4395th and 4396th Meetings (AM & PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL SUPPORTS FURTHER PHASE FOR UNITED NATIONS
MISSION IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
After Extended Debate, Presidential Statement Urges Parties
To Meet Commitments, Create Conditions Conducive to Advancing Peace Process
The Security Council this afternoon, in the second of two meetings held today, supported the initiation of phase III of the deployment of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) within the currently mandated ceiling of the Mission, and in particular its deployment towards the east of the country.
In a statement read out by its President, the Council reminded the parties to the conflict that it was up to them to create and maintain the conditions conducive to the start of the new phase by fully implementing their commitments. The Council would decide on the future of phase III after ascertaining that the parties were committed to continuing to make the efforts necessary to advance the peace process.
Also by the statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/2001/29, the Council expressed serious concern at the worsening humanitarian and human rights situation. It reiterated its call for all parties to urgently address the human rights abuses in the government-controlled territory, the territory controlled by the Front de Liberation du Congo and the territory controlled by the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie.
At the Council’s first meeting today, the report of the Secretary-General on MONUC was introduced by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in that country, Amos Namanga Ngongi. He said the report contained recommendations for phase III of MONUC’s deployment, as well as a concept of operations for approval by the Council. That phase would involve the total withdrawal of all foreign forces from Congolese territory, as well as the disarmament, demobilization and repatriation (DDR) of non-signatory armed groups.
Briefing the Council on events since the issue of the report, he said the inter-Congolese dialogue has begun in Addis Ababa on 15 October. The number of participants, however, had been limited, with the participation of only some
80 delegates instead of the more than 300 originally anticipated. No agreements had been reached on substantive issues, and on 21 October the dialogue was adjourned. It would resume in South Africa at a date to be arranged.
He said that, as a result of further discussions with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUC had this morning sent another team to Kamina to continue efforts to demobilize and repatriate the 3,000 Rwandan former combatants said to be there. He also expressed concern to Council members about the situation in Kanyabayongo in North Kivu where Rwandan and Ugandan troops were currently reinforcing their military presence.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo urged the Council to demand the withdrawal of Rwandan troops from Kisangani. Failure to demilitarize that city would strengthen the people’s sense of humiliation and could lead to an uprising. It was up to the Council to take all the steps to make demilitarization effective.
He said the continued fighting and a strengthening of Rwandan troops, which were preparing to attack Kisangani, marked the situation in the eastern part of his country. Reinforcements of Rwandan troops displayed Rwanda’s secret plan to perpetuate the domination of the people of Kivu. Rwanda was responsible for all the violations of human rights. The Council must be aware of the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
With regard to the inter-Congolese dialogue, he said it had been agreed that all parties would be included. When the dialogue resumed, it had lost its all-inclusive nature and not all the voices in the country were properly represented. It was, therefore, imperative to carefully prepare for that process.
While all speakers welcomed and supported the proposals in the report of the Secretary-General and agreed with the recommendation to move MONUC into phase III of its operations, many stressed that success in the Democratic Republic of the Congo did not depend solely on efforts by the United Nations but lay in the hands of the parties to the Conflict. Some said the presence of armed groups was one of the most inherent challenges to the operational phase that was about to begin and called on the parties to the Lusaka Peace Agreement to provide information on those armed groups and to also cease providing support to such groups.
The first meeting began at 10:25 a.m. and was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
Statements were also made by the representatives of France, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Mali, Mauritius, United States, China, Jamaica, Colombia, Norway, Ukraine, Singapore, Russian Federation, Bangladesh, Ireland, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
The second meeting, during which the presidential statement was read, began at 1:31 p.m. and was adjourned at 1:35 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Council had before it the ninth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document S/2001/970), in which he recommends that the Council authorize MONUC to enter phase III of its deployment.
In the report, submitted in accordance with the Council's decision of
14 June 2001 to extend the mandate of MONUC until 15 June 2002 and to review progress at least every four months, the Secretary-General reviews political developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The report covers his visit to the country, military and security developments, humanitarian aspects, human rights, child protection, HIV/AIDS, and the issue of "next steps". The Secretary-General says the overall situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to be favourable. The ceasefire has held and the disengagement of forces and their redeployment to new defensive positions is effectively complete. Some foreign forces have been withdrawn from the territory. The preparatory meeting of the inter-Congolese dialogue, which is an essential element of the peace process, was held successfully. At the same time, outbreaks of fighting have continued, if not intensified, in the east of the country.
