and Associated Personnel adopted on 9 December 1994 and the statement of its President of 10 February 2000 (S/PRST/2000/4),

“Welcoming and encouraging efforts by the United Nations to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases in all its peacekeeping operations,

“Expressing its serious concern over the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and encouraging donors to respond to the United Nations consolidated humanitarian appeal,

“Stressing the importance to the effectiveness of such humanitarian assistance and other international operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo of favourable conditions for local procurement and recruitment by international organizations and agencies,

“Expressing its deep concern at all violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular those alleged violations referred to in the report of the Secretary-General,

“Expressing also its deep concern at the limited access of humanitarian workers to refugees and internally displaced persons in some areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and stressing the need for the continued operation of United Nations and other agencies' relief operations, as well as human rights promotion and monitoring, under acceptable conditions of security, freedom of movement, and access to affected areas,

“Determining that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo constitutes a threat to international peace and security in the region,

“1. Calls on all parties to fulfil their obligations under the Ceasefire Agreement;

“2. Reiterates its strong support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and his overall authority over United Nations activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and calls on all parties to cooperate fully with him;

“3. Decides to extend the mandate of MONUC until 31 August 2000;

“4. Authorizes the expansion of MONUC to consist of up to 5,537 military personnel, including up to 500 observers, or more, provided that the Secretary- General determines that there is a need and that it can be accommodated within the overall force size and structure, and appropriate civilian support staff in the areas, inter alia, of human rights, humanitarian affairs, public information, child protection, political affairs, medical support and administrative support, and requests the Secretary-General to recommend immediately any additional force requirements that might become necessary to enhance force protection;

“5. Decides that the phased deployment of personnel referred to in paragraph 4 above will be carried out as and if the Secretary-General determines that MONUC personnel will be able to deploy to their assigned locations and carry out their functions as described in paragraph 7 below in conditions of adequate security and with the cooperation of the parties, and that he has received firm and credible assurances from the parties to the Ceasefire Agreement to that effect, and requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed in this regard;

“6. Decides that MONUC will establish, under the overall authority of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, a joint structure with the JMC that will ensure close coordination during the period of deployment of MONUC, with co-located headquarters and joint support and administrative structures;

“7. Decides that MONUC, in cooperation with the JMC, shall have the following mandate:

“(a) to monitor the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement and investigate violations of the ceasefire;

“(b) to establish and maintain continuous liaison with the field headquarters of all the parties' military forces;

“(c) to develop, within 45 days of adoption of this resolution, an action plan for the overall implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement by all concerned with particular emphasis on the following key objectives: the collection and verification of military information on the parties' forces, the maintenance of the cessation of hostilities and the disengagement and redeployment of the parties' forces, the comprehensive disarmament, demobilization, resettlement and re-integration of all members of all armed groups referred to in Annex A, Chapter 9.1 of the Ceasefire Agreement, and the orderly withdrawal of all foreign forces;

“(d) to work with the parties to obtain the release of all prisoners of war, military captives and remains in cooperation with international humanitarian agencies;

“(e) to supervise and verify the disengagement and redeployment of the parties' forces;

“(f) within its capabilities and areas of deployment, to monitor compliance with the provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement on the supply of ammunition, weaponry and other war-related matériel to the field, including to all armed groups referred to in Annex A, Chapter 9.1;

“(g) to facilitate humanitarian assistance and human rights monitoring, with particular attention to vulnerable groups including women, children and demobilized child soldiers, as MONUC deems within its capabilities and under acceptable security conditions, in close cooperation with other United Nations agencies, related organizations and non-governmental organizations;

“(h) to cooperate closely with the Facilitator of the National Dialogue, provide support and technical assistance to him, and coordinate other United Nations agencies' activities to this effect;

“(i) to deploy mine action experts to assess the scope of the mine and unexploded ordnance problems, coordinate the initiation of mine action activities, develop a mine action plan, and carry out emergency mine action activities as required in support of its mandate;

“8. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations decides that MONUC may take the necessary action, in the areas of deployment of its infantry battalions and as it deems within its capabilities, to protect United Nations and co-located JMC personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel, and protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;

“9. Calls on the parties to the Ceasefire Agreement to support actively the deployment of MONUC to the areas of operations deemed necessary by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, including through the provision of assurances of adequate security and freedom of movement as well as the active participation of liaison personnel;

