PRESS STATEMENTS ON BURUNDI, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
BY PRESIDENT OF SECURITY COUNCIL
Following are today’s press statements on Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the President of the Security Council, Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom):
Members of the Council heard a briefing from Under-Secretary-General Prendergast on the current situation in Burundi, following talks that had taken place in Durban on the subject. Some further work is still to come.
They expressed their continuing support for the transitional institutions and the whole Arusha process. They also voiced their firm support for the Transitional National Government under the terms of Arusha, with a strong warning against any attempts by others to undermine the present coalition.
Members of the Council appealed to the rebel groups to enter into negotiations for a ceasefire. They looked forward to a high-level meeting being arranged for late July in the region and emphasized the importance of early progress towards a ceasefire.
Council members expressed strong concern about the current humanitarian situation and the risks for returning refugees. They hoped the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) could soon resume full-scale efforts on refugee returns. [I talked to High Commissioner Lubbers about that this morning and he is interested in making progress there, but concerned about the security for UNHCR staff in Burundi.]
Members of the Council thanked the South African Unit in Bujumbura for their excellent work so far on security, and appreciated also the strong contributions of the United Republic of Tanzania, Gabon and South Africa with other regional States on facilitation of the negotiations.
They appealed to donors to deliver on their funding promises with a focus if possible on budgetary assistance. They urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to move quickly into post-conflict assistance.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
We had quite a long session on the Democratic Republic of the Congo with briefings by Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno and, for the first time in informal consultations, by High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson. They gave us a full briefing on the situation on the ground, on progress or non-progress being made on the inter-Congolese dialogue (there is activity there, but no firm progress on a comprehensive result), and on the need for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to look ahead and review what it is going to do over the next period. Mrs. Robinson gave us a detailed report, building on her Special Rapporteur’s findings, on what happened in Kisangani in May. The Council agreed to release Mrs. Robinson’s report on that item, which will come round to you later today. And she gave us some recommendations for Security Council follow-up, which are parts of that report. There was then a long and rather good discussion on how we should move forward. The details of that will be fed into an exercise being led by France to deliver a draft presidential statement back to the Council over the next week. So quite a substantive item on the Democratic Republic of the Congo between now and the end of the month.
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