|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6928th Meeting* (PM)
Secretary-General Urges Special ‘Intervention Brigades’ within United Nations
Organization Stabilization Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo
Signing Regional Peace, Security Framework
Accord ‘a Beginning Not an End’, He Stresses in Briefing to Security Council
Looking to bolster the new regional accord for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the Security Council to create a special “intervention brigade” within the existing United Nations peacekeeping operation to combat rebel groups destabilizing the county’s eastern region.
In a briefing to the Council, the Secretary-General laid out his plans to support the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region, signed by leaders of 11 African Governments on 24 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Witnessing the signing as one of the accord’s co-guarantors, Mr. Ban said it presented a “historic opportunity” for the countries of the region to respect the integrity of their neighbours and urged them to “neither tolerate nor provide support for armed groups”.
He reminded the Council that the mutiny sparked by the 23 March Movement rebel group in April 2012 had brought yet another wave of misery to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Countless innocent men, women and children had suffered horrendous acts of violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, abductions and summary executions. While the fighting had ended, “the security situation remains fragile and demands urgent actions”, the Secretary-General stressed.
As such, he said that the intervention brigade, outlined in greater detail in his Special Report on the region (document S/2013/119), would have the ability to conduct offensive operations against all armed groups threatening peace in the east, with or without the Congolese national army (FARDC). That enforcement capacity, which regional actors had initially called for, sought to address imminent threats to stability and would provide the most appropriate response to the active conflict environment in which the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) had been operating.
“This intervention brigade will be tasked with containing the expansion of both Congolese and foreign armed groups, neutralizing these groups and disarming them,” the Secretary-General continued, stressing that it would provide MONUSCO with much-needed capacity and that the Secretariat was now consulting with the Mission’s current troop contributors, as well as potential contributors to the brigade, to prepare for the latter’s rapid deployment, should the Council approve it. “I call on the Security Council to authorize the deployment of this brigade and provide it with the necessary backing,” he said.
“All of us understand that signing the Framework is a beginning, not an end,” the Secretary-General continued. “Implementation is essential, and innovative national and regional oversight mechanisms have been included in the Framework.” Underscoring the importance of developing multi-track action plans with benchmarks to ensure that progress could be measured, he said the regional oversight mechanism had the format of a peer review, comprising as it did the Framework’s 11+4 signatories. It would meet twice a year at the highest level to review the progress of implementation, he added.
To further bolster the political objectives of the Framework, he announced plans to appoint a Special Envoy, who, together with concerned stakeholders, would support its implementation. Yet, Secretary-General Ban stressed that effective implementation of commitments and oversight mechanisms would require long-term efforts by the international community, including the Security Council. Moreover, structural reforms in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and regional commitments would need sustained international support and heightened attention. The Council should monitor closely the progress made in implementing the Framework’s provisions, he said, stressing: “Commitments must be translated into results.”
Before concluding, the Secretary-General said the latest crisis in North Kivu Province had forced 900,000 civilians from their homes, bringing the total number of internally displaced persons in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to 2.6 million. They deserved to live normal lives and not be subjected to rape, abductions, exactions, fear or worse, he emphasized. “We owe them our best efforts to tackle the root causes of their insecurity.” Noting that 11 Heads of State and Government had proclaimed their commitment to unite for that cause, he called on the Council to support them. “Let us offer the people of the [ Democratic Republic of the Congo] not only hope, but a concrete engagement for the peace and stability they have so long deserved.”
Ignace Gata Mavita wa Lufuta (Democratic Republic of Congo) then took the floor and acknowledged the Secretary-General’s personal involvement in the search for lasting peace and security in his country. While highlighting the success of joint MONUSCO-FARDC military operations in reducing the menace to the population, he said “the language of weapons and violence” had resurfaced after attacks carried out by M23 in North Kivu. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, therefore, welcomed the 24 February signing of the Framework agreement, he said, acknowledging that it was based on a strategy put forth by the Secretary-General.
The creation of the intervention brigade would have a significant impact on the capacity of MONUSCO, he continued. “The new mandate will be much more robust than traditional peacekeeping.” The Congolese Government had renewed its commitment to reforming its security sector, promoting economic development, providing basic services and democratization, among other things. The special report before the Council proposed measures to be taken at the national, regional and international levels, he said, adding that his delegation supported them.
Recalling that MONUSCO Chief Roger Meece had expressed concern about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the country during a recent briefing, he said “time is ripe” to strengthen the Mission’s mandate. He went on to request the Secretary-General to list prerequisites for the rapid deployment of the intervention brigade and the appointment of a Special Envoy.
While calling on the Council to take the urgency of the matter into account and authorize changes to the MONUSCO mandate as soon as possible, he also urged countries of the Great Lakes region to adhere to the principles of non-interference and respect for State sovereignty, and to refrain from providing weapons to armed groups in his country. He concluded, reminding Council members that 8 million people had been killed over 15 years of successive wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 3:24 p.m.
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