29 September 2006
Security Council
SC/8843

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5541st Meeting (PM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO MISSION


UNTIL 15 FEBRUARY 2007, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1711 (2006)


Ensures Strengthened Police, Military through Second Round of Elections;

Requests Secretary-General’s Recommendations on Post-Election Mandate Adjustment


The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), which is set to expire tomorrow, until 15 February 2007 at its current strength.


Unanimously adopting resolution 1711 (2006) and acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council also extended until 15 February 2007 the increase in the military and civilian police strength authorized to assist in the electoral process and, until 31 December 2006, an authorization to redeploy a maximum of one infantry battalion, a military hospital and 50 military observers from the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) to MONUC, underlining the temporary character of those arrangements.


Taking note of the Secretary-General’s recommendation to temporarily maintain that capability until 15 February 2007, the Council expressed its intention to re-examine the issue before 31 December 2006, with a view to ensuring that MONUC had adequate capabilities to perform its mandate fully until 15 February.  It also requested the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps, with a view to downsizing or repatriating the additional strength by 15 February 2007, as long as their presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo would no longer be vital to the successful completion of the electoral process.


Also by the text, the Council called on the transitional institutions and all Congolese parties to ensure that free, fair and peaceful elections take place, and to ensure that the security forces exercise restraint and remain impartial.  It called on all candidates, in particular the two remaining presidential candidates, to restate their commitment to the democratic process.  Congolese parties should refrain from incitement to hatred and violence, and from any threat or use of force to prevent elections, dispute their outcome or subvert the peace process.


Welcoming the Secretary-General’s intention to consult closely with the new Congolese authorities on an adjustment of MONUC’s mandate and capacities after the completion of the electoral process, the Council requested the Secretary-General to submit recommendations in that regard by the end of January 2007.


The meeting began at 4:43 p.m. and adjourned at 4:45 p.m.


Resolution


The full text of resolution 1711 (2006) reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Recalling its resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular its resolutions 1565 of 1 October 2004, 1592 of 30 March 2005, 1596 of 18 April 2005, 1621 of 6 September 2005, 1628 of 30 September 2005, 1635 of 28 October 2005, 1671 of 25 April 2006, 1693 of 30 June 2006, and its resolutions 1650 of 21 December 2005, 1669 of 10 April 2006 and 1692 of 30 June 2006 relating to the situation in Burundi and in the Great Lakes region of Africa,


Paying tribute again to the citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who, on 30 July 2006, demonstrated their extraordinary commitment to the democratic process by taking part in great numbers, freely and peacefully, in the first stage of democratic elections of historical importance to their nation,


Reaffirming its commitment to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as all States in the region and its support for the process of the Global and All Inclusive Agreement on the Transition, signed in Pretoria on 17 December 2002,


Underlining the importance of elections as the foundation for longer term restoration of peace and stability, national reconciliation and establishment of the rule of law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,


Commending the role in support of the electoral process played by the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and other international partners of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who provided support to the electoral process, in particular its African partners, and especially South Africa, as well as the European Union and the Force it has temporarily deployed during this period (“EUFOR R.D.Congo”),


Taking note of the fact that the second round of the presidential elections, as well as the provincial elections, are scheduled for 29 October 2006,


Stressing the primary responsibility of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for ensuring security during the period encompassing the elections,


Paying tribute to the donor community for the assistance they provide to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular to the electoral process, and encouraging them to maintain it,


Deploring again the violence that erupted in Kinshasa on 20 to 22 August 2006 between security forces loyal to the two remaining presidential candidates,


Condemning the continuation of hostilities by militias and foreign armed groups in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the threat they pose to the holding of elections,


Deploring the persistence of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular those carried out by these militias and foreign armed groups and by elements of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), and stressing the urgent need for those responsible for these crimes to be brought to justice,


Condemning the continuing illicit flow of weapons within and into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and declaring its determination to continue close monitoring of the implementation of the arms embargo imposed by resolution 1493 and expanded by resolution 1596, and to enforce the measures provided for in paragraphs 13 and 15 of resolution 1596 against persons and entities acting in violation of this embargo,


