Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Said Djinnit, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, to the regional oversight mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region, in Luanda today:
I am pleased to send greetings to the seventh meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region. I thank His Excellency President José Eduardo dos Santos and the Government of Angola for hosting.
In February 2013, the signatory countries demonstrated commendable vision and leadership in signing this historic agreement. It is my hope that today’s meeting will reenergize the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework and strengthen ownership by its signatory Governments. It remains the most appropriate mechanism to promote peace, stability and sustainable development in the region.
Important advances have been made in implementing the commitments under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework. I welcome the steady progress being achieved in regional integration and economic development. However, major security challenges remain. Continuing atrocities by the Allied Democratic Forces, in the Beni area of North Kivu, are an outrage. Also, although weakened, the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda remain a threat to civilians. Finally, ex-M23 elements in Rwanda and Uganda have yet to be repatriated or resettled in third countries. All these issues require collective resolve and urgent action.
I invite the distinguished participants in today’s meeting to agree on tangible steps to accelerate the disarmament and demobilization of all armed groups still active in the region and to implement sustainable solutions that will benefit former combatants and their communities. I also ask you to act decisively to help resolve the crisis in Burundi and strengthen stabilization efforts in the Central African Republic and in South Sudan.
I am troubled by the tense political climate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I urge the Government to continue to engage with all political stakeholders, including those who reject the recent round of talks and the resultant agreement, and to take additional confidence-building measures. I also call on political groups that were not part of the political dialogue to play a constructive role in promoting peaceful and credible elections.
Finally, I am pleased to note the progress achieved on the women's platform of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework and the efforts being made to ensure that women's voices are heard and that women play a significant role in governance and peace processes in the region. I encourage continued efforts in this regard in line with Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and existing regional instruments.
This gathering has immense importance for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region. I wish you a successful and productive meeting. The United Nations remains committed to assisting your efforts in support of peace, security, human rights and sustainable development.