29 May 2013
Security Council
SC/11018

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

Security Council

6971st Meeting (AM)


Demanding that Lord’s Resistance Army End All Attacks, Security Council

 

Calls for Full Implementation of Regional Strategy in Central Africa


As it considered the situation in the Central African subregion today, the Security Council reiterated its strong condemnation of the attacks and atrocities, as well as violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of human rights, being perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and called for an immediate end to the violence.


In a presidential statement read out by Kodjo Menan (Togo), which holds the May presidency of the 15-member body, the Council condemned the LRA’s recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, killing and maiming, rape, sexual slavery and other sexual violence and abductions.  It demanded an immediate end to all such attacks, urging the LRA to release those abducted, and to disarm and demobilize.


By other terms, the Council welcomed the development of an implementation plan for the United Nations Regional Strategy to address the threat and impact of the LRA, as well as other strategic documents.  It urged the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), in its coordinating role, to join other United Nations presences in enhancing efforts in support of the implementation strategy, calling on the international community to provide assistance where possible.


Further, the Council reiterated its support for the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative against the LRA and welcomed the finalization of the concept of operations required to make operational the African Union Regional Task Force to combat the LRA threat.


In addition, the Council expressed concern at the recent pause of counter-LRA operations in the Central African Republic in the context of the current crisis in the country, due to the forceful seizure of power, on 24 March, by the Seleka coalition.


Abou Moussa, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, briefed the Council on recent developments, bringing them up to date on logistical challenges and obstacles, including those which had confined Task Force troops to their respective bases.  However, he praised the recent development of a “prioritized and sequenced” implementation plan to carry out the United Nations Regional Strategy against the LRA.


A major source of concern, he said, was the ongoing military operations by Nigerian armed forces against Boko Haram insurgents.  Nigerian officials had announced on 20 May that their forces had regained control in five remote areas of the north-east, close to the borders with Cameroon and Chad, where the Islamist insurgents had seized the territory


Further, he noted, the current political security situation in northern Mali continued to negatively impact countries that had sent troops to that country.  Following twin attacks against a military base and a French-run uranium mine, Niger’s President, Mahamadou Issoufou, claimed that those involved in the attacks ‑ which left more than two dozen people dead ‑ had entered his country from southern Libya.


Mr. Moussa also reviewed other challenges, including the emerging issue of poaching ‑ known as a major source of financing for armed groups ‑ and the “thorny” issue of youth unemployment.  UNOCA aimed to facilitate a subregional conference on the impacts of those matters on the consolidation of peace.


Following his briefing, all 15 members of the Council took the floor to condemn the LRA ‑ which many described as a long-standing “blight” in the heart of Africa ‑ and express support for strengthened, coordinated efforts to end its vicious attacks.  While LRA ranks had dwindled, that rebel group had systematically violated international law for more than 25 years, which had led to some 100,000 deaths, the kidnapping of up to 100 children, and displacement of 2.5 million people.


In that vein, delegates welcomed the plan to implement the United Nations Regional Strategy for combating the LRA, as well as other strategic documents.  Several speakers, including Luxembourg’s delegate, stressed that the countries affected bore the main responsibility for protecting civilians.  She encouraged all States to cooperate with the arrest warrants issued for Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen, stressing:  “These leaders of the LRA must be brought to justice.”


Similarly, the representative of the United Kingdom said the demise of the LRA, which he called a “thuggish band of criminals”, was in sight, thanks to efforts by regional and subregional partners.  He urged the international community not to lose focus, especially in light of events in the Central African Republic which threatened to undermine progress.


On that point, a few delegates, including Togo’s delegate, urged the Council to consider adopting sanctions against those who had committed gross violations of humanitarian and human rights law during the conflict in the Central African Republic.  The lack of public order, catastrophic humanitarian situation and looting in that country called for a determined response by the Council to support the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).


Also speaking today were the representatives of China, Russian Federation, France, Guatemala, United States, Rwanda, Australia, Argentina, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Pakistan and Azerbaijan.


The meeting opened at 10:35 a.m. and ended at 12:33 p.m.


