16/05/2003
Press Release
SC/7759



Security Council

4756th Meeting* (PM)


SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO,

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S EFFORTS TO ADDRESS URGENT HUMANITARIAN SITUATION


Demands That All Congolese Parties, Regional States Refrain

From Action That Could Undermine Possible Deployment of International Force


The Security Council this afternoon welcomed the ceasefire agreement for the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed earlier today, as well as the efforts by the Secretary-General to address the urgent humanitarian situation in Bunia, including options for sending an emergency international force.† The Council also encouraged him to complete consultations to that end as a matter of urgency.


Through a statement read out by its President for the month, Munir Akram (Pakistan), the Council also demanded that all Congolese parties and the regional States involved in the conflict refrain from any action that could undermine the possible deployment of such an international force.


The signatories of the ceasefire agreement included Congolese President Joseph Kabila, representatives of the democratically elected Ituri Pacification Commission, and leaders of the various armed groups who have been fighting for control of Ituri’s administrative capital, Bunia.† The agreement, which follows weeks of intensive clashes there, was signed in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania.


In the presidential statement, the Council further condemned the recent killings, the violence and other human rights violations and atrocities in Bunia, as well as the attacks against the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and against the internally displaced persons who had sought refuge at the MONUC premises.† It reiterated that there would be no impunity for such acts and that the perpetrators would be held accountable.


Calling the fighting unacceptable, the Council demanded that all hostilities in Ituri cease immediately, as that threatened the stability of the Ituri area and severely undermined the continuation of the peace process and the establishment of the Transitional National Government.


The meeting began at 1:27 p.m. and adjourned at 1:33 p.m.


Presidential Statement


The text of the presidential statement (document S/PRST/2003/6) reads, as follows:


“The Security Council condemns the recent killings, the violence and other human rights violations and atrocities in Bunia, as well as the attacks against the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and internally displaced persons who have sought refuge at the MONUC premises, and reiterates that there will be no impunity for such acts and that the perpetrators will be held accountable.† It demands that all hostilities in Ituri cease immediately.† The fighting is unacceptable.† It threatens the stability of the Ituri area and severely undermines the continuation of the peace process and the establishment of the Transitional National Government.


“The Security Council fully supports the work initiated by the Ituri Pacification Commission, established by the Luanda Agreement of 6 September 2002, under which the Ituri interim administration was formed, and encourages donors to provide additional funding and emphasizes that it is up to the various Congolese parties in Ituri to pursue an effective inclusive political and security mechanism in this framework.


“The Security Council welcomes the agreement signed in Dar es Salaam on 16 May 2003 and calls on the parties to implement it fully and without delay.


“The Security Council calls on all parties in the region to end all support to armed groups and refrain from any action that might compromise the return to peace in Ituri, in particular, the work of the Ituri interim administration, and reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over all its territory.


“The Security Council expresses its concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Bunia and demands that all parties grant full and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid and guaranty the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.† It also calls on the donor community to continue to support the humanitarian organizations.


“The Security Council pays tribute to the work that has been achieved by the staff and contingents of MONUC in Ituri in very difficult conditions, and fully supports them.


“The Security Council welcomes the efforts by the Secretary-General to address the urgent humanitarian and security situation in Bunia, including options for sending an emergency international force, and encourages him to complete consultations to this end as a matter of urgency.


“The Security Council demands that all Congolese parties and the regional States involved in the DRC conflict refrain from any action that could undermine the possible deployment of an international force.”


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*†††† The 4755th Meeting was closed.