“10. Requests the Governments of the States in the region to conclude, as necessary, status-of-forces agreements with the Secretary-General within 30 days of adoption of this resolution, and recalls that pending the conclusion of such agreements the model status-of-forces agreement dated 9 October 1990 (A/45/1594) should apply provisionally;

“11. Requests the Secretary-General, on the basis of concrete and observed military and political progress in the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement and relevant Council resolutions, to continue to plan for any additional United Nations deployments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to make recommendations for further Council action;

“12. Calls on all parties to ensure the safe and unhindered access of relief personnel to all those in need, and recalls that the parties must also provide guarantees for the safety, security and freedom of movement for United Nations and associated humanitarian relief personnel;

“13. Calls on all parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross to enable it to carry out its mandates as well as the tasks entrusted to it under the Ceasefire Agreement;

“14. Condemns all massacres carried out in and around the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and urges that an international investigation into all such events be carried out with a view to bringing to justice those responsible;

“15. Calls on all parties to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to protect human rights and respect international humanitarian law and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948, and calls on all parties to refrain from or cease any support to, or association with, those suspected of involvement in the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, and to bring to justice those responsible, and facilitate measures in accordance with international law to ensure accountability for violations of international humanitarian law;

“16. Expresses its deep concern over the illicit flow of arms into the region, calls upon all concerned to halt such flows, and expresses its intention to consider this issue further;

“17. Expresses its serious concern at reports of illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including in violation of the sovereignty of that country, calls for an end to such activities, expresses its intention to consider the matter further, and requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council within 90 days on ways to achieve this goal;

“18. Reaffirms the importance of holding, at the appropriate time, an international conference on peace, security, democracy and development in the Great Lakes region under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity, with the participation of all the governments of the region and all others concerned;

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

Statements

VOLODYMYR YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine) said that just one month ago, his delegation had expressed its optimism that the Council would produce concrete results contributing to the restoration of peace and security in the Central African region. Shortly thereafter, the Council made a bold step towards meeting the long-held expectations of the African countries and of the international community. The current resolution, initiating the second phase of the United Nations’ presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, might well be the first “momentous” Council decision of the new century.

He said the decision would place a heavy responsibility on all those concerned. Both the restoration of peace in the region and the credibility of the United Nations in conflict resolution in years to come would be at stake following the deployment of an expanded MONUC. Yesterday, at the Summit in Lusaka, the parties reaffirmed their strong commitment to the Ceasefire Agreement and reiterated their determination for its full and expeditious implementation. Strict adherence to that commitment was the most fundamental prerequisite for ensuring success of the collective endeavour to bring peace and stability to the Great Lakes region.

Clearly, MONUC’s expansion represented the core of the draft resolution, he said. At the same time, his country attached particular significance to the fact that the decision had been accompanied by the explicit reaffirmation of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. The emphasis on the obligation of all States to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations, was more than relevant with respect to the situation described by the Council President on 24 January as “Africa’s first world war”. His country supported and would assist in its implementation.

MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said that the draft was not perfect and was a compromise text. He wanted to remind the Council about the real cause of the conflict and the need for all States to refrain from interference in each other’s internal affairs. The people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo should not pay for the inaction of the international community, with regard to past violations of international humanitarian law in other parts of that region. The 5,537 military personnel being authorized by the draft was inadequate to monitor implementation of the Agreement over the vast territory of the country. It did not conform to the mandate of MONUC, as per the resolution the Council was about to adopt. Nevertheless, he would go along with the proposed numbers, with the hope that the Secretary-General would revert to the Council should additional personnel be required.

The deployment of the 5,537 MONUC personnel was only the second phase in a series of deployments, he said. It, therefore, went without saying, and it was only logical, that the Secretary-General would no doubt be preparing for the next phase of United Nations deployment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He, therefore, hoped that the Secretary-General would revert back to the Council with recommendations in that regard as well. Further, he could not overemphasize the need for MONUC to protect civilians under the threat of violence, within its capabilities. Namibia would vote in favour of the draft resolution.

ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said tha, one month ago, the Council had hosted the leaders of the signatory countries to the Lusaka Agreement, and heard them restate their commitment to the Ceasefire Agreement. Also at the time, the Secretary- General had presented his recommendations for MONUC’s expansion, which had addressed the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement as a whole, respect for the ceasefire, disengagement of the parties, the disarmament of armed groups, and the withdrawal of all foreign forces. His recommendations had also provided for the convening of an international conference on peace, security, democracy and development in the Great Lakes region.