The main tasks to be accomplished during a third phase of MONUC deployment include the total withdrawal of all foreign forces and the disarmament and demobilization of the armed groups, the report says. Durable solutions must be found to the problem of the armed groups, including the repatriation, resettlement and reintegration of ex-combatants into society. The objective of the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration (DDRRR) programme is to encourage the combatants and their families to take a step towards a better life without weapons. The MONUC must have the cooperation of all parties or it will not be able to assess the scope of the problem, and define the extent of its assistance to the settlement process.
It is also important for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to continue their dialogue, to achieve a firm political understanding and the establishment of a joint coordination mechanism, the Secretary-General says. Such a mechanism would enable the international community to offer practical assistance and funding. The objective would be to repatriate Rwandan former combatants to Rwanda as soon as possible after they are disarmed, rather than accommodating them for long periods in camps on Congolese territory.
Although some members of the ex-Rwandan Armed Forces and Interahamwe took part in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, a majority of armed group members in the east are not wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and many may be seeking ways of returning home to resume their lives in peace. These armed groups did not sign the Lusaka Agreement and continue to take part in armed hostilities. There are few details about their activities and intentions, and MONUC has had almost no contact with their leaders. Political solutions need to be found for these groups as early as possible.
According to the report, the main role of MONUC in phase III would be to establish temporary reception centres where combatants could surrender their weapons, to be destroyed by MONUC in situ. The disarmed combatants would then undergo the first stages of demobilization. Arrangements must be made to meet the immediate needs of the families accompanying the combatants. The MONUC would conduct the initial stages of demobilization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo before the disarmed combatants were transported back to Rwanda for reinsertion and reintegration. While ready to assume a coordinating role in organizing the DDRRR effort, MONUC has neither the means nor the mandate to undertake many of the practical tasks associated with it. It will need to rely on United Nations programmes and agencies, the World Bank and non-governmental organizations, the Secretary-General says. The World Bank, in consultation with the United Nations, governments in the region, donors and other partners, is currently working towards the establishment of a multi-country programme of demobilization and reintegration in the Great Lakes region.
The overall security situation in the eastern part of the country and the logistical constraints of deploying them are such that MONUC will have to assess carefully before each step developments in the security situation and the political climate, the report says. In addition, it should ensure at all times that it can provide an adequate logistical support to United Nations peacekeepers in the field. The Mission's initial objective in phase III would be to establish a mixed civilian and military presence, as well as a forward support base, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Once MONUC has commenced operations, it would be able to assist in the disarmament and demobilization of the armed groups. Those operations can commence only when the necessary political and security conditions have been created by the parties and when the armed groups are ready to undergo disarmament and demobilization.
The Secretary-General says that during the early stages of phase III, the military component will have the following tasks: to prepare for planned future deployments; to enhance the security of United Nations personnel and assets; to investigate allegations of ceasefire violations, including those committed by armed groups; to gather and analyse information, particularly concerning the location, numbers, movements, activities and motivations of the armed groups and their dependants; to establish and maintain contacts with local authorities, including traditional authorities and, eventually, with the leadership of the armed groups and their dependants; to encourage and facilitate early disarmament and demobilization; and to conduct confidence-building activities.
The Secretary-General says that a risk assessment has been performed, taking into account the likely threat from a number of sources. The military force to be deployed at Kindu, the initial base, will need to be sufficiently robust. Accordingly, it is envisaged to expand the initial deployment of 400 military personnel gradually to a task force of some 1,100 to 1,200 troops. In due course, the total military strength at Kindu would be around 2,000 personnel. A number of specialized units would also be deployed at Kindu, and additional military observer teams numbering about 48 men (12 four-officer teams) would also be based there. Subject to authorization by the Security Council and a favourable response on the part of troop-contributing countries, it is envisaged that this gradual deployment will be completed in the course of 2002.
Operating within the vicinity of United Nations forces at Kindu, Kalemie and Goma, MONUC civilian personnel would work with the local population and the local authorities. The Secretary-General emphasizes the responsibility of the parties for the security of United Nations personnel and their freedom of movement. Without those elements in place, MONUC cannot do its work. Arrangements are being made to deploy a small contingent of up to 15 civilian police officers to MONUC headquarters whose primary tasks in the initial phase will be to develop contacts with the internal security and police organs of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to plan and recommend options for an expanded civilian police component.
The report states that the public information component of MONUC is being expanded to prepare for the establishment of a United Nations radio network capable of broadcasting to the entire country. The radio will provide accurate, credible and impartial information about all aspects of the peace process. As the people grow to trust this source of information, it is expected that their understanding of and support for the peace process will deepen.
