22 December 2008
Security Council
SC/9552

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

Security Council

6055th Meeting (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO MISSION


FOR ONE YEAR, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1856 (2008)

 


Authorizes Continuation of Increased Troop, Police Strength; Requests

‘Highest Priority’ Be Given to Crisis in Kivus, Protection of Civilians


The Security Council this morning extended the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) for another year, while reinforcing its strength and refocusing its mandate more sharply on the protection of civilians tormented by violence in the still-embattled eastern provinces.


Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1856 (2008), the 15-member body authorized deployment of up to 19,815 military personnel, 760 military observers, 391 police and 1,050 personnel of formed police units in the vast central African country through the end of 2009.


The Council underscored the importance of using “all necessary means” at its disposal, including robust rules of engagement, to ensure the protection of not only civilians, but also humanitarian personnel and United Nations staff and facilities.


Condemning repeated offensives of the Congres national pour la Défense du peuple (CNDP) in North Kivu, the attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Orientale Province and hostilities by illegal armed groups in Ituri, the body called on all armed groups to immediately lay down their arms and present themselves without any preconditions to Congolese authorities and MONUC for disarmament, repatriation, resettlement and/or reintegration as appropriate.


Through the text, the Council also described in detail the Mission’s responsibilities in the demobilization of armed groups, security sector reform and ensuring Congolese territorial security.


In laying out MONUC’s responsibilities in the promotion of the rule of law, it paid particular attention to the human rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups.  It demanded that all parties comply with humanitarian precepts and relevant peace processes, and end the use of child soldiers and obstacles to humanitarian access.


In that connection, it recalled the importance of bringing to justice those who have committed crimes and atrocities, notably in the eastern part of the country.


Speaking after the vote, Council members Belgium (represented by its Foreign Minister, Karel de Gucht), France, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, United States, Italy, South Africa, China and Burkina Faso took the floor to welcome the resolution and its prioritizing of the protection of civilians and humanitarian activities.  They urged that that task be tackled effectively. 


The United Kingdom’s representative noted the difficulty in further reinforcing MONUC, saying that the international community might have reached its limits in providing peacekeeping resources and called for new strategies to use all available resources as effectively as possible.  To more quickly fill gaps, Mr. de Gucht also emphasized the need to combat exploitation of national resources and proposed deployment of a European force until full MONUC deployment was reached, offering his country’s assistance in transport, information analysis and training programmes.   Italy’s representative stressed that no peacekeeping force could be a substitute for political progress.


South Africa’s representative, saying he was taking the floor for possibly the last time as a Council member at the end of his country’s two-year term, said that he left with some regrets since there was still violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Council had not succeeded in coming to the adequate assistance of the Somali people, to act firmly enough in the Middle East, or to realize the self-determination of the Sahawari people.  He urged the Council to continue to fight for the people of all those regions.


The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, also welcomed the resolution, particularly the provisions that have MONUC, in close collaboration with the Government, reinforced for the purpose of protection of the civilian population, monitoring of the financing of armed groups, support to security sector reform and support for the territorial integrity of his country.  Because of the dire humanitarian situation in the East, he called for the establishment of the main MONUC headquarters in Goma rather than Kinshasa, as well as a rapid deployment of the additional forces, or, if that was not possible, a relay force acting with the support of the Security Council.  He added that the Nairobi agreements should be the only framework for reconciliation in the East.  He stressed that his country was being torn apart by violence for economic gain and not ideological reasons, and called for those looting natural resources and causing mayhem in the process to be brought to justice.


Rwanda’s representative said that the new mandate of MONUC should focus on more forcibly dismantling the ex-FAR/Interhamwe/FDLR (non-governmental armed groups that originated in Rwanda) who had committed numerous atrocities and had destabilized the region.  The CNDP of Laurent Nkunda had arisen because those groups were systematically exterminating Tutsis, as they did in the 1994 genocide, and because the Democratic Republic of the Congo national troops had failed to provide them protection.  Rwanda, for its part, was meeting all its commitments in combating the genocidaire groups, and he rejected all “unfounded allegations” that the country had assisted CNDP.


Minister Mwamba responded to the Rwandan statement, strongly objecting to the depiction of the conflict as an ethnic one, with Rwanda’s representative replying that he was just recalling facts that needed to be brought to the attention of the Council.  Both countries pledged to continue their diplomatic contacts with each other.


The meeting, which began at 10:10 a.m., ended at 11:40 a.m.


