The situation in Africa Briefing by His Excellency Mr. Frederick J. T. Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia
|President:||Mr. van Walsum
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Qin Huasun
|Sir Jeremy Greenstock
At the outset of the meeting, I should like to acknowledge and welcome the presence at the Council table of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, Shaikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa; the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, The Honourable Herb Grey; the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, Mr. Jean Ping; and the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, Mr. Peter Hain.
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Africa
Briefing by His Excellency Mr. Frederick J. T. Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, I request the Chief of Protocol to escort His Excellency Mr. Frederick J. T. Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia, to a seat at the Council table.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
At this meeting the Security Council will hear a briefing by Mr. Frederick J. T. Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia.
I should like to recall that it is my understanding that members of the Council may wish to put questions to President Chiluba after his briefing.
I give the floor to Mr. Frederick J. T. Chiluba, President of the Republic of Zambia.
First of all I would like to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of September. I also wish to express Zambia’s appreciation for the support that your country, through the European Union, has rendered to the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
It is a great honour and pleasure for me to address the Security Council this afternoon, for I come as the bearer of a message of hope and peace from the people of the Great Lakes region in general and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular. This is a region that in recent times has been ravaged by wars in which thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands of others have been made homeless and forced to flee to neighbouring countries. Among the worst hit recently is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been at war since August 1998. I am, however, pleased to report that after a full year of mediation by Governments of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the combatants in the Congo have chosen the way of peace to resolve their differences. As a result, guns are falling silent. The carnage is coming to an end. There is now hope for peace in the Congo.
When the rebellion started in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 2 August 1998, heads of State of the region and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) immediately undertook efforts aimed at finding a speedy and peaceful settlement to the conflict. Among these efforts were the first Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, summit of 7 and 8 August 1998; the Pretoria, South Africa, Southern African Development Community summit of 23 August 1998; the Durban, South Africa, regional leaders’ consultations of 3 September 1998; and the second Victoria Falls summit of 7 and 8 September 1998.
The heads of State realized that the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had both an internal and an external dimension to it. Its resolution would, therefore, have to take into account both dimensions as a matter of necessity. To this end, the regional heads of State agreed upon the following five basic principles as the basis of the solution to the conflict: an immediate cessation of hostilities; respect for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the withdrawal of foreign forces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the need to address the security concerns of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and those of the neighbouring countries; and the need to broaden the political space in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and facilitate an internal political dialogue which would take into account the interests of all Congolese people.
At the second Victoria Falls summit, I was mandated to chair the regional mediation effort and was assisted in this regard by the OAU, SADC and the United Nations. It was recognized at the Summit that there was a need to engage the Congolese rebel movement in the mediation process if it was to succeed. To this effect, a proximity mechanism was established comprising Zambia as Chairman and the OAU Secretary-General. Also at the meeting, the Heads of State charged their Ministers of Defence and military experts to meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the headquarters of the OAU, to work out a draft ceasefire agreement and modalities for implementing the agreement and to suggest a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the ceasefire. The meeting in Addis Ababa took place from 10 to 12 September 1998.
A number of meetings to negotiate and finalize the draft documents were subsequently held in Lusaka, chaired by Zambia and comprising officials and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence of States parties to the conflict, namely, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe, as well as the OAU, SADC and, of course, the United Nations. The Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), which was the only non-State party at the time, was consulted through the proximity mechanism, which had been enlarged at this stage to include Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania. As Chairman of the mediation process, I undertook numerous consultations in Zambia and outside, with leaders of the region, in an effort to harmonize the different positions of the parties. The consultations took cognizance of the two dimensions to the conflict: the internal aspect of the rebellion and the external aspect addressing security concerns, particularly those of Rwanda and Uganda.
In order to ensure that both dimensions of the conflict were addressed, the regional ministerial meeting which was held in Lusaka on 15 and 16 January 1999 established two working groups of experts. The first, comprising the belligerents, the United Nations, the OAU and SADC and chaired by Zambia, considered the three documents drafted in Addis Ababa. The second working group, also chaired by Zambia, addressed the issue of the security concerns of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and of neighbouring countries.
The documents were subjected to considerable scrutiny and consultations in order to obtain the necessary concessions and eventual agreement. Let me at this stage acknowledge the magnanimity of President Laurent-Desiré Kabila, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose support contributed in no small measure to facilitating the peace process.
From March 1999 on, the Congolese rebels were directly involved in the negotiations. On 7 July 1999, after an intensive two weeks of meetings of officials and representatives of the two Congolese rebel groups, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) and the RCD, the regional Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence finally adopted agreed texts of the Ceasefire Agreement; the modalities for the implementation of the Agreement; and the calendar for implementation. The Agreement and the modalities also incorporated methods for addressing the security concerns of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighbouring countries.
