Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan among Countries Cited in Briefing
Concerted efforts would be needed to avert any reversal of the commendable gains achieved in Africa’s Great Lakes region thus far, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy told the Security Council today.
Special Envoy Said Djinnit was briefing the Council on the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region (Framework Agreement), and on the high-level meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism, held in Luanda, Angola, on 26 October. Signatories of the Framework Agreement had made efforts to implement their commitments despite outstanding challenges, including the continuing activities of negative forces in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, he noted.
Among efforts to tackle that problem, he continued, were enhanced joint operations by that country’s armed forces and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) against the Forces démocratique de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Representatives of the guarantor institutions of the Framework Agreement — the United Nations, African Union, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) — had initiated regional consultations in support of efforts to neutralize the negative forces, he said, adding that efforts had also been undertaken to establish the Joint Follow-Up Mechanism to address the growing threat posed by the ADF.
He went on to state that progress had also been made in strengthening judicial cooperation in the region and in investigating and prosecuting violations of human rights, including sexual and gender-based violence. Support for women, youth and civil society had been among the most important objectives, as demonstrated by the convening of a meeting of the Women’s Platform of the Framework Agreement, in Goma on 12 July. Considerable efforts had been made to promote inclusive dialogue.
Last week’s high-level meeting of the regional oversight mechanism in Luanda, Angola, had reviewed and endorsed the progress report on the implementation of commitments under the Framework Agreement, he said, adding that participants had discussed challenges to dialogue and electoral processes in the region. On 18 October, the regional oversight mechanism had welcomed the signing of the Comprehensive Political Agreement on the organization of peaceful, credible and transparent elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He called upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue to engage with all political stakeholders — including those who had rejected the recent round of talks and the resultant agreement — and to undertake additional confidence-building measures. The regional oversight mechanism had also called upon all Burundians to seek peaceful solutions in addressing grievances and to commit to inclusive dialogue, he said.
The high-level meeting had also discussed the conflict situations in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, he continued. It had recognized that the presence of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) elements in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo could exacerbate existing tensions and the security situation in that country. The meeting had also welcomed efforts by the Government of the Central African Republic to promote reconciliation and called on all armed groups to engage in dialogue with national authorities. Furthermore, regional leaders had encouraged efforts aimed at promoting the role of women in peace and development processes.
Following the briefing, Uruguay’s representative paid tribute to the Framework Agreement’s signatories for their efforts to implement the accord and their recognition of the significant political, security and humanitarian challenges that still faced the region. He emphasized, in that regard, the importance of inclusive and open dialogue that recognized fundamental rights and freedoms and the need for international assistance, and reiterated the need to respect national sovereignty and avoid preferential treatment of any party.
He concluded by expressing, on the occasion of the International Day of Journalists, Uruguay’s solidarity with those who performed that critical work.
The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 10:27 a.m.