SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR END TO HOSTILITIES, WITHDRAWAL OF EXTERNAL FORCES, INCLUDING MERCENARIES, IN EASTERN ZAIRE

7 February 1997
SC/6323

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR END TO HOSTILITIES, WITHDRAWAL OF EXTERNAL FORCES, INCLUDING MERCENARIES, IN EASTERN ZAIRE

7 February 1997

Press ReleaseSC/6323

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR END TO HOSTILITIES, WITHDRAWAL OF EXTERNAL FORCES, INCLUDING MERCENARIES, IN EASTERN ZAIRE

19970207 In Presidential Statement, Council Reaffirms Zaire's Sovereignty, Urges Cooperation with Special Representative for Region

The Security Council this afternoon, expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, in particular eastern Zaire, called for an end to hostilities and for the withdrawal of external forces, including mercenaries.

In a statement read out on its behalf by the President of the Council, Njuguna M. Mahugu (Kenya), the Council urged the parties to allow humanitarian agencies access to those in need and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel.

The Council reaffirmed its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Zaire and other States in the Great Lakes region. In that connection, it called upon the States of the region to refrain from any act, including cross-border incursions, which could exacerbate the situation.

The Security Council expressed its full support for the Joint United Nations/Organization of African Unity Special Representative for the Great Lakes region, Mohammed Sahnoun, in the fulfilment of his mandate. It urged the parties in the region to cooperate with his mission and to provide it all necessary support, including logistical support.

Finally, the Council reaffirmed the importance of holding an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity. The Council welcomed the effort of those in the region aimed at resolving the crisis, in particular the initiative of President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya.

The meeting, which began at 4:09 p.m., was adjourned at 4:18 p.m.

The full text of the presidential statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1997/5, reads as follows:

"The Security Council expresses its grave concern at the deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region, in particular Eastern Zaire, and at its humanitarian consequences on the refugees and inhabitants of the region. It calls for an end to the hostilities and the withdrawal of all external forces, including mercenaries.

"The Security Council also expresses its deep concern over the humanitarian crisis in the region and urges all parties to allow humanitarian agencies and organizations access to deliver humanitarian assistance to those in need. It also demands that the parties ensure the safety of all refugees and displaced persons as well as the security and freedom of movement of all United Nations and humanitarian personnel. It underlines the obligation of all concerned to respect the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law.

"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Zaire and other States in the Great Lakes region; and to the principle of the inviolability of borders. In this connection, the Council calls upon all the States in the region to refrain, in accordance with their obligations under the Charters of the United Nations and the Organization of the African Unity, from any act, including cross-border incursions, which would threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of any State and exacerbate the situation in the region, including endangering the refugees and displaced persons. It also calls upon these States to create the conditions necessary for the speedy and peaceful resolution of the crisis.

"The Security Council expresses its full support for the Joint United Nations/Organization of African Unity Special Representative for the Great Lakes region, Ambassador Mohammed Sahnoun, in the fulfilment of his mandate as set out in the letter of the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council dated 22 January 1997 (S/1997/73). It urges all parties in the region to cooperate fully with the mission of the Special Representative in the search for a peaceful settlement to the crisis and calls upon Member States to provide the Special Representative with all necessary support including logistical support. It also encourages other facilitators and representatives of the regional organizations, including the European Union and the States concerned, to coordinate closely their efforts with those of the Special Representative.

"The Security Council reaffirms the importance of holding an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity.

"The Security Council welcomes all efforts including those of the Organizations and States of the region aimed at resolving the crisis, and in particular, the initiative of President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya and other Heads of State and encourages them to continue their efforts.

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

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For information media. Not an official record.