12/10/2001
Press Release
SC/7171



PRESS STATEMENT ON DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

BY PRESIDENT OF SECURITY COUNCIL


Following is the text of yesterday’s statement on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Richard Ryan (Ireland), President of the Security Council:


Members of the Council welcomed the opening of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue on 15 October and reaffirmed their full support for the Facilitator, Sir Ketumile Masire, and the facilitation team.  They called on all Congolese parties, with the participation of representatives of civil society, to make every effort to ensure the success of the Dialogue in a spirit of consensus.


Members of the Security Council welcomed the progress that has been achieved in the Dialogue to date and recalled that the most important stage of the Dialogue lies ahead.  In this regard, members of the Security Council encouraged the participants to maintain the “spirit of Gaborone”.


Members of the Security Council encouraged donors to continue to support the Facilitator and to expedite the disbursement of funding.


Members of the Council are seriously concerned at the increase in hostilities in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  At this time when the peace process is entering a new phase with the beginning of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, members of the Council called on all the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint in the military field.  In this regard, they called on all countries in the region, in particular the Government of the DRC, to cease any form of support to the armed groups in eastern DRC.


Members of the Council also urged once again Rwanda and all other foreign forces to begin without delay their withdrawal from the territory of the DRC, in accordance with the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and Security Council resolutions, especially with regard to the situation in the eastern part of the DRC.  They called on all foreign forces not to reinforce their military contingents in the DRC.  They called on the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (RCD) to demilitarize Kisangani, as demanded in Security Council resolutions.  In this regard, they called on the Government of Rwanda to exert its leading influence on the RCD to bring about the demilitarization of Kisangani.


Members of the Council are also seriously concerned at the worsening of the humanitarian and human rights situation, in particular in eastern DRC.


Members of the Council are concerned at the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the DRC.  They expressed their support for the work of the expert panel tasked by the Secretary General with examining this issue, and underlined the importance they place on the findings of the final report, which is due shortly to be submitted to the Council.


Members of the Council call on the Lusaka signatories, in particular the Governments of the DRC and Rwanda, to reach agreement on a political framework for the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, reunification and repatriation (DDRRR) process so that this can move forward, without delay, on a voluntary basis.  They are encouraged by the decision of the Government of the DRC to start the process with those cantoned in Kamina, and encouraged them actively to take forward this process in cooperation with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), including through further visits to Kamina by MONUC assessment teams.  The MONUC must have access to Kamina.


Members of the Council await with interest the next report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the DRC and the role of MONUC.  They recall their readiness to make the necessary efforts in support for the peace process, but note that, in the first place, it is for the parties themselves to put the necessary conditions in place, in particular, respect for the provisions of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.


Members of the Council reaffirmed their strong support for the withdrawal of all foreign forces, the DDRRR of armed groups and the Inter-Congolese Dialogue.


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