Presidential Statement


The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2013/6 reads as follows:


“The Security Council reiterates its strong condemnation of the attacks and atrocities carried out by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of human rights.  The Council condemns further the LRA’s recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, killing and maiming, rape, sexual slavery and other sexual violence, and abductions.  The Council demands an immediate end to all attacks by the LRA and urges the LRA to release all those abducted, disarm and demobilise. 


“The Security Council welcomes the conclusions of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (adopted on 19 April 2013) concerning the situation of children and armed conflict affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army.  The Council calls for their full implementation.


“The Security Council welcomes the development of the implementation plan for the United Nations Regional Strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the LRA as well as other strategic documents.  The Council urges the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), in its coordination role, as well as the United Nations political and peacekeeping missions in the region and other relevant United Nations presences to enhance their efforts in support of the implementation of the strategy, as appropriate and within the limits of their mandates and capacities.  The Security Council also calls on the international community to provide assistance where possible.


“The Security Council reiterates its support for the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative against the LRA (AU RCI-LRA), welcomes the finalization of the concept of operations and other strategic documents required for the operationalization of the African Union Regional Task Force (AU-RTF), and encourages the deployment of child protection advisers.  The Council urges all regional Governments to fulfil their commitments under the AU RCI-LRA, and encourages neighbouring States to cooperate with it, in order to end the LRA threat.  The Council further encourages all States in the region to take measures to ensure that the LRA is not able to operate with impunity in their territory.  The Council underlines the need for all military action against the LRA to be conducted in compliance with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law, and to minimize the risk of harm to civilians in those areas.  The Council welcomes the steps taken to deliver an enhanced, comprehensive, and more regional approach to the humanitarian situation, including assistance to victims of sexual violence and other attacks and urges further progress in this regard.


“The Security Council underlines the primary responsibility of States in the LRA-affected region to protect civilians.  In this regard, the Council welcomes the efforts undertaken by the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of South Sudan and Uganda to end the threat posed by the LRA, and urges further efforts from these countries, as well as from other countries in the region.  In this regard, the Security Council encourages those countries affected by the LRA which have not yet done so to establish Standard Operating Procedures for the reception and handover of LRA children to civilian child protection actors. 


“The Council expresses concern at the recent pause of counter-LRA operations in CAR in the context of the current crisis in the country due to the seizure of power by force on 24 March 2013 by the Seleka coalition as well as the ensuing violence and looting, which worsened the humanitarian and security situation and weakened the institutions of the Central African Republic.  Recognizing the need in the short term for the Transitional Authorities of CAR, Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the African Union and the United Nations to strengthen their coordination to solve the current crisis in CAR as soon as possible, and emphasizing that those responsible for any abuses or violations of human rights or violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable, the Council encourages continued coordination to allow regional counter-LRA operations to resume in CAR as soon as possible.  In this regard the Council calls on the Transitional Authorities in CAR to uphold their commitment to the AU-RTF and allow regional counter-LRA operations to resume without hindrance.  The Security Council underlines its appreciation for Uganda’s steadfast commitment and leadership to counter the LRA.


“The Council welcomes the efforts of MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in tackling the LRA.  In this context the Council encourages further and reinforced efforts by MONUSCO to tackle the LRA including through training and capacity-building of the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo), support to the Joint information Operations Centre (JIOC), and implementation of the DDRRR programme to encourage and facilitate further LRA defections.


“The Council notes the mandate of MONUSCO and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to help protect civilians in LRA-affected areas in their respective countries, and urges their continued efforts to implement this mandate, as well as the mandate of the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) to cooperate and share swiftly information related to the regional threat of the LRA.  The Council stresses the need for enhanced cross-border coordination, including through the adoption of common Standard Operating Procedures and swift information-sharing between these missions, as well as among all other actors in the region, to better anticipate LRA movements and imminent threats of attack.  The Council expresses concern about the continued reports of LRA attacks in the DRC during the first quarter of 2013, and calls on those MONUSCO forces operating in LRA-affected areas to reinforce their efforts to target and promote defections from the LRA through active patrols and increased information-sharing.


“The Security Council takes note of reports suggesting the existence of an LRA base in the disputed enclave of Kafia Kinga, on the border of CAR and between South Sudan and Sudan.