During that exceptional Council meeting, his delegation had indicated its support for those recommendations and noted that the Council’s support of an expanded United Nations intervention should seek to consolidate observance of the ceasefire, he continued. His delegation had welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendations to that end, along with the proviso that security matters should be considered from all aspects. The present text was designed to bring about implementation of those recommendations. It also clearly set out the premises on which the deployment of the expanded MONUC must be based, namely: respect for the ceasefire; preparations for the disengagement of forces; and assurances of the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel.

The plan was not perfect, and the text had been based on a compromise, he said. One might wonder, in particular, about the optimum size of the troop and observer contingents, but the text had clearly described the origin of the deteriorating situation and clearly identified responsibility. Thus, he would vote in favour of the draft, whose implementation would only be possible if concrete measures were undertaken by all parties to the conflict. The participation of the signatories to the Ceasefire Agreement at yesterday’s meeting in Lusaka had been a positive sign, but it was necessary to go beyond declarations of intent. The situation was indeed preoccupying, he said, particularly in the eastern part of the country, which had experienced growing tension. The most recent information, received late yesterday from the Secretariat, had demonstrated that the presence of foreign forces was increasingly unpopular and had led to resistance by civilians. The information received yesterday had also indicated the occurrence of massacres and inter-ethnic confrontations, thus pointing to the risk of further violence. In addition, the illegal exploitation of the country’s natural resources, in violation of its sovereignty, had further contributed to prolonging the hostilities.

He said that considerable effort must be made by all parties to implement the ceasefire. Hopefully, the MONUC resolution would lead to a concrete commitment and reconciliation in the country. Hopefully, the national dialogue would also serve to bring about reconciliation. Beyond moral and political support, his country was prepared to contribute to the facilitator a degree of material support.

STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) said that his country wanted to see the Secretariat move ahead as rapidly as possible to deploy the expanded MONUC, authorized today. As the resolution spelled out, the deployment could only proceed in parallel with implementation of the Lusaka Agreement. The fighting must now stop and international humanitarian law must be respected. The rearming and resupply of armed groups and ethnic propaganda must also stop. Further, the United Nations must be granted access to deploy in the region. It was also imperative to move forward on all the political and military elements of Lusaka. It was vital that an open, inclusive and democratic national dialogue on the future of the country get under way as soon as possible. In addition, a programme for comprehensive, voluntary and peaceful disarmament, demobilization, resettlement and reintegration of armed groups, without which the Agreement could not succeed, must be elaborated and agreed upon. Synergy between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in all those areas was vital.

The parties must also cooperate with MONUC, he continued. Access and security must be provided for the Mission and for aid agencies. The parties must ensure that the right conditions are in place for MONUC’s deployment to the four designated sites. He was most concerned that access had not yet been granted to MONUC to conduct reconnaissance and survey activities in the proposed deployment sites. That was unacceptable. He strongly endorsed the elements in the resolution that made it clear that deployment must only go forward when the Secretary-General was satisfied that the conditions were right, and that he should keep the Council fully informed of progress in that area.

WANG YINGFAN(China) said that, in January, there had been a unanimous call for the United Nations to dispatch a peacekeeping mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today, the expansion of that Mission would be voted on, a signal of the determination of the Council to resolve the conflict in that country. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and implementation of the Lusaka Agreement formed the basis of resolving the crisis. While the further deployment of forces was a good step, more and harder tasks lay before the international community and the parties to the conflict, which called for more common effort.

There must be strict adherence to the Lusaka Agreement, he continued. China welcomed the outcome of the recently concluded Lusakia summit. The success of the peacekeeping mission hinged on the close relationship between peacekeeping forces and the parties involved. The parties must assist MONUC in its activities. Also, MONUC should pay attention to enhanced communication with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and heed and respect its views. The establishment of the joint structure between MONUC and the Joint Military Commission would enhance the coordination and cooperation between the two bodies. He supported MONUC’s expansion and would vote in favour of the resolution.

M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said the draft was a pivotal one that could have a lasting impact on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region as a whole. The deliberations in January, which had culminated in the historic participation in a Council meeting of seven heads of State, had emphasized the presence of intractable regional problems, which needed to be addressed in a comprehensive manner. The adoption of the draft was a step in the right direction. It did not meet all of her wishes, but it would send a message to the parties that the Council was committed to playing its part in reinvigorating the peace process in that country.

