|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5660th Meeting (AM)
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MISSION IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO UNTIL 15 MAY,
UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1751 (2007)
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter this morning, the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) until 15 May 2007.
Taking that action by its unanimous adoption of resolution 1751 (2007), the Council noted that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region.
The Council reaffirmed its commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to its continued contribution to the consolidation of the country’s peace and stability in the post-transition period, in particular through MONUC.
Beginning at 10:15 a.m., the meeting ended at 10:17 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1751 (2007) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
“Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and its commitment to continue to contribute to the consolidation of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the post-transition period, in particular through the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC),
“Noting that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Decides to extend the mandate and personnel strength of MONUC, as set out in its resolutions 1565 (2004), 1592 (2005), 1596 (2005), 1621 (2005), 1635 (2005) and 1736 (2006), until 15 May 2007;
“2. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
Before the Council was the Secretary-General’s twenty-third report on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document S/2007/156), dated 20 March 2007, which covers major developments since his report of 21 September 2006 (document S/2006/759) and provides his recommendations for the Mission’s future mandate.
The Secretary-General recommends that the Security Council approve the post-transition mandate for MONUC, to include a military component of 17,030 personnel and 760 military observers, and a civilian police component of 391 police advisers and six formed police units of 125 members each (all ranks) until 31 December 2007. MONUC would continue to operate as a fully integrated Mission, in which its work and that of the United Nations country team reinforce and complement each other.
Outlining a post-transition mandate for MONUC in section IV of the report, the Secretary-General notes that, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo has entered a new political era, significant core stabilization tasks in the Mission’s current mandate remain to be completed. They include the creation of a stable security environment; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of Congolese combatants; and support for the large and complex local election process. During the next phase, MONUC will also have to play a strong role in supporting the consolidation of democracy, maximize its contributions to security sector reform, contribute to the normalization of regional relations and help ensure the achievement of significant benchmarks in key areas identified in consultation with the Government.
Therefore, the Secretary-General proposes, the principal elements of the Mission’s mandate would be to assist the Government in building a stable security environment; consolidating democracy; planning security sector reform and participating in its early stages; protecting human rights and strengthening the rule of law; the protection of civilians; and the conduct of local elections. In all areas of its work, MONUC would emphasize the role of civil society in political dialogue and decision-making, ensuring a rights-based approach and the implementation of Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security and 1612 (2005) regarding the protection of children.
An operational plan for MONUC’s gradual downsizing and eventual withdrawal, the Secretary-General stresses, will require clear linkages between the achievement of key benchmarks and the handover of responsibility to other actors, including the Government; agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations; the World Bank; and multilateral stakeholders. Following the multidisciplinary technical assessment mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to be conducted by the Secretariat before September, the Secretary-General intends to report to the Security Council in November on benchmarks in key sectors and tentative timetables for achieving them, which would guide the Mission’s gradual and phased withdrawal.
The Secretary-General observes that, with the successful conduct of the 2006 elections and the installation of the new Government, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has reached an historic turning point. In his inaugural speech, President Joseph Kabila captured the significance of the moment in calling for respect for democratic principles, tolerance and inclusiveness, and for setting visionary goals for reducing poverty and raising living standards. However, the Government now faces the daunting task of realizing its ambitious programme for 2007-2011. By including the “governance contract” in that programme, the Government expressed its commitment to governance principles endorsed by the Congolese people and the international community.
According to the report, the largely peaceful and orderly passage from the transition period to the new dispensation has not been without cause for concern, including alleged widespread electoral corruption believed to have influenced results in several gubernatorial contests. Furthermore, the narrowing of the political space for an effective political opposition, including the exclusion of opposition members from the Bureau of the National Assembly, as well as the incitement to violence by some members of opposition parties, represent troubling tendencies that, if not reversed, threaten the country’s nascent democracy.
Strongly urging Congolese political leaders to respect the principles of transparency, inclusiveness and tolerance of dissent, the Secretary-General stresses also that opposition leaders should adhere to those same democratic norms, voicing their views responsibly and without resort to violence. Failure to adhere to democratic principles would seriously undermine the credibility and ultimate legitimacy of the political leaders and institutions.
Assisting the Democratic Republic of the Congo in addressing the security challenges posed by armed groups in the east will remain a core element of the MONUC mandate, the report states. In the Ituri district, strong Government efforts remain vital to ensuring the entry of all remaining militia elements into disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, including through continued military pressure by the Congolese Armed Forces, supported by MONUC.
Commending efforts by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to resolve problems posed by the forces of renegade commander Laurent Nkunda and other armed elements, the Secretary-General urges the Congolese Government to develop a coherent plan for achieving security in the east, including through the completion of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, which should be accompanied by efforts to promote national reconciliation, recovery and development in the region. MONUC will continue to work closely with the Congolese Armed Forces to end the threat posed by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and non-integrated militias, including the Mayi Mayi and other groups. The FDLR problem should be addressed through a combination of political engagement, military dissuasion and possible relocation. Furthermore, the presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo remains a destabilizing element in the region that must be addressed with determination. The United Nations continues to support Uganda’s efforts to address this problem.
Finally, the Secretary-General states that the establishment of the new Government offers an opportunity for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to normalize relations with neighbouring States, and urges the country to establish diplomatic relations with them as soon as possible. The recently signed Pact on Security, Stability and development in the Great Lakes Region offers a promising mechanism for regional cooperation, and the parliaments of the signatory States should ensure its early ratification.
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