Calling attention to the political and security risks and high financial costs involved in the next steps necessary to keep the peace process moving forward, the Secretary-General affirms his belief that the international community will be willing to take those steps. The need to advance the peace process and to end the fighting is all the more pressing as serious human rights violations continue to occur and humanitarian conditions for millions of Congolese and in the whole region often remain extremely poor.
The Secretary-General calls on the governments in the region to explore new and bold steps which would promote human rights, good governance, national reconciliation, movement towards democracy and social and economic recovery.
AMOS NAMANGA NGONGI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, introduced the ninth report of the Secretary-General on MONUC (S/2001/970).
He said the report contained the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the third phase of MONUC’s deployment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as a concept of operations for approval by the Council. That phase would involve the total withdrawal of all foreign forces from Congolese territory, as well as the disarmament, demobilization and repatriation (DDR) of non-signatory armed groups. The report proposed ways of approaching those difficult tasks.
The Secretary-General’s plan for Phase III, said Mr. Ngongi, was to deploy MONUC personnel into the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from a secure base which would be established in the town of Kindu, on the Congo River. The main objective of that deployment would be to establish a base from which MONUC could operate within the Kivus and Katanga Province. It was intended that the Mission’s presence and activities would have a normalizing and stabilizing effect on the situation in the eastern part of the country. “We have observed in many of the places MONUC is deployed that the population increases, people return from hiding in the bush, and economic and social activity resumes and increases”, he said.
He said MONUC would also continue to assist efforts to open up the Congo River which was perhaps the single most effective step that could be taken to restore peace throughout the country, mitigate humanitarian distress, strengthen the territorial integrity of the country, and promote the building of communities disrupted by conflict.
He said the inter-Congolese dialogue had begun in Addis Ababa on 15 October. The number of participants, however, had been limited, with the participation of only some 80 delegates instead of the more than 300 originally anticipated. No agreements had been reached on substantive issues, and on 21 October the dialogue was adjourned. It would resume in South Africa at a date to be arranged.
He said that as a result of further discussions with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUC had this morning sent another team to Kamina to continue efforts to demobilize and repatriate the 3,000 Rwandan former combatants said to be there. That was the third visit to Kamina since 2 September. Progress so far had been slow, and after two attempts the Mission had still been unable to proceed with its task.
He also expressed concern to Council members about the situation in Kanyabayongo in North Kivu. According to information, Rwanda and Ugandan troops were currently reinforcing their military presence in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
LEONARD SHE OKITUNDU, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said his Government supported the need for serious discussion to restore confidence and restore normalcy to the Great Lakes region. They were duty bound to tackle the obstacles to peace and to deal with the issues of disengagement, the demilitarization of Kisangani, and the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the inter-Congolese dialogue, the withdrawal of all foreign troops and the humanitarian recovery.
He welcomed the effect of the cessation of hostilities, although there had been some failures in carrying out the disengagement plans of Kampala and Harare. Those and other questions could be surmounted with the cooperation of MONUC and the Joint Military Commission.
He urged the Council to demand the withdrawal of Rwandan troops from Kisangani. Failure to demilitarize that city would strengthen the sense of humiliation of the people there, and could lead to an uprising. The Security Council should urge the parties to respect their commitments under the Lusaka Agreements. It was up to the Council to take all the steps to make militarization effective. He said the continued fighting and a strengthening of Rwandan troops which were preparing to attack Kisangani marked the situation in the eastern part of his country. Reinforcements of Rwandan troops displayed the Rwanda’s secret plan to perpetuate the domination of the people of Kivu. Rwanda was responsible for all the violations of human rights. The Council must be aware of the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
With regard to the inter-Congolese dialogue, he said it had been agreed that all parties would be included. When the dialogue resumed, it had lost its all-inclusive nature and not all the voices in the country were properly represented. One of the objectives of the Lusaka agreement was to restore a new political order resulting from free democratic elections. It was imperative to carefully prepare for the dialogue. He was happy that the facilitator had finally recognized that the position of his Government was defensible. He welcomed the Organization of African Unity (OAU) proposal to open liaison offices in Kinshasa.
There could be no peace if there was not a withdrawal of foreign forces, he said. The “theatrical withdrawal” of some forces was not comparable to the reinforcements of those same forces. He stressed the need for an increased military component of MONUC. The international community must encourage Uganda to complete the repatriation of its forces and submit to complete withdrawal. The Rwandans must also withdraw their troops. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was totally transparent in its actions, and it allowed MONUC troops complete freedom to move about the country.