Background


When the Security Council met this morning, it had before it a draft resolution (S/2008/800), sponsored by France, which reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Recalling its resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolution 1843 (2008) and resolution 1794 (2007) and the statements of its President dated 29 October 2008 (S/PRST/2008/40) and 21 October 2008 (S/PRST/2008/38),


Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,


Stressing the primary responsibility of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for ensuring security in its territory and protecting its civilians with respect for the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law,


Condemning the Congrès national pour la Défense du people (CNDP) repeated offensive military actions in the past months, which have caused massive displacement of populations in North Kivu as well as cross-border movements of refugees and which have also involved the PARECO and other illegal armed groups, and condemning also the attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the Orientale Province, as well as the resumption of hostilities by illegal armed groups in Ituri,


Underlining that a major obstacle to lasting peace in the Kivus is the presence and activities of illegal armed groups on Congolese territory, including the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) as acknowledged by its resolution 1804 (2008), which represent one of the primary causes for the conflict in the region,


Taking note of the final declaration of the Nairobi summit organized on 7 November 2008 by President Mwai Kibaki, acting Chairman of the International Conference on the Great Lakes region, and President Jakaya Kikwete, President-in-office of the African Union, and the communiqué of the extraordinary summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government held in Sandton on 9 November 2008, welcoming the appointment of facilitators including the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, inviting these facilitators to keep the Council informed of their activities, and encouraging the countries of the region to maintain this high level of commitment on the crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and act to assist efforts to resolve the conflict,


Recalling the joint communiqué of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Government of the Republic of Rwanda signed in Nairobi on 9 November 2007 and the Acte d’engagement which emerged from the Conference for Peace, Security and Development in North and South Kivu, held in Goma from 6 to 23 January 2008, and reaffirming that the Goma and Nairobi processes are the appropriate framework for stabilizing the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,


Emphasizing the responsibility of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Governments of the region to prevent the use of their respective territories in support of violations of the arms embargo imposed by resolution 1807 (2008) or in support of activities of armed groups present in the region in accordance with the Pact on Security, Stability and Development for the Great Lakes Region and urging them to take effective measures to prevent cross-border support to any illegal armed group in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and welcoming the progress made in high-level bilateral talks between the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda,


Recalling also the importance of urgently carrying out comprehensive and lasting security sector reform and of permanently disarming, demobilizing, resettling or repatriating, as appropriate, and reintegrating Congolese and foreign armed groups for the long-term stabilization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the contribution made by international partners in this field,


Recognizing the link between the illegal exploitation of natural resources, the illicit trade in such resources and the proliferation and trafficking of arms as one of the major factors fuelling and exacerbating conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and in particular in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,


Expressing its extreme concern at the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation, condemning in particular the targeted attacks against the civilian population, sexual violence, recruitment of child soldiers and summary executions, and stressing the urgent need for the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in cooperation with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and other relevant actors, to end those violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular those carried out by the militias and armed groups and by elements of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), the Congolese National Police (PNC) and other security and intelligence services, and to bring the perpetrators, as well as the senior commanders under whom they serve, to justice, and calling on Member States to assist in this regard and to continue to provide medical, humanitarian and other assistance to victims,


Recalling its resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security, its resolution 1502 (2003) on the protection of United Nations personnel, associated personnel and humanitarian personnel in conflict zones, its resolution 1674 (2006) on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, and its resolution 1612 (2005) on children in armed conflict, and recalling the conclusions of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict pertaining to parties in the armed conflict of the Democratic Republic of Congo (S/2008/693),


Condemning the continuing illicit flow of weapons within and into the Democratic Republic of the Congo and declaring its determination to continue to monitor closely the implementation of the arms embargo and other measures set out by its resolution 1807 (2008),


Underscoring the long-term, sustainable efforts needed from the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its international partners to consolidate democracy and promote the rule of law, good governance, recovery and development,


Expressing its full support for MONUC, condemning all attacks against United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel, regardless of their perpetrators, and emphasizing that those responsible for such attacks must be brought to justice,


Recalling that the temporary increase of MONUC’s capacities authorized by its resolution 1843 (2008) aims at enabling MONUC to reorganize, and, in particular, reconfigure its structure and forces and optimize their deployment, allowing the constitution of a quick-reaction capability to provide greater flexibility to deploy as needed to strengthen efforts to protect civilians and provide additional security in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,


Recognizing that effective coordination between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and MONUC on security matters in the areas of conflict as well as the accelerated building of credible, cohesive and disciplined Congolese armed forces is essential for the implementation of MONUC’s mandate,


