28 May 2013

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

Recurring Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Must End, Stresses

Secretary-General at First Meeting of Regional Framework Accord

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the 11+4 regional oversight meeting of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region, in Addis Ababa, 26 May:

I would like to thank Dr. Dlamini-Zuma for co-organizing this first meeting of the 11+4 Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region.  I also thank all the African leaders and other participants for attending this important event. 

Yesterday we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the African Union with a very moving reaffirmation of partnership and potential.  Today we address one of the biggest challenges of Africa’s past, present and future:  the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.  People across the region continue to suffer unspeakable horrors.  The recurring cycles of violence and devastation must end.

That is why you signed the Framework here in Addis Ababa in February, and it is why we are all here again today.  The signing of the Framework was a milestone in our collective efforts to launch a definitive and comprehensive peace process backed by political will at the highest level.

My Special Envoy Mary Robinson has called the agreement a “Framework of Hope”.  But, we will meet the test of implementation only if all the signatory countries work together to end the political impasse and generate new momentum towards human security and economic development.

I thank all the leaders in the region who hosted me, the President of the World Bank and my delegation during our recent visit, and who reiterated their commitments under the Framework.  As I stressed at every stop and reiterate before you today, the international community stands behind you in ending the violence and truly and fully addressing the roots of the strife.

The four witnesses to the Framework — the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the Southern African Development Community and the United Nations — will join hands to facilitate and carry the process forward.  The United Nations Security Council has endorsed our comprehensive approach.  The Council has also strengthened MONUSCO’s (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) political and military role, including through the deployment of a Force Intervention Brigade aimed at neutralizing armed groups.

President [Joseph] Kabila [Kabange] has also committed to a number of significant reforms in his country, which will require sustained efforts and support.  I was pleased to learn from President Kabila that he has established the national oversight mechanism, as envisaged in the Framework, and that he will personally oversee its work.

The framework covers not only peace and security but development, regional integration and economic growth.  But, as Dr. Jim Yong Kim and I emphasized throughout our trip, we must invest in the people of the Great Lakes region who have suffered too much for too long.  I welcome the added investment of $1 billion announced by Dr. Kim for the region, to support social safety nets, cross-border trade, energy and essential infrastructure.

A genuine and collaborative political effort must now take place at the regional level.  My Special Envoy has begun working closely with the signatories.  As requested by the Security Council, she is spearheading the effort to define benchmarks on regional commitments, and will work to monitor progress in close dialogue with Governments of the region and my Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I look forward to hearing from you about the concrete steps you are taking to fulfil the regional commitments.  Let us work together for the further implementation of the Framework.  Let us be able to report tangible, meaningful progress in the weeks and months ahead and when we gather for our next meeting, on the margins of the General Assembly session in New York in September.

This is a remarkable moment for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.  While the situation remains volatile, we have an historic opportunity to end the suffering and stabilize the region, which holds such a great potential for human development.  I will count on your full support and continued engagement.

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For information media • not an official record