He urged the Group of Experts created to examine illegal activity regarding the exploitation of natural resource to continue its investigations. It would have the full cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Human rights questions in the country were still acute, he said, particularly in the eastern part. Moreover, the humanitarian situation was precarious. Humanitarian corridors had been identified and there needed to be a system to protect their existence.
He said a genuine durable solution was in reach. A conference on peace, security, democracy and development in the Great Lakes region was imperative, not only to restore balance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but also to deal with the problems facing the entire Great Lakes region. He reiterated the firm commitment of his Government to reconciliation. He recommended that the Council rapidly deploy the third phase of MONUC.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said giving hope to the Congolese people was exactly what was being put forward in the report of the Secretary-General, and France, therefore, gave its full support to the proposals to change MONUC’s operational character and stressed increasing the Mission’s presence. He said MONUC must go to the Congolese border since that was an essential part of the problem and also where part of the solution to the conflict could be found. The MONUC must also establish contacts with armed groups for which there was still lack of information. It was gratifying to see that some forces had begun to withdraw -- Namibia completely, and Uganda partly – but others had not and they must do so now.
Addressing the issue of DDR, he said information was needed for MONUC to do its job. The operational information from the Lusaka Agreements must, therefore, be transmitted to the Mission. On the issue of Kisangani, he said both the Security Council and Secretary-General had called for the demilitarization of that town. The current report dwelt on the essential nature of the situation there, as it related to the future of the country. It was now up to the Council and the United Nations system to work out how that situation could be moved forward. He also encouraged all Congolese parties to work together to ensure that the inter-Congolese dialogue moved forward.
He said that while the report emphasized that change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was moving in the right direction, some situations were still causes for concern. “We must think about how they can be corrected”, he said. The human rights situation, for example, was still precarious, while the humanitarian situation throughout the country was disastrous. The illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo also continued to be one of the catalysts of the conflict. He, therefore, hoped to hear recommendations to address that issue.
OTHMAN JERANDI (Tunisia) said, while the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was doing well, it did not mean that it had reached the point of no return. Continued fighting in the eastern part of the country was a source of profound concern. Tunisia, therefore, supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General to authorize MONUC to commence phase III of its deployment.
He said the DDRRR programme was a key element of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He encouraged the intensification and continuation of the dialogue among the leaders of that country, Rwanda and Burundi.
The deployment of MONUC in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he continued, was a major operation that would help to maintain the momentum of the peace process and facilitate the resumption of socio-economic activity. It was now essential that MONUC enjoy the full cooperation of all the parties.
The inter-Congolese dialogue was an essential element of the peace process, he said. He hoped that, with the resumption of that process, there would be real interaction for the sake of the country’s future.
Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said progress had been made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but there continued to be worrying signs. All parties had to show that they would live up to their commitments. The entry into phase III of MONUC could be achieved only when there was progress in overcoming the continued violations of the Lusaka Agreements. Among other things, all parties must give access to humanitarian agencies.
He welcomed the withdrawal of Namibian and many Ugandan troops, and called on all parties to withdraw their forces in accordance with Security Council resolutions and agreed plans.
He supported the establishment of a joint coordination mechanism which would be valuable in moving the process forward. There was also a need to ensure an end to all support for armed groups. He was disappointed by the suspension of the inter-Congolese dialogue. That dialogue had to be resumed. If the positive energy built in Gaborone was not to be lost, the dialogue must continue.
With the cooperation of the parties, he said, Kindu could be a foothold with which to tackle the problem in the eastern part of the country. The armed forces there could not be allowed to continue their current violent behaviour with impunity.
MOCTAR OUANE (Mali) said the report of the Secretary-General drew attention to positive developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The peace dynamic in that country was moving forward at its own pace. The ceasefire had been respected, there had been disengagement and withdrawal, and by and large there had been some progress in the inter-Congolese dialogue.
He said the phase III deployment of MONUC could commence in accordance with the operational plan in the report. While there might be political risks and financial costs, that was the price to be paid for the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to move forward.
He said the presence of armed groups was a major inherent challenge to the operational phase that was about to begin. He stressed the responsibility of the parties to the Lusaka Peace Agreements to provide information on those armed groups. It was also essential that the Bretton Woods institutions and the donor community mobilize, so that DDRRR programmes could get under way. Hostilities must also stop, as grave violations of human rights were still occurring. He appealed to all parties to facilitate international humanitarian efforts.
