|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6317th Meeting (AM)
Mission to Democratic Republic of Congo Was ‘Intense but Useful’,
Team Leader Says in Briefing to Security Council
He Describes ‘Open’ Talks on Security-Sector Reform, Restoring State Sovereignty
The Security Council had carried out an intense but useful mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 13 to 15 May, its leader said in a briefing to colleagues today.
Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France, said that, since the Council would soon have to take a decision on the future of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), the mission had discussed with President Joseph Kabila, other Congolese leaders and members of civil society, means by which to achieve the common objective of restoring State sovereignty over the national territory and restoring stability.
The role that the United Nations could play in support of that objective could only be carried out through a stable relationship with the Congolese authorities, he emphasized. One of the lessons that the mission had drawn from its numerous meetings was that conditions in the country had evolved in a positive way, though they remained fragile. The humanitarian and human rights situations were particularly worrying, he said, underlining also the importance of addressing impunity on the part of the perpetrators of sexual violence.
Another lesson was that any decision on the United Nations presence in the country should take into account the situation on the ground, so as to prevent new instability, he said, going on to underscore that security-sector reform was a crucial challenge in that regard, because the country still lacked an effective army. Taking responsibility for that situation, the Congolese authorities had confirmed their desire to professionalize the army through bilateral cooperation. However, they still required United Nations support on other issues of security-sector reform, such as the training of police and reforming the judicial sector.
The authorities also expected MONUC to provide logistical support for the holding of elections in the coming months, he said, recalling the magnitude and costs of electoral support in 2006. Members of the Council mission had expressed their wish to work with the Government on reconfiguring MONUC, while acknowledging that the Mission would not remain in the country indefinitely. A transition should take place, in cooperation with the Congolese authorities, after a common analysis of the situation, he said. The transition should aim to restore State authority over the national territory, he said, adding that France was preparing a draft resolution on extending MONUC’s mandate, which was due to expire on 31 May.
Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. Araud said the discussions with the Congolese authorities had been carried out in an open manner. Although the Congolese authorities were considering MONUC’s departure, they had not presented an ultimatum. A basis for dialogue between the Council and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had been laid, he added.
The meeting started at 11:42 a.m. and ended at 11:50 a.m.
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