Democratic Republic of Congo; Kuwaiti and Third

Country Nationals

†††††††††††††††††††

 

††††††††††††††††††† We had a briefing from Assistant Secretary-General, Annabi to follow-up the

††††††††††††††††††† Secretary-Generalís recent report on the DRC, and are in the middle of an

††††††††††††††††††† interesting discussion of our overall strategy towards the DRC leading up of

††††††††††††††††††† course to the proposed mission which will start around the 16 May from New

††††††††††††††††††† York to the Great Lakes region.

 

††††††††††††††††††† While welcoming the progress that has been made so far in the

††††††††††††††††††† disengagement of forces under the agreements that have been signed

††††††††††††††††††† between the parties. And there were two recent plus points recently that the

††††††††††††††††††† difficulties we had both with the FLC and Mr Bemba and with the RCD Goma

††††††††††††††††††† with the Ambassadors from Kinshasa meeting Mr Onosumba yesterday in

††††††††††††††††††† Goma have been resolved successful and that adds to the progress. But

††††††††††††††††††† members of the Council expect all parties to live up fully to their commitments

††††††††††††††††††† under the disengagement agreements, cooperate unreservedly with MONUC

††††††††††††††††††† in taking forward these plans, and not least in drawing up realistic plans which

††††††††††††††††††† are due by 15 May for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from the DRC

††††††††††† ††††††††as resolution 1304 asks for. And we also want to see realistic plans for a

††††††††††††††††††† Demobilisation Disarmament Reconcilation and Reintegration (DDRR)

††††††††††††††††††† process and we have seen the importance of that in the Sierra Leone in other

††††††††††††††††††† context. It is going to be vital for the DRC.

 

††††††††††††††††††† But secondly also, members of the Council, and indeed we have seen this

††††††††††††††††††† from the Secretary-General, are deeply disturbed by the continuing reports of

††††††††††††††††††† horrific violence particularly in the eastern part of the DRC. The

††††††††††††††††††† Secretary-Generalís report refers to this violence in some areas as having

††††††††††††††††††† almost a genocidal character which casts a nasty echo back from previous

††††††††††††††††††† history. Resolution 1341 calls on all parties to Lusaka to cease support for

††††††††††††††††††† these armed rebel groups that are mainly responsible for the continuing local

††††††††††††††††††† horrific violence on humanitarian abuse and that assistance has got to stop,

††††††††††††††††††† and the parties have got to come up with plans to cease the activities of the

††††††††††††††††††† armed rebel groups that are not signatories to the Lusaka. It is a very

††††††††††††††††††† important part of the story to come and the Council is not going to let go of it.

††††††††††††††††††† So the mission will focus on these two areas very particularly when we go in

††††††††††††††††††† the second half of May. I will also remind you that the Secretary-General has

††††††††††††††††††† invited the Council to a retreat in the Pocantico Hills on the 4-5 May where the

††††††††††††††††††† subject will be the Great Lakes region. So policy discussion will continue.

 

††††††††††††††††††† On the Kuwaiti and third country nationals missing, we had a very good and

††††††††††††††††††† full briefing from the High-Level Coordinator, Ambassador Vorontsov. This is

††††††††††††††††††† one area where the Council is unanimous on Iraq in support for the work of

††††††††††††††††††† Ambassador Vorontsov and for his future in continuing efforts, and also in

††††††††††††††††††† expressing deep concern at the plight of the Kuwaiti and third country

††††††††††††††††††† nationals still recorded missing. And in expressing their hope that there will at

††††††††††††††††††† some stage soon, and at last, be some progress in what is a strictly

††††††††††††††††††† humanitarian issue. It has no direct connection with the other parts of the Iraq

†† †††††††††††††††††issue on our agenda. And there was deep concern that there has been no

††††††††††††††††††† movement whatsoever since the High-Level Coordinatorís last report when all

††††††††††††††††††† of us, from Ambassador Vorontsovís onwards, are convinced that there is

††††††††††††††††††† more information to be given from the Iraqi side. So members of the Council

††††††††††††††††††† stressed the importance of continuing dialogue amongst all parties on this,

††††††††††††††††††† including with the involvement of the ICRC and the Tripartite Commission and

††††††††††††††††††† urged Iraq fully to cooperate with Ambassador Vorontsov and with all other

††††††††††††††††††† agencies and bodies dealing with the issue. They were very keen that when

††††††††††††† ††††††member states and the Secretariat had contacts with Iraq that this issue

††††††††††††††††††† should continue to be brought up, and must be ground away at until we have

††††††††††††††††††† some results on something that has taken far too long with a zero still against

††††††††††††††††††† it.