Taking note of the fourth special report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dated 21 November 2008 (S/2008/728), and of its recommendations,


Determining that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to pose 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 deployment of MONUC until 31 December 2009 and authorizes the continuation until that date of up to 19,815 military personnel, 760 military observers, 391 police personnel and 1,050 personnel of formed police units;


“2.   Requests MONUC to attach the highest priority to addressing the crisis in the Kivus, in particular, the protection of civilians, and to concentrate progressively during the coming year its action in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;


“3.   Decides that MONUC shall, from the adoption of this resolution, have the mandate, in this order of priority, working in close cooperation with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to:


Protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and United Nations personnel and facilities


“(a)  Ensure the protection of civilians, including humanitarian personnel, under imminent threat of physical violence, in particular, violence emanating from any of the parties engaged in the conflict;


“(b)  Contribute to the improvement of the security conditions in which humanitarian assistance is provided, and assist in the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons;


“(c)  Ensure the protection of United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment;


“(d)  Ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel;


“(e)  Carry out joint patrols with the national police and security forces to improve security in the event of civil disturbance;


Disarmament, demobilization, monitoring of resources of foreign and Congolese armed groups


“(f)  Deter any attempt at the use of force to threaten the Goma and Nairobi processes from any armed group, foreign or Congolese, particularly in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including by using cordon and search tactics and undertaking all necessary operations to prevent attacks on civilians and disrupt the military capability of illegal armed groups that continue to use violence in that area;


“(g)  Coordinate operations with FARDC integrated brigades deployed in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and support operations led by and jointly planned with these brigades in accordance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law with a view to:


“-–   Disarming the recalcitrant local armed groups in order to ensure their participation in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process and the release of children associated with those armed groups;


“-–   Disarming the foreign armed groups in order to ensure their participation in the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration process (DDRRR) and the release of children associated with those armed groups;


“-–   Preventing the provision of support to illegal armed groups, including support derived from illicit economic activities;


“(h)  Facilitate the voluntary demobilization and repatriation of disarmed foreign combatants and their dependants;


“(i)  Contribute to the implementation of the national programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of Congolese combatants and their dependants, with particular attention to children, by monitoring the disarmament process and providing, as appropriate, security in some sensitive locations, as well as supporting reintegration efforts pursued by the Congolese authorities in cooperation with the United Nations Country Team and bilateral and multilateral partners;


“(j)  Use its monitoring and inspection capacities to curtail the provision of support to illegal armed groups derived from illicit trade in natural resources;


Training and mentoring of FARDC in support for security sector reform


“(k)  Provide military training, including in the area of human rights, international humanitarian law, child protection and the prevention of gender-based violence, to various members and units of the FARDC integrated brigades deployed in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as part of international broader efforts to support the security sector reform;


“(l)  In coordination with international partners, including the European Union operations EUSEC and EUPOL, to contribute to the efforts of the international community to assist the Congolese Government in the initial planning process of the security sector reform, to build credible, cohesive and disciplined Congolese armed forces and to develop the capacities of the Congolese national police and related law enforcement agencies;


Territorial security of the Democratic Republic of the Congo


“(m)  Observe and report in a timely manner on the position of armed movements and groups and the presence of foreign military forces in the key areas of volatility, especially by monitoring the use of landing strips and the borders, including on the lakes;


“(n)  Monitor the implementation of the measures imposed by paragraph 1 of resolution 1807 (2008), in cooperation, as appropriate, with the Governments concerned and with the Group of Experts established by resolution 1533 (2004), including by inspecting, as it deems necessary and without notice, the cargo of aircraft and of any transport vehicle using the ports, airports, airfields, military bases and border crossings in North and South Kivu and in Ituri;


“(o)  Seize or collect, as appropriate, the arms and any related materiel whose presence in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo violates the measures imposed by paragraph 1 of resolution 1807 (2008) and to dispose of such arms and related materiel as appropriate;


“(p)  Provide assistance to the competent customs authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in implementing the provisions of paragraph 8 of resolution 1807 (2008);


“(q)  Assist the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in enhancing its demining capacity;


“4.   Decides that MONUC will also have the mandate, in close cooperation with the Congolese authorities, the United Nations Country Team and donors, to support the strengthening of democratic institutions and the rule of law and, to that end, to:


“(a)  Provide advice to strengthen democratic institutions and processes at the national, provincial, regional and local levels;


“(b)  Promote national reconciliation and internal political dialogue, including through the provision of good offices, and support the strengthening of civil society and multi-party democracy, and give the necessary support to the Goma and Nairobi processes;