She said she welcomed the political will demonstrated by the parties to the Lusaka Agreement at yesterday’s meeting, adding that they must strictly adhere to the Agreement and implement all of its aspects. The present draft fostered national reconciliation while, at the same time, respect for the sovereignty of the country and its neighbours. She was deeply concerned, however, at reports of recent outbreaks of fighting and of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Indeed, the deteriorating humanitarian situation was alarming and those responsible must be brought to justice. Her country supported MONUC’s expansion, as that would hopefully lead to the eventual deployment of a peacekeeping mission.

She added that all involved parties must supply credible security guarantees and ensure that life-saving assistance reached civilians throughout the country. Also of great concern were reports of the illegal exploitation of natural resources, which had serious consequences for security conditions and protracted hostilities. The international community must also stem the flow of illegal arms into conflict areas. Hopefully, the resolution would underline the commitment of the international community to support an end to the years of conflict and provide a basis for sustainable peace.

ROBERT R. FOWLER (Canada) said the decision by this Government to vote in favour of the resolution had occasioned a profound debate involving the senior-most levels of the Government. It was a debate based on human security imperatives, Canada’s long-standing commitment to Africa and to peacekeeping, and its determination to learn the lessons of the past.

He would vote positively because Africans, themselves, wanted the resolution and because it would do some good in the context of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His hesitation derived from the belief that the Council could have done better; that the resolution fell “precariously” short of matching the Mission’s mandate with the resources needed for it to succeed. None wanted to risk repeating the mistakes made in Srebrenica.

He said that, while it was important to get phase II of MONUC off the ground quickly, it was equally important to get phase II right. The number 5,537 was not magic, nor was the mandate sufficient. Among other improvements would have been a more capable observation mission. For its part, his Government would undertake its own assessment of the conditions on the ground prior to finalizing a contribution to the Mission. At the same time, the human security disaster unfolding in the country required immediate attention, and the Lusaka Agreement required substantive United Nations support.

It was never easy, however, to balance the requirements of an immediate response with the sober consideration of longer-term consequences, he said. Unfortunately, such considerations were not the only ones driving the decision concerning MONUC’s force level. Other factors, such as cost-aversion and outside political realities, also influenced the Council. His country would do everything possible to ensure that United Nations peacekeeping missions had a fair chance to do their job, by resisting efforts to force configurations on them that might be politically convenient, but operationally unsound.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that he was happy that the Council could authorize the second phase of MONUC’s deployment by today’s action. With that decision, the United Nations would establish its authority. The adoption was timely, because it followed the Lusaka summit, where leaders had reaffirmed their commitment to the Ceasefire Agreement and approved the revised calendar for its implementation. The onus would now be on the parties, who had to demonstrate their commitment with action. He appealed to the parties to facilitate MONUC’s deployment. He also encouraged the Congolese people in their national dialogue and urged them to support the facilitator.

The United Nations, for its part, must ensure the rapid deployment of the expanded MONUC and the mobilization of the necessary resources, he said. The United Nations could not afford to fail in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Further expansion of United Nations engagement would depend on the cooperation of the parties and the institutions on the ground.

SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said he had supported activating the United Nations role in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in accordance with the present resolution, which was designed to assist in settling the largest conflict in modern Africa. If the parties rendered the necessary assistance to MONUC, the Mission would significantly contribute to achieving peace in the country. At the same time, however, he realized the complexity of the nexus of varied, intertwined interests in the country. The situation was so complicated that it would be dangerous to rely on settlement by external forces, even if those were United Nations forces.

In that context, he said the resolution had underscored that MONUC would not take measures to force the parties to peace or force the disarmament of regular armed groups, either in this, or subsequent phases of the operation. Council members had underscored that the main responsibility for achieving a settlement lay with the signatories to the Lusaka Agreement. It was their readiness to fulfil their obligations, especially compliance with the ceasefire, which would determine how the international community would act in the future to foster peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was promising that the parties in Lusaka yesterday had confirmed their resolve to ensure the Agreement's complete and early implementation. It was important to make that commitment a reality as soon as possible.

PETER VAN WALSUM (Netherlands) said that when, at a later stage, the Council discussed phase III of MONUC’s deployment, the progress of the parties would guide those discussions. He favoured a balanced approach to all issues surrounding the conflict. Such an approach required that the security concerns of all the country’s neighbours be taken seriously. Also, the human rights situation would be a focus of those deliberations.

It also meant not shying away from the difficult root causes, he added. He welcomed the fact that the draft addressed arms flows in the region and the exploitation of natural resources as possible motivations for those who tried to keep the conflict going. On the issue of natural resources, he looked forward to the Secretary-General’s report on that matter. His delegation was actively considering ways in which those issues could be tackled in the future.

