Congo, Republic of the
H. E. Mr. Basile Ikouebe, Minister for Foreign Affairs
29 September 2008
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BASILE IKOUEBE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Congo, affirmed his country’s commitment to the United Nations as an ideal framework for finding durable solutions to worldwide crises. However, because of ongoing conflicts, the African continent was still struggling to strengthen fragile infrastructures and implement the Millennium Development Goals.
He heralded the Central African Republic’s efforts to ensure peace and security through dialogue between the Government and rebel forces, with full confidence that the Peace, Security and Development Pact of the Great Lakes Region, adopted last June, would assist in that regard. He also welcomed the resumption of diplomatic relations between Chad and Sudan, and as co-mediator with Libya, he was determined to participate fully in establishing peace between those neighbouring countries.
Noting that solving the conflict in Darfur would contribute to that end, he appealed for the full deployment of 26,000 troops for UNAMID and said that a Congo police unit of 140 personnel would be at the Operation’s disposal. However, the international agencies and community needed to double their efforts to help stabilize the conflict with rebels in Congo’s East Region and to implement the Abuja Accord. The indictment of the Head of State of Sudan, in that respect, was counterproductive.
He also noted that several African countries, including Congo, voluntarily subscribed to the periodic review of the Peer Review Mechanism, a pillar of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Nevertheless, the contradiction of African leaders having to face foreign judges in the “name of the principle of universal jurisdiction”, while leaders of powerful countries were excused from such scrutiny left the impression that Africa was, again, being subjected to haphazard and hateful practices, echoing the past of slavery, the slave trade and colonization.
Congo’s borders encompassed a considerable part of the Congo Basin, “the world’s second ecological lung after the Amazon.” The Member States of the Congo Basin, while supporting the outcome of the Bali Conference and the upcoming post-Kyoto Protocol talks, requested compensation mechanisms for the preservation of forest equilibriums. To further discussion and create additional solutions, Congo would host the sixth Forum on Sustainable Development in October.
After the difficult period of the 1990s, efforts from all parties of Congo’s society had brought about stability and national reconciliation to create legislative elections in 2007. Future plans had been made to hold a presidential election in 2009. Plans to initiate the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper would ensure free access to education, the recruitment of teachers, immunization, renovations of construction of a dozen health centres and free access to HIV/AIDS testing and anti-retroviral medication, among others.