 

††††††††††††††††††† (Question about new ideas about breaking the impasse)

 

††††††††††††††††††† Nothing specifically new to what he has proposed before. The main

††††††††††††††††††† recommendation remains from him pressure on Iraq to produce information.

 

††††††††††††††††††† (Question about the missing Saudi and US pilots)

 

††††††††††††††††††† I think we need to refer to particular cases. You referred to pilots, part of

††††††††††††††††††† whose bodies have been produced, but clearly there had to be more to be

††††††††††††††††††† produced than there were. I think it came up in the margins of the Arab

††††††††††††††††††† Summit. I think those who have the best channels to Iraq are probably the

††††††††††††††††††† neighbours and the Arab world, but also international workers, heads of

††††††††††††††††††† international organisations concerned with this keep on bringing it up because

††††††††††††††††††† this is a humanitarian issue and not a political one, dnd international pressure

††††††††††††††††††† I think is the only way to get a change on this item.

 

††††††††††††††††††† (Question about the next phase of the Congo deployment and the vulnerability

††††††††††††††††††† of UN troops in Congo.)

 

††††††††††††††††††† It is in the minds of Council members, quite clearly from the discussion that

††††††††††††††††††† we have had so far. You will remember that the Secretary-General pointed out

††††††††††††††††††† in his report that it will be very difficult for the United Nations and for MONUC

††††††††††††††††††† to respond to the call for complete protection of civilians because they do not

††††††††††††††††††† have the numbers; to the expectation from the Political Committee and the

††††††††††††††††††† Joint Military Committee that MONUC should take up the disarming of armed

††††††††††††††††††† groups which again is a very complex subject. I think members of the Council

††††††††††††††††††† recognise the complexity of this and the difficulty for a traditional UN

††††††††††††††††††† peacekeeping force to respond in that way. We are going to take this up on

††††††††††††††††††† the mission and talk with the parties about this but there was a feeling that

††††††††††††††††††† the expectations coming out of the Lusaka signatories on this. Those

††††††††††††††††††† particular issues that you raise should be lowered.

 

††††††††††††††††††† (Question about the Security Council mission to the DRC)

 

††††††††††††††††††† We are expecting the mission to go to the capitals of virtually all signatories

††††††††††††††††††† to the Lusaka Agreement if their leaders are available. So we will go to Kigali

††††††††††††††††††† and Kampala as part of that. There will undoubtedly be discussion of what you

††††††††††††††††††† referred to, which was clearly the recent Expert Panel report. I do not think

††††††††††††††††††† there is any dispute between any Lusaka signatories and the Security

††††††††††††††††††† Council. Remember that the Expert Panel was an independent panel. It was

††††††††††††††††††† not the UN speaking, or the Secretary-General or the Security Council

††††††††††††††††††† speaking; it is an expert panel commissioned by the Secretary-General at the

††††††††††††††††††† request of the Security Council that has offered facts, advice and

††††††††††††††††††† recommendations. And therefore discussion and for a later decision by the

††††††††††††††††††† Council and that will be including with the parties who have been mentioned in

††††††††††††††††††† the report.

 

††††††††††††††††††† (Question about the Middle East)

 

††††††††††††††††††† The Secretary-General himself is highly active. The Security Council supports

††††††††††††††††††† him and therefore he is in contact with the Presidency of the Council at any

††††††††††††††††††† time to see what the Security Council is saying, or what they want to do. This

††††††††††††††††††† will be the basis for discussion, including with the parties mentioned, and a

††††††††††††††††††† later decision by the Council.