On 10 July 1999, six Heads of State of States parties to the conflict appended their signatures to the Agreement at a signing ceremony held in Lusaka. Unfortunately, due to differences within the RCD over who should represent it, the movement did not append its signature on that occasion. The differences over representation came in the aftermath of a reported split of the RCD into two factions in May 1999. The MLC also elected not to sign the Agreement then.
I was entrusted by regional Heads of State to undertake further consultations with the two groups in order to reach an understanding that would enable them to sign the Agreement. These consultations, which I carried out with the assistance of other regional leaders, yielded positive results when, on 1 August 1999, Mr. Jean-Pierre Bemba, leader of the MLC, signed the Agreement on behalf of his group. With regard to the RCD, a unique formula was found involving the signing of the Agreement by 50 founding members of the movement.
The signing of the Agreement by the RCD, which took place in Lusaka on 31 August 1999, effectively meant, and means, that the mandate entrusted to Zambia in September 1998 had come to an end and been fulfilled. The Agreement came into full force 24 hours after the last signatures, and so far, the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission established by the Agreement have already commenced their work. To this effect, the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission met in Lusaka on 2 and 3 September 1999. The meetings were attended by representatives of all the belligerents to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, except the MLC, whose representatives had been unable to travel to Lusaka due to logistical constraints. Initially the meeting had difficulties relating to representation of the two factions of the RCD, on the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission. I am pleased to inform the Council that the meetings found a formula which allowed the participation of both factions.
At these meetings of the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission, the appointment of General Rachid Lallali, an Algerian national, as Chairman of the Joint Military Commission, was endorsed. The representative of the OAU also briefed the meeting on the activities of the OAU regarding the organization’s support to the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Other issues considered included the budget of the Joint Military Commission; the structures; and the programme of work.
Furthermore, the meetings accorded Zambia permanent observer status in both the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission. My country’s association with the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is therefore continuing.
The holding of meetings by the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission soon after the last signatures were obtained from the RCD is a clear indication that the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has begun in earnest. I am pleased to report that the parties to the Ceasefire Agreement have so far complied with the Agreement, which can be said to be generally holding.
I am confident that, with the support of the international community, the implementation process will proceed smoothly. The fact that the Ceasefire Agreement was signed as a result of extensive consultations between the conflicting parties themselves should serve as a guarantee to security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This, in my opinion, means that no one, including the United Nations, could have any security concerns or fears in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I wish to take this opportunity to commend the United Nations for its participation at all the stages of the mediation process and for the supportive role it gave from the time the mediation process started. We welcome further the quick reaction by the United Nations in sending a team of military liaison personnel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and some neighbouring countries. This action confirms the firm commitment of the United Nations to ensuring that peace obtains in that country. It is our sincere hope that other phases with regard to deployment of United Nations personnel, including the sending of a technical survey team to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will also be undertaken soon.
While we acknowledge the need for Africa to take responsibility for its own problems, we also recognize that the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security lies with the United Nations Security Council. It is with this in mind that I wish to appeal to this body to send a peacekeeping force to the Democratic Republic of the Congo with an appropriate mandate and size to tackle the complex and unique problems in that country.
The ceasefire agreement prescribes tasks to be tackled by the United Nations peacekeeping force that include disarmament of Congolese non-statutory forces, as well as foreign militias who will require relocation, reorientation and reintegration into their respective societies. It is, therefore, clear that the tasks of the peacekeeping operation go beyond Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter.
With the foregoing, it is obvious that cost should not be placed above everything else when determining the mandate and size of the peacekeeping force. I have, however, noted with disappointment that whenever the international community is dealing with issues pertaining to Africa cost is always the determining factor and almost an obstacle to the effective involvement of the United Nations. In other regions of the world where conflicts have occurred no expense has been spared in the pursuit of peace. This body needs to do the same now for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and for Africa.
Now that the implementation of the agreement has started in earnest, I wish to appeal to the United Nations to make generous contributions towards meeting the humanitarian needs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hundreds of thousands of Congolese people today are living as refugees in temporary and inadequate shelters in neighbouring countries. Within the Democratic Republic of the Congo itself many more people have been displaced. They have been subjected to unbearable suffering and indignity. The international community should ensure that the suffering of our Congolese brothers and sisters living as refugees is reduced by making available adequate resources to enable them to return and resettle in their own country.