Bearing in mind that the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) will expire on 31 December 2006,


Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General dated 22 September 2006 (S/2006/759), and of its recommendations,


Noting that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,


Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,


“1.   Decides to extend the mandate of MONUC, as contained in resolutions 1565, 1592, 1596, 1621 and 1635 until 15 February 2007;


“2.   Decides to extend until 15 February 2007 the increase in the military and civilian police strength of MONUC authorized by resolutions 1621 and 1635;


“3.   Decides to extend until 31 December 2006 the authorization contained in resolutions 1669 and 1692 for the Secretary-General to redeploy temporarily a maximum of one infantry battalion, a military hospital and 50 military observers from ONUB to MONUC;


“4.   Takes note of the recommendation of the Secretary-General to temporarily maintain until 15 February 2007 the capabilities referred to in paragraph 3 above, and expresses its intention to reexamine this issue before 31 December 2006 with a view to ensuring that MONUC has adequate capabilities to perform its mandate fully until the date referred to in paragraph 1;


“5.   Underlines the temporary character of the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3 above, and requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps with a view to downsizing or repatriating this additional strength by 15 February 2007, as long as their presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo would no longer be vital to the successful completion of the electoral process;


“6.   Calls once again onthe Transitional institutions and on all Congolese parties to ensure that free, fair and peaceful elections take place, that the next steps of the timetable for polls developed by the Independent Electoral Commission are scrupulously respected and calls on all candidates, in particular the two remaining presidential candidates, to restate their commitment to the democratic process;


“7.   Reiterates the importance of a cantonment of non-police security forces in the province of Kinshasa and its support forthe International Committee in Support of the Transition (CIAT) in this regard, and takes note of the Commitment for a weapons-free city-province of Kinshasa signed on 23 September 2006;


“8.   Calls on the Transitional institutions and all Congolese parties to ensure that the security forces exercise restraint and remain impartial while providing security to the electoral process, and to respect the rights of every candidate to conduct a campaign;


“9.   Calls on all Congolese parties to refrain from incitement to hatred and violence and from any threat or use of force to prevent elections, dispute their outcome or subvert the peace process, and to resolve political differences by peaceful means, including through the framework established with the facilitation of MONUC, and in the framework of democratic institutions and the rule of law;


“10.  Welcomes the intention expressed by the Secretary-General to consult closely with the new Congolese authorities on an adjustment of MONUC’s mandate and capacities after the completion of the electoral process, requests the Secretary-General to submit recommendations to the Council in this regard by the end of January 2007, and expresses its commitment to continue to contribute to the consolidation of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the post-transitional period;


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


Background


The Security Council had before it the Secretary-General’s twenty-second report on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document S/2006/759), in which the Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend the Mission’s mandate for four and a half months, from 1 October 2006 to 15 February 2007, to allow sufficient time for consultations with the country’s new Government on the Mission’s future role.


The Council, in its resolution 1692 (2006), decided to extend until 30 September 2006 the authorization contained in resolution 1669 for the Secretary-General to temporarily redeploy troops from the United Nations Office in Burundi (UNOB) to MONUC, the report notes.  In its resolution 1693 (2006) of 30 June, the Council decided to extend until 30 September the increase in the Mission’s military and civilian police strength authorized by resolutions 1621 (2006) and 1635 (2006).


In light of recent developments and the importance of maintaining MONUC’s current authorized strength to ensure a peaceful and successful completion of the process, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend, until 15 February 2007, the authorization to redeploy troops from ONUB to MONUC in accordance with resolution 1669 (2006).  He also recommends a further extension, until 15 February 2007, of the increase in MONUC’s military and civilian police strength authorized.


The Secretary-General commends the Congolese people and the political parties for their commitment to the democratic process, as demonstrated by the high voter turnout at the first round of the presidential election and the National Assembly elections on 30 July, and the generally peaceful atmosphere in which the pools were conducted.  While there were some concerns over irregularities, and isolated incidents of violence, the successful holding of the polls was a landmark step in the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The Independent Electoral Commission and its national and international partners effectively met the enormous organizational challenges involved in ensuring that the elections were held under the best possible conditions. 


