New York

6 September 2013

Note to Correspondents on Peace efforts for the Great Lakes region of Africa

The Spokesperson has the following update:

A joint mission of United Nations, African Union, European Union and United States envoys for the Great Lakes Region of Africa visited today the eastern city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), continuing a joint tour of the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, aimed at shoring up peace efforts for the eastern DRC and the region. 

At the conclusion of the visit, they departed Goma for the Rwandan capital of Kigali.

While in Goma, the envoys received a military briefing from the Force Intervention Brigade of the UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, met with the Governor of North Kivu province, visited the Mugunga camp for internally displaced persons on the outskirts of Goma, and were briefed on humanitarian issues.

The delegation expressed a unified front on the challenges facing the DRC and emphasized the importance of tackling the issues of armed groups in the region including the immediate threat as a result of the presence of M23. They commended MONUSCO Force for its support given to the Congolese army (FARDC) in recent successful military operations, while emphasizing that overall, lasting solutions must come through a political process.

Speaking to reporters in Goma, Mary Robinson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, said that peace talks currently underway should not result in impunity, and stressed the importance of political solutions.

“We will not repeat the past mistakes, we believe that they should not be amnesty for those accused of having committed serious crimes, nor should they be integrated in the armed forces of the DRC,” Mrs. Robinson said. 

“The international community represented here must contemplate a holistic approach of resolving this conflict, the military approach when necessary and the political approach that can yield a lasting and durable impact for the region,” Mrs. Robinson added.

Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the DRC and head of MONUSCO expressed satisfaction that the decision of the Heads of State meeting in a summit yesterday in Kampala of the ICGLR to include MONUSCO as a key player in the Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM), a mechanism set up by countries of the region (members of the ICGLR) to monitor their common borders, comprising senior military officers from all 11 members of the ICGLR. Mr. Kobler said this will enhance the mechanism's ability to verify and be able to ascertain facts expeditiously.