BIJAYEDUTH GOKOOL (Mauritius) said that, while the situation in the Democratic republic of the Congo had remained relatively calm, he was concerned over the continued fighting in the eastern part of the country. The significant rise in ceasefire violations called for an increased presence of the United Nations, and he supported the initiation of the third phase of MONUC. He was aware of the political and security risks, but the Council had to choose between moving ahead or allowing the situation to deteriorate to a point of no return. He emphasized the importance of the continuation of the ceasefire and the cessation of assistance to armed groups. One of the most important tasks of MONUC would be to facilitate early disarmament and demobilization, but there must be greater commitment of the parties. That could only be brought about through dialogue, which the Security Council must encourage.
He supported the next round of talks that was to take place in South Africa. Also, he looked forward to the report of the panel of experts on the illegal exploitation of natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He expressed concern about the prevailing grave humanitarian situation, and called on the international community to help those in need. He also expressed concern over human rights abuses.
JAMES B. CUNNINGHAM (United States) said that the problem was not a creation of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The foreign rebel armies infesting the country had not been invited onto Congolese territory; their presence reflected political disputes in their own countries. However, the fact that it was not a problem created by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo did not diminish that Government’s responsibilities in helping to find a solution.
Through the goodwill of the parties, the disengagement line was holding and fighting had been confined to a relatively small area. However, within that area, all the forces that threatened the welfare of the Congolese people remained intact. He said the time had come for complete transparency from all parties. The Government had taken the first step of inviting the United Nations to Kamina, to meet with a group of people presented to the world as Rwandan guerrillas ready for a disarmament process. That very positive gesture was undermined by the fact that the United Nations could not even say if the individuals involved were Rwandans; the United Nations should be allowed to speak to everyone individually, and it should be allowed to ascertain who those people were, where they came from, and where they would like to go.
The Council had recently issued a call on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all other parties to cease any forms of support for the armed groups, he said. Cessation of arming was the necessary precondition for disarming negative forces. Although the Mai-Mai were not listed in the annex of the Lusaka Agreement, and although they were an indigenous resistance movement, arming them was still potentially fatal to the peace process. Rather than supplying them with arms, all parties should focus on bringing them into the inter-Congolese dialogue.
WANG YINFAN (China) called on all parties to honour their commitments to the Lusaka Peace Agreement and the resolutions of the Security Council. He said the focus of the report was the deployment of phase III of MONUC. A step-by-step deployment by the United Nations would help sustain the momentum of the peace process.
He said arrangements for DDR should be stepped up so that ex-combatants could return to their societies in a peaceful manner. He pointed out that, although the United Nations was an important force for promoting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region, it was by no means the decisive force.
The fate of the Democratic Republic of the Congo remained in the hands of the parties to the conflict, he continued. All parties concerned should, therefore, adopt a diplomatic and cooperative approach and find ways and means to facilitate a lasting peace. All support to armed groups must also cease.
M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said the timing of today’s meeting was opportune, since it followed closely on the private meeting on the question and the consultations with the troop-contributing countries.
She said that, while she welcomed the recommendations of the Secretary-General and supported the intention to move towards phase III, she recognized the challenges to such a move. All parties must comply with and implement the relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as the Lusaka agreement. The gains achieved must not be eroded.
She said the inter-Congolese dialogue remained the most credible means by which peace could be achieved, and she called on all the parties to resume the dialogue. The ability to carry out DDR was a main challenge that must be overcome if the path to peace were to be negotiated. She emphasized that it was up to the parties to ensure a conducive environment for MONUC to assist in those activities. The time had come to associate Burundi more successfully with the peace process.
She said the need to advance the process was even more important, since human rights abuses continued to occur. That issue must be addressed immediately and the perpetrators brought to justice. The international community should continue to address humanitarian concerns in tangible ways. She said she was also concerned about the demilitarization of Kisangani; that was pivotal to the peace process and would contribute to the revitalization of Congolese economy. She was pleased to note the development of the United Nations radio as a credible and accurate source of information.
ANDRÉS FRANCO (Colombia) said that, while recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo promoted optimism, some events still threatened the peace that the United Nations was trying to promote. Recent developments in Addis Ababa, at the inter-Congolese dialogue, also needed further attention. The setbacks that took place there, however, were merely a pitfall that should not discourage anyone. Success in the dialogue would largely define the sustainability of the political process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the long term.