“The Council encourages the United Nations, African Union and ECCAS, to work together, including through joint field assessments, to develop a common operating picture of the LRA’s current capabilities and areas of operation, as well as to investigate the LRA’s logistical networks and possible sources of military support and illicit financing, including alleged involvement in elephant poaching and related illicit smuggling.  The Council calls on the Secretary-General to report on possible findings in his reports on implementation of the United Nations counter-LRA strategy.


“The Council urges MONUSCO, BINUCA, UNMISS, and other United Nations actors in the LRA-affected region to continue to work with regional forces and non-governmental organizations to promote a common approach to defections and support the DDRRR efforts across the LRA-affected area.  The Council highlights the importance of programmes in support of the release, return and successful reintegration of children abducted by the LRA, in particular those targeting community acceptance of such children.


“The Security Council commends efforts by international donors to provide humanitarian assistance to LRA-affected populations in CAR, DRC and the Republic of South Sudan.  The Council reaffirms the requirement for all parties to allow safe and unhindered access for humanitarian organizations to the civilian population, in accordance with international law, including applicable international humanitarian law, and the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance.  The Council expresses concern about the lack of regular humanitarian access to many LRA-affected communities in CAR and the DRC, including because of poor infrastructure, and encourages increased United Nations efforts and international donor support for humanitarian access. 


“The Security Council recalls that the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrants for Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen on charges of, inter alia, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and forced enlistment of children, have yet to be enforced, and calls upon all States to cooperate with relevant national authorities and the International Criminal Court, in accordance with their respective obligations, in order to implement those warrants, and to bring to justice those responsible.


“The Security Council requests that the Secretary-General keep it informed on the activities of UNOCA, the progress of implementation of the Regional Strategy and the efforts being undertaken respectively by missions in the region and other relevant United Nations agencies to that end, including through a single report on UNOCA and the LRA to be submitted before 15 November 2013.”


Background


The Security Council convened this morning to take up the situation in the Central African subregion.  Before it was a report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa and on the Lord’s Resistance Army-affected areas (document S/2013/297).


Briefing


ABOU MOUSSA, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), recalled that, last December, the Council had requested the Office to work with the African Union and other stakeholders and partners in developing a prioritized and sequenced implementation plan for the United Nations Regional Strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  In that regard, he praised the recent convening of a forum in support of the African Union Regional Task Force and the mobilization of resources in support of the Strategy’s implementation in partnership with the African Union.


He then highlighted some of the challenges encountered, saying that, according to Ambassador [Ramtane] Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, the contingents handed over to the Task Force had faced real logistical problems.  Major obstacles had confined the troops ‑ with the exception of the Ugandan contingent ‑ to their respective bases and had kept them from being able to initiate any expected military operations.  However, reassuring signals had been received from Bangui, following a fact-finding mission to the Central African Republic, where authorities were ready to continue to cooperate with the international community in the fight against the LRA.


He went on to say that a major source of security concern for the subregion was the ongoing military operations by Nigerian armed forces against Boko Haram insurgents.  Nigerian officials announced on 20 May that they had regained control in five remote areas of the north-east, close to the borders with Cameroon and Chad, where the Islamist insurgents had seized the territory.  Thousands of refugees had reportedly fled the area.


Further, he noted, the current political security situation in northern Mali also continued to impact negatively on countries that had sent troops to that country.  Following twin attacks against a military base in Agadez and a French-run uranium mine, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger claimed that those involved in the attacks ‑ which left more than two dozen people dead ‑ had entered his country from southern Libya.  He had also warned that further attacks were being planned against Chad.


He went on to review other challenges, including the emerging issue of poaching and the “thorny” question of youth unemployment.  UNOCA had engaged in efforts to facilitate a subregional conference with its partners to discuss the impact of those challenges on the consolidation of peace, and what actions to pursue in addressing them.


Concluding, he affirmed that UNOCA had fulfilled its pledge, made last December, to continue to place a premium on building on and consolidating the achievements registered in 2012.  That included redoubling efforts to accelerate the operationalization of the Regional Strategy to address the threat posed by the LRA.  That pledge would be further renewed today, he stressed.