“(c)  Assist in the promotion and protection of human rights, with particular attention to women, children and vulnerable persons, investigate human rights violations and publish its findings, as appropriate, with a view to putting an end to impunity, assist in the development and implementation of a transitional justice strategy, and cooperate in national and international efforts to bring to justice perpetrators of grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law;


“(d)  In close coordination with international partners and the United Nations Country Team, provide assistance to the Congolese authorities, including the National Independent Electoral Commission, in the organization, preparation and conduct of local elections;


“(e)  Assist in the establishment of a secure and peaceful environment for the holding of free and transparent local elections that are expected to be held by the end of June 2009;


“(f)  Contribute to the promotion of good governance and respect for the principle of accountability;


“(g)  In coordination with international partners, advise the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in strengthening the capacity of the judicial and correctional systems, including the military justice system;


“5.   Authorizes MONUC to use all necessary means, within the limits of its capacity and in the areas where its units are deployed, to carry out the tasks listed in paragraph 3, subparagraphs (a) to (g), (i), (j), (n), (o), and in paragraph 4, subparagraph (e);


“6.   Emphasizes that the protection of civilians, as described in paragraph 3, subparagraphs (a) to (e), must be given priority in decisions about the use of available capacity and resources, over any of the other tasks described in paragraphs 3 and 4;


“7.   Requests the Secretary-General to present recommendations in his next three-monthly report on the progressive handover of those tasks listed in paragraph 4, from MONUC to the United Nations country team and bilateral and multilateral partners, as far as the western part of the country is concerned, with a view to reinforcing the action of United Nations peacebuilding mechanisms in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in order to permit MONUC to concentrate its efforts on the eastern part of the country;


“8.   Underscores the importance of MONUC implementing the mandate described in this resolution in full, including through robust rules of engagement and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that MONUC’s concept of operation and rules of engagement are updated by 31 January 2009 to bring them fully in line with the provisions of this resolution and to report on it to the Security Council and troop-contributing countries;


“9.   Requests the Secretary-General to continue to report regularly, and at least every three months, on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and on MONUC’s activities, and to provide the Security Council, with the same regularity, a specific update on the military situation;


“10.  Requests in particular the Secretary-General, in his next report under paragraph 9 above, to inform the Security Council on the development of a strategic workplan with appropriate benchmarks to measure and track progress on the implementation the mandate described in paragraphs 3 and 4;


“11.  Requests the Secretary-General to include in his next report a comprehensive assessment of MONUC’s DDR and DDRRR programmes and, in close coordination with his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, to make recommendations on possible adjustments needed to increase their effectiveness, resourcing and coordination with MONUC’s military component;


“12.  Demands that all parties cooperate fully with the operations of MONUC and that they ensure the security of as well as unhindered and immediate access for United Nations and associated personnel in carrying out their mandate, throughout the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, demands in particular that all parties provide full access to MONUC military observers, including in all ports, airports, airfields, military bases and border crossings, and, in addition, that MONUC human rights observers are granted access to detention centres and brassage centres, and requests the Secretary-General to report without delay any failure to comply with these demands;


“13.  Requests MONUC, in view of the scale and severity of sexual violence committed especially by armed elements in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to strengthen its efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence, including through training for the Congolese security forces in accordance with its mandate, and to regularly report, including in a separate annex if necessary, on actions taken in this regard, including data on instances of sexual violence and trend analyses of the problem;


“14.  Emphasizes that operations led by the FARDC against illegal foreign and Congolese armed groups should, consistent with the mandate set forth in paragraph 3 subparagraph (g) above, be planned jointly with MONUC and in accordance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law and should include appropriate measures to protect civilians;


“15.  Takes note of the measures taken by MONUC to address instances of sexual exploitation and abuse and of the zero-tolerance policy, requests the Secretary-General to continue to fully investigate the allegations of sexual exploitation and violence by civilian and military personnel of MONUC, to take the appropriate measures set out in the Secretary-General’s bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13);


“16.  Encourages MONUC to enhance its interaction with the civilian population, in particular internally displaced persons, to raise awareness and understanding about its mandate and activities;


“17.  Demands that all the parties to the Goma and Nairobi processes respect the ceasefire and implement their commitments effectively and in good faith, calls on all armed groups to immediately lay down their arms and present themselves without any further delay or preconditions to Congolese authorities and MONUC for their disarmament, repatriation, resettlement and/or reintegration, as appropriate;