He supported the recommendation for MONUC to commence phase III of its operations. “The parties to the conflict should observe this as a sign of our intention to move forward despite difficulties”, he said.
He said the presidential statement to be adopted today would also prepare the way for constructive dialogue on the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the future.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said he noted with concern the lack of substantive progress being made in the inter-Congolese dialogue. Political dialogue was a pivotal part of the peace process, and he urged the parties to show leadership and flexibility in moving the process forward as a matter of urgency. It was critical that MONUC’s mandate and activities be in conformity with the relevant recommendations of the Brahimi report. He supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to advance the concept of the operations.
He looked forward to the upcoming meeting between the members of the Political Committee under the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the Council, to be held in New York in November. He called on the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to intensify their dialogue to establish a firm political understanding of the DDR process and the establishment of a joint coordination mechanism. His Government would support such a mechanism.
He shared the view that there could not be lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo without a comprehensive settlement of the situation in Burundi. He looked forward to the establishment of a multi-country programme for DDR in the Great Lakes region, which was being prepared by the World Bank. Norway was ready to support the programme when it was presented. He remained deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation and the use of child soldiers throughout the region.
CHRISTINE LEE (Singapore) said she was concerned at the continued instability in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She stressed the importance of establishing a United Nations presence in that area. Before doing so, however, MONUC must be given the means to ensure that its mission was successful.
As the Mission moved forward with its deployment, it must not neglect humanitarian concerns in areas in which it had already established a presence. The perception that the Mission was making little or no difference in its already established areas would affect the way it was viewed in the new areas it was about to enter. Also, for the DDRRR effort to succeed, there must be coordination among MONUC, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neigbouring countries of the Great Lakes region.
ANDREY GRANOVSKY (Russian Federation) said that, in view of what had been planned for phase III, his country attached particular importance to the provision of adequate security for United Nations peacekeepers by the parties to the conflict.
He urged the creation of conditions for voluntary disarmament, stating that success or failure would ultimately depend on how protected the former rank and file of armed groups felt upon their return home. Peace and security in the region would depend on national reconciliation, resettlement, and the re-establishment of political life, not only in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but also in the neighbouring countries.
He underscored that support by the parties for armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be stopped. He also stressed the speedy demilitarization of Kisangani. The disregard for directives to that effect, especially by Rwanda, was now flagrant. Also, he said that a sine qua non for future deployments of MONUC was the cooperation of the parties themselves.
SHAMEEM AHSAN (Bangladesh) said he was outraged to learn of the crimes of genocide in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the extremely disturbing reports of some 750 civilians being been massacred. Armed forces continued to harass and make arbitrary arrests and there was forced recruitments and rape. He said the Interahamwe had committed a reign of terror; it was time to bring an end to such activities.
As for the Government, he said, there were gross violations of freedoms and political rights. Members of the Security Council and the international community would like to hear about the serious violations reported in the Secretary-General’s report.
He said MONUC had accomplished an important part of its mandate. The Government should extend complete cooperation in resolving outstanding issues. Namibia had set the example of withdrawing its forces; others should withdraw completely in accordance with their commitment to the Lusaka Agreement, and in compliance with the Council’s persistent demands. He called for the immediate demilitarization of Kisangani. The Council remained committed to the deployment of MONUC in that city. Local populations had welcomed MONUC in each area of deployment.
He said he had noted the Government’s position regarding the suspension of the inter-Congolese dialogue. He commended South Africa for its generous offer to host an early resumption of the talks. He supported the recommendation of the Secretary-General, but the Lusaka signatories had to extend their cooperation.
The President of the Council, RICHARD RYAN, speaking as the representative of Ireland, said he welcomed and supported the proposals in the report of the Secretary-General, and agreed with the recommendation to move MONUC into phase III of its operations. He stressed, however, that success in the Democratic Republic of the Congo lay in the hands of the parties to the conflict. Any further progress that the United Nations could bring about depended solely on the parties sustaining the peace process.
He said the magnitude of problems in the Democratic Republic of the Congo could not be overstated. The Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe should cease support for armed groups operating in the east of the country. He also called on both the Governments of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to reach agreement on the establishment of a joint coordination mechanism.
He further called for resumption of the inter-Congolese dialogue, stressing that the success of that dialogue was critical to the peace process. He also urged all States that had not yet done so to begin withdrawing their forces from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey and Iceland, said the European Union deplored the fact that the United Nations was still not in possession of some of the essential information needed on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including data to be provided by the parties regarding the number, composition and exact position of armed groups. Nonetheless, he supported the Secretary-General's recommendation that the third phase of MONUC deployment be started, despite the associated risks and costs.
