Just a quick update on the Democratic Republic of the Congo: the UN Mission there (MONUSCO) reports that the situation remains relatively calm.
Ahead of the declaration of the provisional results, the UN Mission continued to provide its good offices by meeting with key stakeholders and to try to defuse tensions in line with its mandate.
The Mission also continues to monitor the situation and follow closely developments in the country.
You will have seen that last night - late last night - we issued a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General in which the Secretary-General said that he took note of the announcement made by the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) on the provisional results of the presidential elections, and commended the Congolese people and political actors for the conduct of the presidential, national and provincial legislative elections, which saw a broad and inclusive participation of political parties.
The Secretary-General calls on all stakeholders to refrain from violence and to channel any eventual electoral disputes through the established institutional mechanisms in line with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Constitution and electoral laws.
The Secretary-General expressed the hope that the Independent Electoral Commission, the Constitutional Court, the Government, political parties and civil society will each live up to their responsibility in preserving stability and upholding the democratic practices of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Secretary-General further reiterates the continued support and commitment of the United Nations, in collaboration with regional actors and international partners, for the consolidation of peace, stability and development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, briefed the Security Council this morning.
He noted the progress made in democratic consolidation in the region, despite persisting security challenges. In the past six months, he said, presidential elections were successfully organized in Mali, regional and parliamentary elections were held in Mauritania and Togo respectively, and local elections were organized in Côte d’Ivoire.
But he said that there is a need for continuous efforts to address the contentious issues around elections. This is even more important because over the next six months, the region will see several high-stake elections in Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania and Benin.
On the final day of the joint UN-African Union visit in Central African Republic today, the Under-Secretary General for Peace Operation, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, reiterated the UN’s full support to the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the country.
Speaking to the press a bit earlier today in Bangui, together with Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Mr. Lacroix called on all Central Africans to commit to dialogue and reconciliation in order for the country to move away from violence and regain its position as a regional player.
Mr. Lacroix welcomed the Central African authorities’ and all stakeholders’ commitment to support the African Initiative, in partnership with neighboring countries, ahead of the AU brokered dialogue between the Government and armed groups that will take place in the Sudan.
He also warned that those who continue to use violence against the civilian population, UN and humanitarian personnel will be held accountable.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, expressed grave concern following the upsurge in violence in the country’s north-east that has led to massive displacement.
In a statement he issued, he said the fighting had created “a humanitarian tragedy”.
According to our colleagues at OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), some 260 aid workers have been withdrawn from areas impacted by the conflict since last November, hampering the delivery of humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of needy people.
While some aid workers have started to return, insecurity is preventing a return to normal humanitarian activities.
Lastly, Major General Stefano Del Col, the Force Commander of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), today chaired the first regular Tripartite meeting of 2019 with senior officers from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). And that took place at the UN position in Ras Al Naqoura. The discussions focused on -- regarding tunnels and ongoing engineering works near the Blue Line.
The meeting offered a forum to hear perspectives from both sides, especially regarding activities near the Blue Line, with UNIFIL’s Head of Mission reiterating his call to the parties to continue to work through the mission’s coordination mechanisms to maintain overall stability along the Blue Line.
The parties were updated about UNIFIL’s independent investigation that had confirmed the existence of four tunnels, of which two crossed the Blue Line in violation of Security Council [Resolution] 1701 (2006). UNIFIL remains closely engaged with both sides in this regard as the operations continue.
Tripartite discussions also touched upon air and ground violations, and other issues having to do with resolution 1701.