In light of the 15 September ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice, in which it acknowledged that it would not be possible to meet the constitutional deadline for holding the second round of the presidential election, the Secretary-General encourages President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba to reaffirm their commitment to the electoral calendar, which established 29 October as the date for the second round.  The United Nations is committed to providing all possible support in ensuring the timely and successful holding of these elections.


It is vital that the parties and candidates ensure that the electoral campaign is freely contested across the country, and the elections are held under secure conditions and are credible and transparent, the report states.  Any resort to incitement to hatred or violence during the electoral process is unacceptable, and perpetrators must be held accountable.  Meanwhile, the transitional institutions need to operate effectively until the legislative and executive institutions have been duly installed.  The Secretary-General urges the Congolese parties at this critical juncture to work assiduously to build on the significant gains made so far in the transitional process and ensure its successful conclusion in the coming months.  The recent generous support of several donors has reduced significantly the outstanding shortfall in the electoral budget to some $9 million.  He urges donors to consider meeting the remaining gap as soon as possible, so the electoral preparations can proceed unhindered.


Concerned about the violent incidents of 20 to 22 August in Kinshasa, the Secretary-General notes that President Kabila and Vice-President Bemba should be encouraged to work in good faith with the facilitation mechanisms established by his Special Representative, and to reach early agreement on rules of conduct for the campaign for the second round of presidential elections.  They should also work with the joint monitoring mechanisms established by MONUC with the assistance of EUFOR R.D. Congo, and institute measures to prevent a recurrence of violence in Kinshasa or elsewhere during the electoral process.  The robust deployment of the Western Brigade in Kinshasa, supported by EUFOR R.D. Congo, will help in ensuring stability in the capital during the electoral process.  It is also important that the electoral campaign focus on the key issues facing the country.  The establishment of an inclusive Government would lay the foundation for national reconciliation and broad-based efforts towards the consolidation of peace.


The use of media to incite hatred and violence during the electoral process is a worrisome development, the report adds.  The establishment of a mechanism to monitor the situation is a welcome step and the agreements reached recently by several major media outlets on respect for journalistic ethics during the campaign period need to be strictly adhered to.  It is important that the relevant Government institutions ensure that such misuse of the media is prevented, and that no unilateral action is taken by others in this regard.  Reports on the importation of arms into the country, without prior notification to the Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004), are of concern, the Secretary-General adds, calling on the parties to allow the Mission to properly monitor and inspect any shipments of arms into the country.


The national police and the armed forces continue to face a range of problems, including poor discipline, insufficient training and equipment, and inadequate systems for the delivery of salaries, the report states.  A comprehensive plan for security sector reform is urgently required to address these and other challenges, to enhance the capacity of the security services to effectively maintain security nationwide.  International partners should urgently strengthen their support to the Government in the development and implementation of an effective security sector reform plan, which will be vital in ensuring the country’s long-term stability.


In the post-election period, addressing the many challenges facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo will require the continuing support of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, the report continues.  It is envisaged that MONUC’s post-electoral tasks would include providing support to the new Government and civil society in strengthening democratic institutions; promoting the rule of law and basic human rights; building an adequate security environment and architecture; strengthening economic management; and establishing and consolidating State authority nationwide.  In the context of the long-term institution-building, including governance and security sector reform, natural resource management and decentralization, MONUC would work to advocate, facilitate and support national planning and reform processes that will enable donors to assist the implementation of such programmes.


In the post-election period, international assistance for the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be strengthened in support of the Government’s peace consolidation efforts, the report says.  Further progress in the implementation of political and governance reforms will be vital in laying the foundations for durable peace and stability.  In that regard, the Secretary-General encourages the finalization of the proposed “governance compact”, being developed under the lead of the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Commission, and its early consideration by the Government.


International stakeholders should also give urgent consideration to the establishment of a coordination and support mechanism, to replace the International Committee in Support of the Transition, the report states.  It is envisaged that, in agreement with the Government, such a mechanism could play an important role in ensuring effective donor coordination, promoting good governance and serving as a forum for policy dialogue with the elected Government.


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