SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS RWANDA’S MILITARY OPERATIONS IN EASTERN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, DEMANDS WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT DELAY

7 December 2004
SC/8263

SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS RWANDA’S MILITARY OPERATIONS IN EASTERN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, DEMANDS WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT DELAY

7/12/2004
Press Release
SC/8263

Security Council

5095th Meeting (PM)


SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS RWANDA’S MILITARY OPERATIONS IN EASTERN DEMOCRATIC


REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, DEMANDS WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT DELAY


Expressing very deep concern at multiple reports of military operations by the Rwandan army in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Security Council today strongly condemned any and all such military action and demanded that the ex-Forces armées rwandaises (FAR) and Interahamwe elements there disarm and disband without delay, with a view to their repatriation or resettlement. 


In a statement read out by Council President, Abdallah Baali (Algeria), the Council underlined that the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of any State is contrary to the United Nations Charter and demanded that the Government of Rwanda withdraw without delay any forces it may have in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


The Council recognized that continued tension in the eastern part of the country undermined peace and security in the region, and that the presence of ex-FAR and Interahamwe elements there was a source of instability, a threat to civilian populations and an impediment to good-neighbourly relations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. 


In a related provision, the Council condemned any attempt to undermine the unity and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It called on all States in the region to refrain from any action or statement that contravened international law, undermined the already fragile regional stability, or the transitional process supported by the international community.


Similarly, the Council urged all Member States fully to comply with their obligations under resolution 1493 (2003), which imposed an arms embargo in the district of Ituri and the provinces of north and south Kivu. 


Concerning the disarmament of foreign armed groups, the Council urged the Congolese authorities to do all possible to effectively disarm those groups as a matter of urgency, in the interest of stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the security of Rwanda and Burundi, and the establishment of peace and stability in the region. 


For today’s meeting, the Council had before it a series of letters.  A letter to the Security Council President, dated 30 November, by the Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations (document S/2004/933), states, among other things, that Rwanda’s sovereignty and territorial integrity continue to be violated with relative impunity by forces operating from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Despite numerous Security Council resolutions, the ex-FAR/Interahamwe forces continue to operate from, and receive supplies on, the territory of a State Member of the United Nations.


Dated 1 December, a letter from the chargé d’affairs of the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (document S/2004/935) informs the Security Council that Rwandan regular troops have crossed the Congolese border in order to attack the town of Mutongo, in the area of Walikale in Nord Kivu province.  His Government strongly requests the Council to meet on an urgent basis in order to condemn firmly this further act of aggression by the RwandeseRepublic against the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


A further letter from the Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the Security Council, dated 6 December (document S/2004/951), asserts, among other things, that there are currently no Rwandan troops on the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The ex-FAR/Interahamwe forces are present and active in massive numbers on the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the President knows this.  Their aim is to continue to launch attacks on Rwanda, and kill Rwandans, operating from their bases on the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the letter states.


The letter goes on to say that if the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not remove the threat of this genocidal force to Rwanda from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in respect of its engagements under the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement of 1999, the Pretoria Agreement, and other agreements, including the most recent Dar es Salaam declaration, then Rwanda reserves the right to respond as it deems fit in defence of its people, its sovereignty, and territorial integrity.


The meeting began at 4:50 p.m. and was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.


Presidential Statement


The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as S/PRST/2004/45, reads as follows:


“The Security Council expresses its very deep concern at multiple reports of military operations by the Rwandan army in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and at threats by the Government of Rwanda in this regard.  It recalls its adherence to the respect for the sovereignty of all States, and underlines that the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of any State is contrary to the purposes and principles stated in the Charter of the United Nations.


“The Security Council strongly condemns any and all such military action, recalling that they are contrary to its resolutions, and in particular to resolution 1565 (2004), by which it urged each of the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, to ensure that the territory of its country was not used to infringe the sovereignty of the others.


“The Security Council demands that the Government of Rwanda withdraw without delay any forces it may have in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and calls on all States in the region to refrain from any action or statement that contravenes international law, undermines the already fragile stability in the region, or the transitional process supported by the international community.


“The Security Council notes that these reported events and threats, are contrary to all peace agreements, declarations and protocols signed by regional States since the 1998 commencement of hostilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It underlines that these events and threats, arising after the international Conference on the Great Lakes of Africa, are contrary to the commitments taken by the regional Heads of State, in the Declaration adopted in Dar es Salaam on 20 November 2004, to settle their disputes in a peaceful manner, and are all the more unacceptable.


“The Security Council calls on all governments in the region, to commit themselves to and make full use of multilateral mechanisms they have agreed to establish, including the Joint Verification Mechanism and the Tripartite Commission, for the peaceful resolution of bilateral their disputes.  It further calls on the Government of Rwanda, as well as all governments in the region, to devote their resources to the promotion of peace, stability, democracy and development.


“The Security Council urges all Member States fully to comply with their obligations under resolution 1493 (2003), which imposed an arms embargo in the district of Ituri and the provinces of north and south Kivu.


“The Security Council recognises that continued tension in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo undermines peace and security in the region, and in particular that the presence of ex-FAR and Interahamwe elements in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is a source of instability, a threat to civilian populations and an impediment to good-neighbourly relations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.  It considers the armed presence and activities of ex-FAR and Interahamwe elements in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to be unacceptable and demands that they disarm and disband without delay, with a view to their repatriation or resettlement.


“In this regard, the Security Council welcomes steps taken to set up the plan established by the Congolese authorities, with the support of the United Nations Organisation’s Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, aimed at accelerating the disarmament and demobilisation of foreign armed groups.  It calls on the Governments of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to explore ways to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of these combatants, based on the existing mechanisms.  It urges the Congolese authorities to do all possible to effectively disarm these armed groups as a matter of urgency, in the interest of stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the security of Rwanda and Burundi, and the establishment of peace and stability in the region.


“The Security Council further calls in this regard on the Congolese authorities to accelerate the integration of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and encourages the donor community to provide coordinated financial and technical assistance to this important task.


“The Security Council condemns any attempt aimed at undermining the unity and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


“The Security Council expresses its intention to consider further actions, including measures that may be taken against those individuals who, by their actions or statements, compromise the peace and transition process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”


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For information media. Not an official record.