UNIKOM; Democratic Republic of Congo

 

                    Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

                    Let me just say a word about informal consultations this morning. There were

                    two main items of business. The first was the United Nations Iraq Kuwait

                    Observation Mission (UNIKOM) on which we had a very short briefing indeed

                    from DPKO. So we were basically looking at the Secretary-General's report.

                    There was acceptance by the Council, I think, that UNIKOM needed to

                    continue. If that is confirmed, I shall write to the Secretary-General tomorrow

                    to say that we think that his recommendation to continue UNIKOM for a

                    further period should be implemented. I expect that to be agreed by the

                    Council because nobody voiced any objection to that. There was no

                    discussion of any controversial matters arising from that. It was noted that air

                    violations had gone up, it has been noted in the report, and the Secretariat

                    explained that UNIKOM were keeping an eye on this, but I don't think that that

                    particular area will change in any way in the next UNIKOM period.

 

                    We then had quite a long discussion in the context of the situation in the

                    Democratic Republic of the Congo on the intention so far of the Council to

                    send a Mission to the DRC, and to the region of the DRC, probably sometime

                    in the second half of May. We want to see the date of 15 May which is

                    mentioned in Resolution 1341 as the point at which disengagement and

                    DDRR plans should be drawn up by the parties to the disengagement

                    agreements before we go on that Mission so we can follow-up the need for

                    further respect for the ceasefire, the disengagement plans and the withdrawal

                    plans. We are going to proceed within the Council in drawing up Terms of

                    Reference for that Mission and a process has been instituted to do that over

                    the next few days. We discussed who might go on it, a number of

                    Delegations applied to go on it. When we have settled the list I will let you

                    know, but I'm aiming for around eight to go on that Mission and we will

                    discuss exactly where we go, but you can imagine it will be Kinshasa and the

                    capitals of other parties to Lusaka, though not necessarily all of them. That is

                    all to be refined. It was a very useful discussion. There was a very positive

                    wish by the Council to go to the region and follow-up Lusaka and Resolution

                    1341. And I will brief you on that as the Council goes through its decisions on

                    it. But I regard that as moving from possibility to probability in terms of that

                    prospective Mission in late-ish May.

 

                    Q: Was there any opposition from any of the Council members to such a

                    Mission?

 

                    A: No, there was not.

 

                    Q: What will the role of the Mission be? What will be its priorities?

 

                    A: Its priorities will be to ensure that the peace process is taken forward. That

                    the parties are motivated to the maximum to fulfil their engagements. In other

                    words, to ensure that the opportunity for peace in the DRC is not lost and that

                    the Council is determined to see commitments implemented. That's the

                    general context.

 

                    Q: What do you think will be the main things it will have to face in achieving

                    that?

 

                    A: That the parties are indeed fulfilling their commitments to the agreements

                    that are being drawn up. That the dates we set for the detailing of those

                    disengagement withdrawal arrangements are being met. That any problems

                    that arise are being solved. That demobilisation and disarmament begins to

                    take effect. That the inter-Congolese dialogue under the Facilitator, former

                    President Masire, is beginning to move ahead. And that all parties are having

                    their problems solved if they've got any problems about meeting their

                    commitments. So it's a showing of determination. It's a following-up on

                    practical issues and it's a taking forward of the next stage of the whole plan

                    for the peace process.

 

                    Q: What role will the UN's peacekeeping forces, who are deployed there at

                    the moment, play in all of that?

 

                    A: This is being very closely coordinated with MONUC and with the Special

                    Representative of the Secretary-General, Ambassador Morjane. He, I think,

                    welcomes the idea of a Mission. We want to see how and where MONUC is

                    being deployed and what experience they've had up to that date. And whether

                    they want any adjustments to their mandate for the next Phase which is due

                    to be renewed on 15 June, so that is another aspect of it. Thank you very

                    much.