He favoured the establishment of an expert panel to investigate the issues in a balanced manner, he said. A key feature of the Mission was the functioning of the Joint Military Commission, which should be turned into a permanent structure. He looked forward to the further elaboration of that matter. His country’s contribution to the Commission had been received by the OAU at the end of last year and other donors had followed suit. The international community was putting its money where its mouth was. He also subscribed to the statement to be made by the representative of Portugal, on behalf of the European Union.

SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) said that MONUC’s success would depend on three key points, one of which was a clear mandate. Secondly, in addition to political support, it needed adequate human, financial and material resources. Thirdly, the cooperation of all the parties was necessary. The degree of cooperation given to MONUC would be a test of the real commitment of the parties and the level of respect they gave to the Agreement.

He said the adoption of the resolution coincided with the meeting just concluded among parties to the Agreement, who had reaffirmed their strong commitment to the Agreement and reiterated their determination to move forward in implementing the elements contained in it. It was important to reaffirm that the success of the Agreement’s implementation depended on the real political will of the parties themselves. He hoped that the second deployment of MONUC would be carried out in a favourable environment. Also, he supported the convening in a timely manner of an international conference to address peace and security in the Great Lakes region, under the auspices of the United Nations and the OAU.

SEKOU KASSE (Mali) said he would vote in favour the draft, since it had expressed the commitment of both the United Nations and the OAU to peace and security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The deployment of phase II was gratifying, as that would consolidate the Lusaka Agreement and lead to the formulation of phase III. Hopefully, the future deployment would be larger and contain an expanded and more robust mandate. The task ahead required a Herculean effort, but thanks to the draft, the Mission would be able to contribute. He urged all parties to the Agreement to respect their commitments. The international community was listening, and the civilians in the Congo and the entire region were watching.

The Council then unanimously adopted the resolution 1291 (2000), establishing the second phase of MONUC.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE (United States), speaking after the vote, said there had not only been a month of Africa in the Council, but three months, with much more to come. He had spent the morning on the telephone with members of Congress who needed a bit more persuasion. While their approval for the vote was not needed, it was required for the funding. Thirty days ago, a historic summit had been convened to galvanize action for peace in the Congo. Seven African leaders and others had sat in this historic horseshoe to discuss the urgent need for action. The time had come to act; and the second phase of the Lusaka peace process had begun -- perhaps with today's important vote, perhaps with yesterday's meeting in Lusaka.

He said the Council today had taken a critical step towards helping the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region reach the peace it so desperately needed. His Government had introduced the resolution, and its unanimous support had been made possible because of the commitments made in Lusaka and reaffirmed in New York. At the same time, his country remained deeply concerned at reports of resumed military offensives in the country. The resolution had made clear that deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping observer mission in phase II was contingent upon the cooperation of the parties, their commitment of firm and credible assurances to the Secretary-General of security provisions, and adherence to the Lusaka process.

He called on all parties to realize the opportunities for peace provided by the Lusaka Agreement, which was the best and only viable process towards the only durable resolution. It was much more than a ceasefire, he said; it was a blueprint for peace and lasting democratization. The parties' commitment was essential for the international community's continued support of the process. The conflict had been described as Africa’s first "world war." The central lesson of the First World War had been the need for a strong and stable peace, backed up by enforcing institutions. Thus, the parties themselves must do everything possible to see that it worked.

The establishment of a joint structure for the Joint Military Commission and MONUC must be assured, in accordance with the resolution, he said. Formalizing that co-located structure and making it effective was also essential for the safety of personnel. "Getting the JMC-MONUC connection right" was critical to successful peacekeeping. That principle had been endorsed at yesterday’s summit. The United States was fully committed to and ready to support the Joint Military Commission's continued role in bringing together the parties. Already, every Council member had indicated their commitment, and several major contributions had been announced today. The contribution of all of the members would set just the right tone for future efforts.

He said another key element remained: disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and resettlement of the regular armed forces and groups identified in the Lusaka Agreement. A comprehensive process commanding the full commitment of the Lusaka signatories and the international community was central to the overall success of the Lusaka peace process. The region had a central role to play in that regard. The Council should now consider additional ways to enforce existing sanctions, since those would help terminate the widest conflict in Africa. The resolution was only an interim step towards full and lasting peace in the Congo. United States' support did not constitute approval for any future deployment or an open-ended commitment to phase III, but if a larger peacekeeping mission was recommended, his country would certainly consider such recommendations.