In summary, I wish to request the Security Council to, among other things: first, authorize and support the deployment of a peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with an appropriate mandate and size, based on the assessed needs on the ground; secondly, quickly dispatch the technical survey team to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in addition to the team of military liaison personnel which has already been sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and some neighbouring countries; thirdly, make available adequate resources for the Democratic Republic of the Congo peacekeeping mission; fourthly, extend necessary and adequate support to facilitate the process of internal Congolese dialogue; fifthly, help in the mobilization of humanitarian assistance to Congolese refugees and internally displaced persons and facilitate their return and resettlement; and, finally, assist with resources for the economic reconstruction and development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
There is, regrettably, a perception that the United Nations, and in particular the Security Council, is usually a bit slow and reluctant to support peace efforts in Africa. The body is seen to be more forthcoming when dealing with peace efforts in other regions, even though Africa forms the largest component of the membership of the United Nations. I therefore hope that the Security Council will act with due proportion and understanding in dealing with the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I thank the President of the Republic of Zambia for his important briefing and for his kind words addressed to me.
I now open the floor to Council members who may wish to put a question to President Chiluba or comment on his statement.
I would like at the outset to express my thanks and appreciation to His Excellency President Frederick Chiluba for his valuable and detailed briefing on the situation in Africa, a topic of great concern for the Security Council. I would also like to thank the Gabonese Republic for its part in the invitation to His Excellency to participate in this meeting.
Bahrain fully appreciates the efforts and the good mediation efforts of President Chiluba to restore peace and security to different regions of the African continent. I would like to mention in particular the recent mediation efforts that he made to settle the problem of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was crowned with the Lusaka agreement. Signed by the parties to the conflict, it aims at consolidating national reconciliation. In this respect, we hope that all parties to the conflict will be committed to the agreement, since there is no alternative to it. We hope that the parties will implement it in full without delay so that peace and stability can be restored to that region.
We look forward to the Council’s focusing its attention in the coming days on alleviating tensions in Africa. We hope that the Council will redouble its efforts to implement practical measures to settle disputes and to restore stability to this continent, which has long been torn by political and military strife. The time has come for the international community to find suitable solutions to the strife in Africa. The international community must put an end to all new crises. It must also work to allow the African States to focus on developing their economies and exploiting their national and human resources so that they can face the challenges of the coming century.
We also call upon the international community to redouble its support for humanitarian efforts aimed at providing the assistance necessary to alleviate the suffering of the displaced and the refugees among the civilians who were the victims of the military conflict. This must take place in the context of the valuable proposals made by the President in his important statement to the Council.
Mr. President, I would like to thank you for the opportunity the Security Council has had to listen to President Chiluba. We are particularly pleased that this discussion is taking place in an open meeting of the Council. It is important that the broader community of members of the United Nations should be able to hear the opinions of key participants on important questions on the Council’s agenda.
We join our colleagues in praising all of those who contributed to the attainment of the ceasefire agreement. President Chiluba and the Government of Zambia deserve special recognition for their efforts.
For several years now, Zambia and President Chiluba in particular have been playing a very important and laudable role in the southern African peace process.
The peace accord is enormously good news for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and, of course, was warmly received as such within the Security Council. It is of vital importance for the achievement of stability in Central and southern Africa. The peace accord must now be translated into fact, and the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will, of course, have the key role to play. Canada strongly encourages all Congolese to participate fully in the national dialogue.
The international community, including the United Nations and the Security Council, also have an important contribution to make. Indeed, the Agreement calls for a substantial peacekeeping role. We encourage the Secretary-General to keep the Council closely apprised of the progress of his contingency planning and, indeed, of his thoughts on possible options for United Nations support in the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement. Among the early challenges the international community will need to address is how to assist with the return and reintegration of nearly 700,000 people internally displaced, and the return home of an estimated 300,000 who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
Right now it is critical that safe and unhindered access for humanitarian personnel be guaranteed so that it might be possible to begin to meet the needs of affected populations. It will also be important for the international community to focus attention on the promotion of human rights, including through the efforts of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the demobilization of soldiers, particularly the many children among them.
I would very much welcome President Chiluba’s further views as to the time-frame for the deployment of a peacekeeping operation. That is, when does President Chiluba believe that the deployment of peacekeepers will become both feasible and necessary?
I wish to convey France’s deep appreciation to President Chiluba of Zambia for his tireless efforts to bring about a peace Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Security Council and the United Nations at large frequently invoke the primary responsibility of regional organizations; this pertains especially to Africa. There, a regional organization, the Southern African Development Community, along with the President of Zambia have shouldered their full responsibility to ensure agreement among the parties to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Security Council has duly recognized the significance of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement.
But along with the responsibility borne by Africa, the Security Council and the United Nations have their own ways and means of supporting African efforts, in particular those of President Chiluba of Zambia. Soon after the signing of the Lusaka Agreement, the Security Council adopted a resolution. Now, that resolution must be implemented. The United Nations has already sent liaison personnel to the capitals of the signatories and to the headquarters of the Joint Military Commission. That was but the first stage; as President Chiluba said, we must very soon be in a position to deploy a survey mission to make sure that we are able to contemplate the next stage, that of dispatching ceasefire monitors, and to begin actively to consider a third stage, as desired by President Chiluba: the deployment of a true peacekeeping force.
