|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7045th Meeting (AM)
Security Council Members Deliver Briefings on Four-leg Mission to Boost
Support for Kampala Peace Process in Great Lakes Region
Representatives of the four countries that led the Security Council’s recent mission to Africa’s Great Lakes region briefed the 15-member body today, underscoring the need for continued progress in the Kampala peace process and showcasing their support for the United Nations-brokered peace accord to stabilize the volatile area.
The official visit, from 4 to 8 October, took Council members to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia. France and Morocco co-led the first leg, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Goma and Kinshasa), while Azerbaijan and Rwanda led the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, leg. The United States led the Rwanda leg ( Kigali), while the United Kingdom and Togo co-led in Uganda ( Kampala).
Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco) said the visit had taken place in an “ideal” context, following the February 2013 signing of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement — also known as the Addis Ababa Agreement — by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 10 other countries and four international and regional organizations. Before landing in Africa, the Council had stopped in Brussels to meet the European Union Political and Security Committee on events in the Great Lakes region, including security sector reform.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Council members had met with the President, as well as the Prime Minister, and the Ministers for the Interior, Defence and Justice, he said. They had also met with the Presidents of the Senate and House of Representatives, and with the Head of the Independent Electoral Commission. The meetings had yielded some 200 recommendations. On 6 October, they had travelled to Goma, the site of clashes between the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and elements of the 23 March Movement (M23) armed group. They had later met with the Government of North Kivu and civil society representatives, as well as internally displaced persons.
Throughout their time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he continued, the Council had stressed the need to implement reforms, restore State authority, and focus on national reconciliation, security sector reform and economic governance. Security sector reform was particularly crucial, because it would allow the Congolese authorities to ensure territorial integrity. Council members had encouraged stepped-up efforts in that regard during their meeting with the Ministers for Defence and Justice.
More broadly, he said peace would remain impossible amid insecurity in the east, noting that the immediate goal should be to end attacks against civilians. The Congolese authorities had presented updates on the Kampala peace process, expressing hope that agreement would be reached and previous errors around the issues of amnesty and reintegration prevented. In all meetings, the Council had underlined the importance of fighting impunity, especially in relation to sexual violence.
Mark Lyall Grant ( United Kingdom), said the trip had provided the opportunity for a detailed exchange with the President of Uganda and other senior officials on the “strategic opportunity” to bring peace and stability to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the wider region. Expressing appreciation for the President’s role in promoting regional relations and dialogue, the Council had heard his concerns, including on armed groups, he said, noting that the continuing threat posed by different armed groups testified to the regional nature of the crisis.
He went on to say that the President had provided an update on the status of the Kampala talks between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and M23, while stressing the importance of aligning national, regional and international efforts for peace. For its part, the Council had reassured the President that it had conveyed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo the urgent need for internal reforms. Furthermore, members had urged the President to use his influence on regional signatories of the Framework Agreement. The exchange of views had provided an opportunity to underline Uganda’s role in building peace and stability in the region by fostering the Kampala talks and, over the long term, ensuring full implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreement.
Eugène-Richard Gasana ( Rwanda) said the trip to Addis Ababa had been aimed at enhancing cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations. On 8 October, the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council had held their seventh annual joint consultative meeting, during which they had discussed six agenda items: the Great Lakes region; Sudan and South Sudan; Somalia; Central African Republic; the Sahel; and enhancing the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations.
Generally, both Councils had agreed on the problems in their relationship, and on ways to bring peace to conflict-affected countries. They had adopted a joint communiqué stressing the need for an enhanced partnership at strategic and other levels to ensure a more effective response to evolving challenges in Africa. They had also agreed that they would convene their eighth meeting in June 2014. The Council had concluded its mission with a meeting with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chair of the African Union, to discuss peace and security on the continent.
Jeffrey DeLaurentis ( United States) said the Council mission had begun its visit to Rwanda on 7 October at a demobilization centre in Mutobo, where it had heard testimonials from former fighters trying to reintegrate. The ex-combatants had spoken about the difficulties and hard choices they faced, and the threats of retaliation by the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda armed group.
In Kigali, the mission had toured the children’s wing of the genocide memorial, a poignant reminder of the Council’s failure to act during the 1994 horror, he said. Council members had emphasized that Rwanda now had an opportunity to spread the peace it had achieved across the Great Lakes region. In meetings with Ministers and senior officials in charge of intelligence and economic planning, the mission had held comprehensive discussions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the wider region. The Rwandan Foreign Minister had assured them of her Government’s readiness to be a full partner in the quest for sustainable peace.
For its part, the Council mission had emphasized that MONUSCO’s mandate was to neutralize all armed groups, which was a prerequisite for the full implementation of the regional peace framework. Thus, countries in the region should neither tolerate nor support militia or other armed forces. In a meeting with the President of Rwanda, the mission had urged him to use his influence with the M23 group to foster the Kampala Dialogue. The President had questioned whether the causes of the current conflict were properly understood. Overall, the visit had provided the opportunity for a “very constructive” exchange of views on ways to achieve sustainable peace, he said.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 10:26 a.m.
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