The proposal to establish a MONUC base at Kindu provided the parties with an opportunity to demonstrate their goodwill. The gradual deployment of MONUC in the east of the country could be accompanied by a gradual withdrawal of the troops in the field. The demilitarization of Kisangani could wait no longer; he appealed to the Rwandan Government to exert all its influence in that regard.
He said the European Union considered DDRRR as one of the pillars of a resolution of the conflict, he said. It was crucial that the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda agree on how to proceed. He urged all countries in the region, in particular the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to put a stop to any support to the armed groups in the east of the country.
The inter-Congolese dialogue was a no-less-essential pillar for resolving the conflict; the facilitator and the Congolese parties should meet as soon as possible to determine a date and location for a substantive dialogue on the parameters for an inclusive and democratic transition, subject to a realistic timetable. He said the suffering of the population, in particular the serious violations of human rights and the deplorable humanitarian situation, could not be ignored. He hoped that sending an adequate number of United Nations civilian personnel, including political, human rights, humanitarian, child protection and demobilization specialists, would help to improve matters.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said the Secretary-General's report repeated a long-standing message: conditions for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were positive, the ceasefire was holding, and the Congolese people were ready for peace. Unfortunately, that positive situation had been matched with only limited assistance from the United Nations and the rest of the international community.
Namibia had in the past called for the deployment of MONUC phase III and welcomed the Secretary-General's recommendation, he said. However, the proposed step-by-step approach was too cautious and limited in scope, given the size of the country and the demands of the peacekeeping operation itself.
While it would be naïve to expect perfect conditions in any peace process, he said, it was necessary to guard against blowing incidents out of proportion. That might be exploited by those who were not really interested in peace, as would any hint of hesitation on the part of the United Nations or any vacuum in the security situation.
He said the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, exacerbated by large influxes of refugees, underlined the need to restore peace. It was also a call for the international community to strengthen and expand its commitment to the Congolese people. While the next phase of MONUC would be challenging, all it needed to fulfil its mandate was strong political and other support.
MWELWA MUSAMBACHIME (Zambia) commended Namibia for its withdrawal of all its troops, and Uganda for withdrawing some of its forces. Zambia viewed the withdrawal of foreign forces, as well as the separation and redeployment of troops, as very significant progress. It urged those parties whose forces remained to begin and accelerate preparations to withdraw them. That would engender confidence and trust.
Welcoming the Secretary-General's recommendation that the Security Council authorize the deployment of MONUC phase III, he stressed the importance of doing so as soon as possible so as to avoid creating a vacuum, inertia and distrust in the peace process.
Also of crucial importance was the holding of the inter-Congolese dialogue, which was indispensable for successful implementation of the Lusaka Agreement, he said. Regrettably, the Addis Ababa meeting had not produced the necessary results, and it was hoped that representation and funding issues would be resolved by the time of the next meeting so that the Congolese parties could concentrate on more substantive matters relating to their country's future. The parties should set aside their partisan and regional interests and demonstrate their continuing commitment to dialogue.
CARLOS DOS SANTOS (Mozambique) said the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo clearly remained on the right track as the ceasefire had been in effect since January. The disengagement of forces and their redeployment to agreed defensive positions was almost complete.
It was equally clear that the situation was not irreversible, he said. Among the many challenges to fulfilment of the Lusaka Agreement was the continued fighting in the east of the country, a serious threat to the fragile ceasefire. The efforts of MONUC, the international community and all parties concerned were required to offer an attractive alternative.
He said that, although the parties to the conflict were responsible for creating conditions of security, the presence of a strong MONUC in areas of fighting, particularly the east, would be an important contribution. The deployment of a robust MONUC phase III was crucial for lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
It was through the inter-Congolese dialogue, he said, that all political actors concerned could address issues of national reconciliation and establish a new political dispensation in the country. Despite the adjournment of the Addis Ababa talks, all parties must continue to demonstrate a genuine spirit of conciliation and compromise.
TICHAONA JOSEPH B. JOKONYA (Zimbabwe) said it was unfortunate that only 70 of the 320 expected delegates had attended the Addis Ababa peace talks. For those delegates to pretend they genuinely represented the diverse political opinions and aspirations of the Congolese nation was a violation of the Lusaka Agreement. It had been reported that renegade UPDF officers had formed the People's Redemption Army and were training and camped in the Rwanda-controlled part of the Eastern Congo. Just last weekend, the Rwandan Patriotic Army and RCD-Goma had laid siege on Uganda-backed Congolese rebels and captured the north-eastern town of Kanyabayonga.
