SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE END TO ZAIRE FIGHTING; URGES INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO AVERT ESCALATION OF CRISIS

1 November 1996
SC/6285

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE END TO ZAIRE FIGHTING; URGES INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO AVERT ESCALATION OF CRISIS

1 November 1996

Press ReleaseSC/6285

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE END TO ZAIRE FIGHTING; URGES INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO AVERT ESCALATION OF CRISIS

19961101 Statement Stresses Humanitarian Needs, Urges Robust Relief Effort from United Nations Agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations

Expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, in particular in eastern Zaire, the Security Council this afternoon called for an immediate cease-fire and a complete cessation of all fighting in the region.

In a statement read out on its behalf by the President of the Council, Nugroho Wisnumurti (Indonesia), the Council called on all States to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring States in accordance with their obligations under the Charter. In that connection the Council urged all parties to refrain from the use of force as well as cross-border incursions and to engage in the process of negotiations.

It noted the effect which the continued fighting was having on the inhabitants of the region and condemned all acts of violence, and spoke of the urgent need for a comprehensive and coordinated response by the international community to prevent any further escalation of the crisis.

By the text of the statement, the Council supported the Secretary- General's initiative to dispatch to the Great Lakes region a Special Envoy to consult with all concerned in order to establish the facts relating to the present conflict; to develop a plan to defuse tension and establish a cease- fire; to promote a process of negotiation; and to submit advice on the mandate to be given to a United Nations Special Representative including on the size and structure of a possible United Nations political presence in the region.

The Special Envoy should be provided with adequate staff and logistic resources, according to the statement. The Council called on all concerned to cooperate fully with the Special Envoy and expressed the hope that he would travel to the region as soon as possible.

The Security Council urged governments of the region to pursue early and substantive dialogue without further delay and welcomed all regional efforts aimed at defusing the tension in the region. It also stated that the situation in eastern Zaire had underlined the need to organize a conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region under the auspices of the United Nations. To that end, it called on the Secretary-General to ask the Special Envoy to promote the convening of a conference on an urgent basis.

The Council, particularly concerned at the humanitarian situation and resulting large-scale movements of refugees and displaced persons, called on all parties in the region to allow humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations to deliver humanitarian assistance to those in need and to ensure the safety of all refugees, as well as that of international humanitarian personnel.

The meeting, which began at 3:50 p.m., was adjourned at 3:59 p.m.

The full text of the Presidential Statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1996/44, reads as follows:

"The Security Council is gravely concerned at the deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region, in particular eastern Zaire, and at the effect which the continued fighting is having on the inhabitants of the region and condemns all acts of violence. It underlines the urgent need for a comprehensive and coordinated response by the international community to prevent any further escalation of the crisis there.

"The Security Council calls for an immediate cease-fire and a complete cessation of all fighting in the region. The Council calls on all States to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring States in accordance with their obligations under the United Nations Charter. In this connection, it urges all parties to refrain from the use of force as well as cross-border incursions and to engage in a process of negotiation.

"The Security Council, in the light of the letters of the Secretary- General to the President of the Council (S/1996/875 and S/1996/878), and the information received from the High Commissioner for Refugees and the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights regarding the situation in eastern Zaire, is particularly concerned at the humanitarian situation and the resulting large-scale movements of refugees and displaced persons. It fully supports the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and humanitarian agencies to alleviate the suffering. It calls on all parties in the region to allow humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations to deliver humanitarian assistance to those in need and to ensure the safety of all refugees as well as the security and freedom of movement of all

Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6285 3708th Meeting (PM) 1 October 1996

international humanitarian personnel. It underlines the urgent need for the orderly voluntary repatriation and resettlement of refugees, and the return of displaced persons, which are crucial elements for the stability of the region.

"The Security Council agrees with the Secretary-General that the situation in eastern Zaire constitutes a serious threat to the stability of the Great Lakes region. It is convinced that the complex problems at issue can be resolved only through early and substantive dialogue. The Council urges the governments of the region to pursue such a dialogue without further delay in order to defuse the tension. The Council calls upon all States in the region to create the conditions necessary for the speedy and peaceful resolution of the conflict, and to desist from any acts that may further exacerbate the situation. In this context, the Council welcomes all regional efforts aimed at defusing tension in the region, in particular the announcement of the meeting of regional leaders scheduled for 5 November 1996 in Nairobi, Kenya.

"The Security Council fully supports the initiative of the Secretary- General to dispatch to the Great Lakes region a Special Envoy to consult with all concerned in order to establish the facts relating to the present conflict; to develop as a matter of urgency a plan to defuse tension and establish a cease-fire; to promote a process of negotiation; and to submit advice on the mandate to be given to a United Nations Special Representative including on the size and structure of a United Nations political presence which, in consultation with the governments and parties concerned, will be established in the Great Lakes region. The Council also considers that the Special Envoy should be provided with adequate staff and logistic resources in order to carry out his mission. The Council also expresses the hope that the mediation efforts of the Organization of African Unity and the European Union will complement those of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General. The Council calls upon all governments and parties concerned to cooperate fully with the mission of the Special Envoy, and to contribute to the search for a comprehensive solution to the problems facing the people of the Great Lakes region. Given the urgency of the situation, the Council expresses the hope that the Special Envoy will travel as soon as possible to the region and provide early information on the situation there.

"The Security Council reiterates that the present situation in eastern Zaire underlines the need to organize a conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity. To this end, it calls on the Secretary-General to ask his Special Envoy to promote the convening and to encourage the adequate preparation of such a conference on an urgent basis.

"The Security Council will remain seized of the matter."

Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6285 3708th Meeting (PM) 1 October 1996

Documents before Council

As it met this afternoon to consider the situation in eastern Zaire, the Council had before it letters from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council dated 14 October (document S/1996/875) and 24 October (document S/1996/878). In the first letter, the Secretary-General states that the deteriorating situation in Zaire required him to offer his good offices to assist the Government of Zaire in addressing the political and security aspects of the problems in the eastern part of the country, not only because of the threat they presented to peace and the security of the region but also because of the negative impact on the United Nations efforts to provide assistance to the elections planned for 1997.

In his second letter, reporting on the escalating military activity within Zaire and across its borders, the Secretary-General says that the failure to address the root causes of the conflicts in the region of the Great Lakes, in political and economic as well as security terms, had once again unleashed a spiral of violence and human suffering that may spin out of control unless urgent measures were taken immediately to contain the situation.

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For information media. Not an official record.