He said that today's words must begin to be matched with deeds. Opportunity beckoned for restoring international cooperation in Central Africa. No country in Africa had experienced a harder time emerging from the shadows of the past. The present opportunity must be seized by all, especially by the signatories to the Lusaka Agreement. He could not promise the Congolese people immediate peace, but he could say that, without strong leadership, a catastrophic disaster in Central Africa was a virtual certainty. Today had represented a critical step towards establishing the architecture for peace and moving away from the brink of the abyss, but that would depend, first and foremost, on implementation by the parties.

The President of the Council, ARNOLDO M. LISTRE (Argentina), speaking as representative of his country, said that the adoption of the resolution was an important step in consolidating the progress of peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Certain principles must be respected. They included the full respect of the territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, non-intervention in its internal affairs, full withdrawal of foreign forces from the country and the consideration of the security concerns of the country’s neighbours. The deployment of 500 observers would contribute to the consolidation of the ceasefire. MONUC’s success would depend on the cooperation received from the parties. There must also be firm guarantees for the safe movement of MONUC’s personnel. Operative paragraph 8 of the resolution was particularly relevant in that regard, as it enabled MONUC to take the necessary action to protect personnel.

Two issues concerned his delegation, he said. First, the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, which was of particular concern in the eastern part of the country. Those crimes could not go unpunished and an international inquiry was necessary. He was also concerned about the illegal exploitation of natural resources. There was a link between such activities and the continuation of the conflict. Finally, as a way of reaffirming its commitment to the Lusaka process, Argentina would make its contribution to funding activities of the joint United Nations and Joint Military Commission structure.

ANDRÉ MWAMBA KAPANGA (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said the unanimous adoption of the resolution on the second phase of deployment was gratifying. The Council had finally foregone its timorous approach to the aggression. On 2 August 1990, when the Council had confronted a similar situation in another region of the world, it had quickly raised an entire army to combat it. He, nevertheless, welcomed the Council's awakening to the two-year old situation in his country. He also saluted the representative of the United States, who had taken the courageous initiative of inviting the involved heads of State to a Council meeting last month. His delegation would also pay tribute to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his remarkable efforts aimed at ending the aggression.

After so much equivocation, it was gratifying that the Council had finally heard the cries and lamentations of the Congolese people; the haunting laments arising from the graves of women who were buried alive or mothers whose entrails were spilled on the ground because they were suspected of carrying in their wombs the spawn of a future enemy. Those massacres must be emphatically condemned, and the shadow on the continent must be eradicated for good. The adoption of the resolution and the start of phase II was gratifying. Regrettably, however, Council members had not had the courage to stand up to the problem of two hostile countries: one, the cause of its own distress; and the other, a neighbouring country.

He thanked the American Congress for having spared no effort in its material support of MONUC, and added that the cost of the United Nations' operation in his country would have been less expensive if the Council had acted earlier. Indeed, the Council's delay had produced the situation it now faced. If it had responded in August 1998, the Congolese people would not have had to weep for so many dead. They, meanwhile, warmly welcomed MONUC and would see to it that the deployment would go smoothly. At the same time, his country wished to be consulted at all times, as it might refuse to accept offers from certain States whose participation would not be entirely neutral.

ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the decision made today could only achieve its aims if there was the unequivocal political will of all involved and strict adherence by all parties to the Lusaka Agreement. All parties must cooperate with and facilitate the deployment of MONUC to all designated areas and assure the security and freedom of movement necessary for the full achievement of its mandated tasks. It was also essential that Member States take all the necessary measures to curb all sale or supply of small arms and other military equipment to armed groups operating in the conflict. He reiterated the call for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Union remained deeply concerned by the continuing reports of human rights violations caused by the delays in implementation of the Lusaka Agreement, widespread ceasefire violations and the continuation of the conflict, he said. It reaffirmed the importance it attached to the respect for human rights and international humanitarian law and stressed the need to ensure unhindered access by humanitarian organizations to all areas where the population was in need. The security of those personnel also needed to be assured.

He said that the extension and expansion of MONUC’s mandate provided a unique opportunity for all the parties involved to restore peace and stability to the country and help give back to the Congolese people, and all affected in the region, the means to achieve a democratic environment and national reconciliation. MONUC’s success hinged on the political will of the parties to fulfil the obligations they accepted in the Lusaka Agreement. He hoped that today’s signal of international support to the peace process would be an additional incentive for the parties concerned to create the conditions for peace, leading to the holding of free and fair elections in the country.

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