Rwanda and RCD-Goma, he said, had set up governmental structures in Kisangani, a de facto “balkanization” of the Congo, he said. The demilitarization of Kisangani merited the Council's special attention. The Uganda-backed MLC had also been violating the ceasefire. The so-called withdrawal of uninvited foreign forces by Uganda must be seen for what it was: a façade. Both Uganda and Rwanda were reinforcing and consolidating their deployment in eastern Congo.
He said the Democratic Republic of the Congo had disarmed Rwandan rebels and handed them over to the United Nations, thus removing the pretext of Rwanda's invasion of the Congo. Instead of Rwanda withdrawing its forces and being grateful for the assistance of the Democratic Republic, it was actually deploying fresh battalions. He urged the Council to impress upon those Lusaka signatories that supported the rebels in the Congo to encourage their allies to tow the line. "We all know that the rebels are pawns that can be ordered to comply", he said.
Mr. OKITUNDU (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said demilitarization of Kisangani was imperative. That was an extremely important issue that had to be acted upon. It was a matter of urgency to give a deadline to the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD) group.
In response to the comments by the representative of Bangladesh, he said the Government had taken robust action to improve human rights in the country. What was happening in the occupied territories was extremely serious. It could not be said that the human rights situation in the part of the country controlled by the Government was “catastrophic”. The Government continued to make constant efforts in the area. There was a problem with regard to the death penalty, but since Joseph Kabila had come to power there was a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty. The Government was thinking about reforming the army and the courts would be reformed.
He stressed that all the participants in the national dialogue were resolved to succeed. The Government was committed to continuing the inter-Congolese dialogue but there had not been sufficient means to convene the plenary. He wished to see the resumption of the national dialogue.
Regarding the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, he said his Government would respect its commitments to the programme and was closely
cooperating with MONUC. It wanted to ensure that Rwanda would not have any pretext for its continued occupation of the country.
Mr. NGONGI, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, said the Security Council’s support for the recommendations in the report of the Secretary-General would enable MONUC to pursue its mandate.
Addressing a question raised on Kamina, he said it would first have to be ascertained whether the process begun today –- the deployment of a MONUC team to continue efforts to demobilize and repatriate 3,000 former Rwandese combatants -- could continue and be completed. What also needed to be investigated was what support would be given to those foreign combatants who were still in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and who negotiated with the Rwandese Government about their return to Rwanda. Any progress on that would be reported to the Council.
Responding to a question on the lack of progress in the demilitarization of Kisangani, he said that on his return he would take up that matter with leaders of the Democratic Republic and report to the Council.
At a second meeting of the Council, the President read the following statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/2001/29:
The Security Council welcomes the recommendations of the Secretary-General on the next phase in the deployment of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), as contained in his report of
16 October 2001 (S/2001/1970).
The Security Council supports the initiation of phase III of the deployment of MONUC within the currently mandated ceiling and, in particular, its deployment towards the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Security Council reminds the parties to the conflict that they are responsible for the continuation of the peace process. It is up to them to create and to maintain conditions conducive to the start of phase III of MONUC by fully implementing the commitments they have undertaken. The Council will take its decisions on the future of phase III of MONUC after ascertaining that the parties to the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement (S/1999/815) are committed to continuing, in a spirit of partnership, to make the efforts necessary to advance the peace process. The next meeting between the Security Council and members of the Political Committee established by the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement will provide an opportunity to discuss these issues.
The Security Council recalls the importance it places on the implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the relevant resolutions of the Council. In particular the Council:
-- Calls on those States which have not yet done so to withdraw from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in accordance with the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the relevant Security Council resolutions;
-- Calls on all parties to cease any support for armed groups and to implement the process of disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration of the groups referred to in annex A, Chapter 9.1 of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement;
-- Emphasizes the importance of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue and calls on the Congolese parties to work together for the success of this process; and
-- Demands the demilitarization of Kisangani, in conformity with its resolution 1304(2000).
The Security Council expresses serious concern at the worsening humanitarian and human rights situation, particularly in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and reiterates its call for all the parties to urgently address the human rights abuses, including those raised in the ninth report of the Secretary-General (S/200/1970), in the Government controlled territory, the territory controlled by the Front de Libération du Congo and the territory controlled by the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie.
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