“18.  Requests the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region to intensify their good offices, in close consultation with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in facilitating a political solution to address the underlying causes of the crisis in the Kivus and calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Government of Rwanda and other Governments of the region, international partners and all regional and Congolese parties to cooperate with the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region and with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo;


“19.  Urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Government of the Republic of Rwanda to take concrete steps to defuse tensions, including through reactivating the Joint Verification Mechanism, and to step up their cooperation in order to implement fully the commitments taken in their joint communiqué signed in Nairobi on 9 November 2007 (S/2007/679), in particular to address as a priority the disarmament and repatriation of the FDLR working in close cooperation with the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region and MONUC;


“20.  Urges all Governments in the region, in particular those of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, to resolve in a constructive manner their shared security and border problems, to prevent the use of their respective territories in support of violations of the arms embargo reaffirmed by resolution 1807 (2008) or in support of activities of armed groups present in the region, and abide by their commitments made at the Tripartite Plus meeting of September 2007 to establish bilateral diplomatic relationships;


“21.  Urges all States, especially those in the region, to take appropriate steps to end the illicit trade in natural resources, including if necessary through judicial means, and, where necessary, to report to the Security Council, encourages in particular the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to work with specialist organizations, international financial institutions and MONUC, as well as the countries of the region, to establish a plan for an effective and transparent control over the exploitation of natural resources including through conducting a mapping exercise of the main sites of illegal exploitation;


“22.  Requests the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the support of the international community and of MONUC, to develop and implement as a matter of urgency a comprehensive national security sector reform strategy, including based on the outcome of the Roundtable on Security Sector held in February 2008, in order to establish professional security organizations in the areas of defence, police and the administration of justice that protect civilians, are well managed, and act in accordance with the Constitution and with respect for the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law and urges the Congolese Government to ensure the sustainability of the support given by its partners in this area in particular by giving priority to the reform of the administration and command structures of FARDC and all its other security forces and reiterates its call upon the Congolese authorities to establish a vetting mechanism to take into account when they select candidates for official positions, including key posts in the armed forces, national police and other security services, the candidates’ past actions in terms of respect for international humanitarian law and human rights;


“23.  Demands that all parties ensure timely, safe and unhindered access of all humanitarian actors and comply fully with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law;


“24.  Demands, recalling its resolution 1698 (2006), that all armed groups, in particular the forces of Laurent Nkunda, the FDLR and the LRA immediately stop recruiting and using children and release all children associated with them;


“25.  Recalls the utmost importance of the fight against impunity, notably in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by bringing to justice those who have committed crimes and atrocities;


“26.  Requests the Secretary-General, through his Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to continue to coordinate all the activities of the United Nations system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;


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


Action on Text


The draft resolution was unanimously adopted as Security Council resolution 1856 (2008).


Statements


KAREL DE GUCHT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, said the just adopted resolution was a significant step forward, as the new mandate stressed the importance of the protection of civilians as a first priority for MONUC and authorized the Mission to act independently in that regard.  The mandate also authorized MONUC to act independently against all armed groups and reinforced MONUC actions to combat the illegal exploitation of mineral resources.  Further, the resolution called urgently for security sector reform and requested the Secretary-General to strengthen MONUC’s organization in order to establish clear and robust rules of engagement. 


As the additional capacities mandated by resolution 1835 (2008) would not be deployed over the next few months, he said his country supported deployment of a European force until then, and would provide such means as transport, analysts and training programmes for such a force.


JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France) hoped that MONUC would convey to the Council a quick update of their rules of engagement -- which should be robust –- as well as a strategic work plan.  The resolution condemned violence of all armed groups, as well as the need of those parties to come back to the Goma and Nairobi agreements and sent the message, reinforced by the resolution on sanctions to be adopted, to the armed groups that the international community intended to fight against the illegal exploitation of natural resources.  He said negotiations with Rwanda were key to the problems in the region.  MONUC could not do everything, but was part of a bigger framework that included a sanctions regime and combating impunity. 


JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) agreed with former speakers that the resolution had reaffirmed the main priority of MONUC’s mandate, namely the protection of the civilian population from violence on the part of any of the parties in the conflict, even of renegade elements of the Democratic Republic of the Congo forces.  The resolution also stressed that it was the responsibility of Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities to see to it that the armed forces take all necessary measures to protect the civilian population, and not to threaten it.


JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said that the resolution reflected the important efforts made by the Council in the past months to improve the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It properly defined a clear order of priorities –- with protection of civilians at the top -- as well as the relationship between MONUC and the national security forces and the need for a political solution to the conflict.  In that context, the relationship between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one of the keys to peace, stability and prosperity for the region.  At the same time, he deplored the fact that the report of the group of experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo contained allegations that CNDP received support from the Government of Rwanda.


ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States), also welcoming the resolution, said it was crucial that MONUC realize its limits and set its priorities, with the protection of civilians being of highest concern.  She commended the Secretary-General for his direct participation in bringing together countries of the region in Nairobi last month.  She also urged the Committee on sanctions to act on sanctions violations.


AlDO MANTOVANI ( Italy) said he hoped that, with the passage of this new resolution, MONUC had the mandate it needed to effectively protect civilians and support the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The United Nations had a moral and political obligation to protect civilians against violence and promote peace and stability, and it had acted consistent with those obligations today.  To maintain its credibility, he warned, it must apply the same norms universally and give its attention to other situations, such as that of Somalia.


DUMISANI KUMALO ( South Africa) said it was important for MONUC to succeed and, for that to occur, it was important to recognize that the only solution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was political.  For that reason, the Goma and Nairobi processes were the only frameworks that could meet current challenges. 


LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said that his country had followed the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo closely and welcomed the apparent increase in stability and security there.  He also welcomed Government dialogue with armed groups and neighbouring countries, as well as the mediation efforts of the Secretary-General, his Special Representative and regional organizations.  All parties must negotiate in goodwill if peace was to be realized in the Great Lakes region, with the important support of MONUC.


MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) stressed that the question of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a political one and must be resolved on the political track.  He, therefore, urged all stakeholders in the country to concentrate on solving the core problems, in particular, the problem of the threat posed by armed groups.


ALEXIS THAMBWE MWAMBA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also welcomed the resolution, particularly the provisions that had MONUC, in close collaboration with the Government, reinforced for the purpose of protection of the civilian population, monitoring of the financing of armed groups, support to security sector reform and support for the territorial integrity of his country. 


Because of the dire humanitarian situation in the East, he called for the establishment of the main MONUC headquarters in Goma, rather than Kinshasa, as well as a rapid deployment of the additional forces, or, if that was not possible, a relay force acting with the support of the Security Council.  He added that the Nairobi agreements should be the only framework for reconciliation in the East.


In regard to the illegal exploitation of natural resources -– subject of another resolution to be adopted by the Council this morning -- he said the last report on the issue showed clearly that his country was being torn apart for economic reasons.  If there had been stronger action on that front from the Council, millions of lives would have been saved.  The individuals involved had committed massive crimes for monetary gain, not political causes.  Multinational businesses had built fortunes on the blood of the Congolese.  He welcomed the commitment of the Belgian Government to bring such criminals to justice.  His Government would continue to fight such exploitation and had made a pledge to consolidate peace in the region through cooperation with its neighbours.


JOSEPH NSENGIMANA ( Rwanda) expressed the view that the new mandate of MONUC should focus on more forcibly dismantling the ex-FAR/Interhamwe/FDLR (non-governmental armed groups that originated in Rwanda) who had committed numerous atrocities and had destabilized the region.  The CNDP of Laurent Nkunda had arisen because those groups were systematically exterminating Tutsis, as they did in the 1994 genocide, and because the Democratic Republic of the Congo national troops had failed to provide them protection.


He said that Rwanda, for its part, was meeting all its commitments in combating the genocidaire groups, and he rejected all “unfounded allegations” that the country had assisted CNDP.  Around 68 CNDP recruits had so far been arrested and were currently held in Rwanda.  Rwandan authorities had cooperated with the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo by informing them of the seizure of military uniforms destined for CNDP and was participating actively in all regional initiatives to end conflict.


Mr. MWAMBA, Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in response to that statement, strongly objected to an ethnic explanation of the conflict, saying it was extremely dangerous.  In any case, Mr. Nkunda was putting 10 million people, including his own ethnic group, in danger.  Tutsis were not the smallest minority, they were protected by the Constitution and they were well represented in all areas of the Government.  He maintained that Mr. Nkunda was acting not for the good of his people, but for economic reasons.


Mr. NSENGIMANA ( Rwanda) replied that it was a fact that the genocidaires had tried to exterminate the Tutsis in Rwanda and had continued their efforts in, and from, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  He said that certainly required the attention of the Security Council.  He added that, in recent months, there had been more contacts between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda and he hoped that those meetings would continue and that agreements would be implemented.


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For information media • not an official record