Statements


LI BAODONG (China), emphasizing that the LRA threat had not been eradicated and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea remained “menacing”, called upon the international community to help Central African countries achieve peace and stability.  Concerned with the situation in the Central African Republic and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, he also urged parties to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation and through the engagement of regional and subregional organizations.  Support to relevant groups needed to be on the basis of full respect for sovereignty. 


He went on to say that international support for countries in the fight against the LRA was needed, pointing out that the deterioration of the security situation in the Central African Republic had negatively impacted such efforts.  Strongly condemning the LRA attacks on civilians, he demanded its immediate disarmament, and expressed support for the African Union efforts to implement regional cooperation initiatives.  The international community should lend information-sharing support and provide technical assistance.  In that regard, the United Nations should play a greater role in enduring peace in Central Africa.


SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) said that while LRA forces had dwindled, they continued to pose a grave threat.  She was pleased that the presidential statement would underscore the determination to fight the LRA.  Welcoming the implementation plan for the United Nations Regional Strategy, she said she hoped that a more systematic focus under UNOCA would strengthen the fight against the LRA.  In that regard, her country would make voluntary financial contribution to the Task Force, as it was essential for the African Union and the United Nations to continue working together on that front.


Stressing that the countries affected bore the main responsibility for protecting civilians, she encouraged all States to cooperate with the arrest warrants issued for Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen.  “These leaders of the LRA must be brought to justice,” she said, recalling, as well, the conclusions adopted on 19 April 2013 on child victims of the LRA by the Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict.  Further, operations against the LRA must resume to ensure that no country provide sanctuary for that group.  The lack of public order, catastrophic humanitarian situation and looting in the Central African Republic called for a determined response by the Council to support the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).


VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that the concerns raised in the briefing had been demonstrated by the spread of weapons in the region and the rising number of refugees fleeing their homes.  The increase in trans-border crimes, including poaching, was also of concern, as those activities could serve as funding for terrorists and armed groups in the region.  There was a need to take measures to eliminate potential factors of conflicts, such as poverty and unemployment.


He went on to note the difficulties in the practical implementation of the United Nations Strategy for combating the LRA, including ineffective measures for the protection of civilians and insufficient resources to provide humanitarian support of those affected by the LRA.  However, the contribution of UNOCA in the collective efforts to ensure peace and security in the subregion, in particular in preventative areas, was to be acknowledged.


PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said that the “thuggish band of criminals” that was the LRA had blighted the heart of Africa for over 20 years, terrorizing the civilian population.  Nonetheless, the LRA’s demise was in sight due to the efforts of regional and subregional partners, which had weakened them.  He urged that the international community not lose focus, especially in light of events in the Central African Republic, which threatened to undermine progress. 


Welcoming the development of an implementation plan, he stressed that it was imperative that the plan’s timelines be met and that sufficient resources be made available.  Still, concerns remained about threats to maritime security on Africa’s western seaboard.  UNOCA had an important role to play in combating those threats and in minimizing their impact on economic stability.  Indeed, UNOCA should be playing a strong role in all areas where cooperation was needed.  He called, in that regard, for greater clarity in the next Secretary-General’s report, with particular attention to what UNOCA was doing to “add value”.


MARTIN BRIENS ( France) said the security and political challenges in Central Africa required coordination among all national, regional, subregional and United Nations actors.  It was also crucial to focus on prevention and support regional conflict settlement.  UNOCA’s know-how should be drawn upon to address the situation in the Central African Republic and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Further, stabilizing the security situation in the Central African Republic must be a priority and he urged scaling-up the Mission for the Consolidation of Peace in Central African Republic (MICOPAX) to reinstate order.  Some 1.3 million people faced food security and the international response had been much too weak.


He went on to encourage close cooperation between the African Union Regional Task Force and United Nations peacekeepers in order to demobilize the LRA forces and transfer leaders to the International Criminal Court.  The Regional Strategy must be updated to ensure efforts were effective.  Peacekeeping operations against the LRA had their own monitoring and coordinating mechanisms and it was important they draw upon those tools.  Lastly, because the growing scope of poaching was endangering the region’s security, he called for cooperation between ECCAS and the United Nations.


GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) expressed hope that UNOCA would continue coordinating United Nations and subregional efforts to re-establish order in the Central African Republic.  Cooperation in preparing for the June summit of Heads of State on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was needed.  In addition, UNOCA should work with Central African States in responding to the illegal poaching of elephants, which had been reported in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad and Gabon.


