Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

24 February 2013

Secretary-General's Remarks at High-Level Meeting for the Signing Ceremony of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for attending this high-level meeting.
I have been deeply disturbed by the violence that erupted in April last year in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the wake of the mutiny against the Congolese Army.

The civilian population in the affected areas endured terrible suffering as a result. The numbers of displaced persons grew by the hundreds of thousands, and innocent people were – and still are – subjected to horrendous acts of violence, including rapes and summary executions. The perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice.

I convened a high-level meeting on the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in New York in September to help advance our common goal of finding a durable solution to the crisis. The outcome of the meeting was that further efforts were required to address the structural causes of the situation.

Either in person or through some of my senior advisers, I have remained in contact with the leaders of the region and other key partners. Together, we joined our efforts to seek a solution to address the underlying causes of the conflict. We agreed that military action alone would not bring about a peaceful solution to the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. We can only put an end to recurring cycles of violence through an innovative approach addressing the broader security situation with all relevant partners. Last month, in the margins of the African Union summit, we agreed that further consultations would reinforce these efforts.

Today, I am very pleased to announce that as a result of these consultations, eleven countries are about to sign a document to be formally known as the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.

The Framework builds on the laudable initiatives of the region. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all regional partners for their contributions to resolving the crisis.

Together with the Chairpersons of the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and the Southern African Development Community, I will sign the Framework and act as a guarantor of this long-term engagement. The United Nations will remain closely committed to accompanying the implementation of this Framework.

Distinguished representatives,

This signing ceremony is a significant event in itself. But it is only the beginning of a comprehensive approach that will require sustained engagement. The Framework before you outlines commitments and oversight mechanisms which aim at addressing key national and regional issues.

Au niveau national, le Gouvernement de la République démocratique du Congo s’engage à mener certaines grandes réformes internes. Monsieur le Président Kabila, vous devrez jouer un rôle moteur pour que les réformes progressent résolument. L’ONU est prête à vous prêter son concours.

Je me félicite également que les chefs d’État de la région des Grands Lacs se soient engagés à respecter la souveraineté et l’intégrité territoriale des pays voisins, à renforcer l’intégration économique régionale et à ne tolérer ni à aider ou soutenir d’aucune façon quelque groupe armé que ce soit.

The regional oversight mechanism needs support at the highest political and diplomatic level. I call upon the concerned heads of State and Government to meet at least twice a year, on the sidelines of the AU Summits and in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, to review progress on the implementation of the Framework and agree on the way forward.

Distinguished representatives,

National and regional stakeholders need the engagement of the international community to support their efforts. I therefore call for your sustained political, technical and financial support, especially over the long-term, to accompany the implementation of the national and regional commitments outlined in the Framework. Your active participation in the national and regional oversight mechanisms will also be essential for the success of the process.

The situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo must remain a top priority on the international agenda.

I will soon announce the appointment of a Special Envoy. Together with stakeholders concerned, that individual, that Special Envoy, will support the implementation of the Framework, including through the establishment of benchmarks to measure and ensure progress at the national and regional levels.

My Special Report on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region will be issued in the coming days. It will outline my proposal for a new comprehensive approach to addressing the underlying causes of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region, which encompasses the various components of the Framework but also a strengthened political and security role for MONUSCO, including the deployment of an Intervention Brigade with a peace enforcement mandate. Countries of the region have committed to putting in motion this Brigade.

It is my earnest hope that the Framework will lead to an era of peace and stability for the peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region.

Thank you.