UNOCA, he continued, must also continue its coordinating work to strengthen peace, especially through institution-building, electoral processes, mediation and good offices to prevent conflict. “We do not want to see the same situation that affected the Central African Republic arising elsewhere,” he said, voicing hope that the next ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa would propose ways to improve security.  He urged that efforts be redoubled in order to get rid of the LRA threat once and for all.  In that regard, the implementation plan for the Regional Strategy was a positive step forward.  As well, compliance with the International Criminal Court arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and other LRA leaders needed to be implemented.


SUSAN RICE (United States), acknowledging the almost three decades of havoc wreaked by the LRA on Central Africa and the Great Lakes region, stated that the rebels’ acts were unconscionable, and “must be stopped once and for all”.  That goal was within reach, but it would require sustained regional leadership and international support.  The United States had provided significant assistance, including sending military advisors to enhance the capacity of regional forces.  While there had been a significant drop in LRA attacks and two of its most senior commanders had been removed from the battlefield, Joseph Kony remained at large.  Further, instability across the region, particularly in the Central African Republic, threatened to halt and potentially reverse progress made against the LRA.


Actions under the Regional Task Force should resume as soon as possible, she continued, as further suspension of military operations in the Central African Republic could allow the LRA to reorganize.  She fully supported the comprehensive Regional Strategy and the new implementation plan, and hoped that it would translate quickly into action.  Turning to the Central African Republic, she warned that a dire humanitarian situation and human rights violations posed a serious threat to regional peace and security.  Central African Republic authorities bore primary responsibility for protecting civilians.  She stated that, among other priorities, “they need to bring Seleka fighters under control immediately” and facilitate humanitarian access throughout the country.


OLIVIER NDUHUNGIREHE (Rwanda) said the situation in Central Africa had worsened due to the continuing crisis in the Central African Republic and the continued actions of the LRA in the region, including deadly attacks on civilians, rape, sexual violence and the recruiting of children as soldiers.  In that regard, armed forces in the region needed to establish standard operating procedures for the handover of children to officials. 


His country, he pointed out, had contributed troops to the Task Force.  However, there were concerns that efforts to improve the situation could be undermined by those that wished to legitimize the criminal activities of the LRA and other armed groups.  On poaching, he warned that because the crime could fund armed groups, concerted and coordinated action was needed to combat it.  As the demand for ivory was mostly from abroad, other countries should also play their part, he stated.


PHILIPPA JANE KING (Australia) stated that, as the LRA thrived in security vacuums, it was all the more concerning that the Ugandan contingent of the African Union Task Force had been forced to suspend its operations, and she urged the Task Force to resume its activities.  The United Nations, the African Union and ECCAS must strengthen their coordination to resolve the crisis.  Also, implementation of United Nations Regional Strategy must be enhanced to blunt LRA efforts, she said, welcoming the implementation plan for that Strategy.


She also stated that UNOCA must translate that Strategy into results on the ground.  Coordinated action by UNOCA and others was integral to addressing the LRA threat, including through information sharing and developing standard operating procedures.  More must be done to develop a “common operating picture” of LRA activities and funding sources.  She looked forward to the upcoming meeting on maritime piracy and armed robbery at sea.


FERNANDA MILLICAY ( Argentina), noting the decrease in LRA attacks, pointed out that since 2005, arrest warrants against Mr. Kony for war crimes had been pending and she called for the redoubling of efforts to ensure his arrest.  She called on regional States to implement the Strategy in order to end ‑ once and for all ‑ the LRA threat, encouraging countries to continue providing troops for the African Union regional cooperation initiative.


She went on to say she was pleased that the Ugandan Popular Defence Forces would resume their efforts to fight the LRA.  She also supported the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts in the region affected by LRA activities.  Lauding UNOCA efforts to promote justice and rule of law, she stressed that more coordination efforts were needed to combat piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea.


SUL KYUNG-HOON (Republic of Korea) recalled that due largely to the activities of the LRA over 440,000 people had been displaced throughout Central Africa.  Of particular concern were children, who continued to come under attack.  Known for funding its activities through the illegal ivory trade, the LRA was viewed as a serious perpetrator of transboundary trafficking in illegal materials.  “The activities of the LRA pose a fundamental threat to the rule of law in the entire region, and the international community must, therefore, deal with it as such,” he stressed.


The implementation plan, he went on to say, provided a holistic strategy to eradicate the group through a division of labour as well as thematic and country-specific coordination among relevant United Nations agencies.  The African Union’s counter-LRA strategy, however, recently faced a serious challenge as its Task Force’s activity had to be suspended in the Central African Republic.  That was particularly worrisome because an LRA base was reportedly located in the border area between the Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan.  He urged the transitional authorities in the Central African Republic to actively participate in the region’s joint efforts in order to eliminate a breeding ground for the rebels.


MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco), noting Morocco’s long-standing ties to the Central African Republic, said that challenges to that country were growing and required emergency responses.  In the Gulf of Guinea, piracy was spreading along the African coast, and measures must be taken to counter that threat.  The security situation in the Sahel, as well in neighbouring regions such as the Maghreb, was of concern. 


He welcomed the recent decision of regional Heads of State to create a standing body for sustainable development and the combating of poverty, as well as a security council, and he looked forward that body’s forthcoming summit which his country would be hosting.  In light of the increasing trans-regional threats, UNOCA and the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) needed to increase their support for regional efforts combating transnational crimes, trafficking, and other threats.  It was crucial to scale up trans-border efforts to combat the LRA.


RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said the fragile security situation in the Sahel, weapons proliferation, cross-border criminality and LRA activities could only be addressed through a coordinated regional and international approach, which featured national ownership.  Urging a focus on capacity-building of national authorities and enhancing regional cooperation, he stated his support for UNOCA in addressing those issues. 


However, he continued, its technical support and capacity-building initiatives must be strengthened.  Further, the crisis in the Central African Republic could undermine fragile gains made against the LRA.  He urged a comprehensive approach that featured strengthening State capacity and addressing long-term development needs.  Implementation of the Strategy against the LRA depended on the availability of resources and the building of judicial and governance systems, as well as military capabilities, of the affected countries.  In addition, there was an urgent need to address the humanitarian situation in LRA-affected areas, and he expressed hope that the region would receive support from the Council.


AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) said a deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic and potential spillover underlined the urgency of restoring constitutional order in that country.  He fully agreed with the recommendation to consider sanctions against those who had committed gross violations of humanitarian and human rights law during the conflict.  Welcoming the decision of the Committee of Sahel-Saharan States to create a permanent council for sustainable development and another for security, he said piracy and robbery in the Gulf of Guinea was another serious threat.


He then went on to commend regional stakeholders for their work in implementing resolution 2018 (2011), underlining the importance of the upcoming summit of regional Heads of State and Government to be held in Cameroon.  The growing menace by cross-border criminal activities was of great concern.  Thus, UNOCA’s coordination with partner organizations was required for the proposed regional forum on youth unemployment, political stability and peacebuilding to succeed.  Moreover, LRA-affected countries should accelerate efforts to realize the goals outlined in the United Nations Regional Strategy and the African Union regional cooperation initiative.


KODJO MENAN (Togo), Council President, speaking in his national capacity, highlighted the progress that some countries in Central Africa had seen in recent months.  However, it appeared that every time progress was noted, a new cycle of violence began.  In that regard, he pointed to the situation in the Central African Republic, urging the Council to consider measures to address such issues, including the possible adoption of individual sanctions.  The African Union’s announcement of the creation of a rapid intervention force, which should be immediately operational, was also welcomed.


Turning to the Democratic Republic of the Congo ‑ where the international community had shown “unprecedented mobilization” ‑ he stated his regret over the recent resumption of fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 armed group.  On the matter of the LRA, he said that the report of the Secretary-General showed that, while weakened, the group continued to be a blight, in particular in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.  However, the fight against the LRA could not only be military; it must also take place on a legal level.  Therefore, the struggle would be enhanced by capturing the leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony, and other key figures, whose arrests would also make it possible for fighters to surrender.


Resuming his functions as Council President, he then read the contents of the Presidential Statement adopted by the Council (document S/PRST/2013/6).


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