As far as France is concerned, President Jacques Chirac said at the end of August and the Prime Minister, Mr. Lionel Jospin, reaffirmed to the General Assembly yesterday that France is ready to lend its full support to such a peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We agree with President Chiluba that it is good that the Security Council has been able speedily to take action on crises such as those in Kosovo and East Timor. But at the same time, the Council must be prepared and able to act just as quickly with respect to conflicts in Africa.
I have a question for President Chiluba. Now that the Joint Military Commission has been established, and now that all the parties have named their representatives to it, is the Commission able to begin verifying information according to which troop movements continue in some parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which could have implications for the full implementation of the Lusaka Agreement?
I too would like to express our gratitude to His Excellency President Chiluba for coming to the Council and giving us an interesting briefing concentrating on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but also drawing attention to the need for the Council to pay special attention to what is going on in Africa at the moment and to how the Council can contribute.
We too would like to congratulate President Chiluba on the role that he has played in leading a number of African leaders to address directly the problem of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and on carrying out personal diplomacy at a high level and of a high quality.
The Lusaka process is the basis of what the Security Council will now wish to do on the problem of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. President Chiluba has set out for us a number of interesting proposals, which we already had in our minds, on what the next step should be. I am sure that the Council is going to consider these. As an example of the interest of members of the Council, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of the French Republic had a private meeting yesterday at which they agreed that the area of the Great Lakes was of high importance to their two countries together. In the joint approach that the United Kingdom and France are taking to Africa, we will be contributing to the further evolution of a solution to the problems of the region.
But President Chiluba has with justification pointed out that the Security Council has not often been either swift or successful in addressing the conflicts of Africa. I want to say to President Chiluba and to all our African friends that there is not a lack of willingness by the Council to address the problems of Africa or to get to grips with the problems of Africa. There is a need to work with the leaders of Africa and to have a structure to what we are doing in addressing the problems of Africa. It is a vast continent with a variety of different problems in its various regions. And the approach of African leaders themselves is not always united across the whole continent.
The Security Council has to take account of the realities of what we are doing. If we are to have a peacekeeping force or a coordinated operation on a problem like that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we need to know what we are getting into, what we are going to do and what the countries of the region are going to contribute. And our parliaments and our peoples will want to know what the resource costs are going to be and when we will be able to finish our work and hand the responsibility back to the leaders of the area. So there are practical and pragmatic considerations that we have to consider, as well as giving expression to our wish to see the continent of Africa more at peace, seeking greater prosperity — with success — and better able to manage its own affairs.
In the light of that, and looking at the next steps regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I would like to add to President Chiluba’s list of questions a couple of others. First of all, we need to make sure that the parties to the conflict stick to their guns, are going to stay in the committees, are going to live up to their public and expressed and political obligations. Is there a role that President Chiluba thinks that outside players, particularly the Security Council, can play in keeping all the parties to the Agreement to their responsibilities? And does he want to see constant action from outside the continent and from the Security Council, or would he prefer that African diplomacy should lead on this particular item, that of having the parties to the conflict stick to their obligations?
Secondly, to follow up on my theme of structure, does he believe that there would be a role, given that we want to see even economic prosperity and political stability entrenched in the region, for an international conference — as France, for instance, proposed long ago — that brings together the countries of the Great Lakes and sets a longer-term strategy for what we all want to do for the Great Lakes region and regarding the problem of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular? If so, is there a particular timing for that conference that would fit in well with the efforts and operations of the leaderships of the region?
To begin, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to welcome President Chiluba and thank him for his briefing on the situation in Africa. We express our appreciation for the proposal made by Gabon and for this open meeting, which has been arranged by the Council President.
China has always attached importance to the question of Africa. We have always supported the just demands and reasonable proposals of the African peoples, and we endorse the idea that African peoples should make their own efforts to strengthen their political stability and economic prosperity. We also support the African countries in their efforts to strengthen their unity and strengthen their regional cooperation.
It is our consistent view that the Security Council should increase its input on the question of Africa and cooperate in a concrete manner with the efforts of the African regional organizations.
China highly appreciates what has been done by President Chiluba and his contribution on the question of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Without his tireless efforts and high-quality mediation skills, the Lusaka Agreement would not have been signed.
It is our view that the United Nations and the international community should pay more attention to the question of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the heart of Africa, and a conflict in that country not only affects the Great Lakes region, it also affects the peace, security and stability of the African continent as a whole. The signing of the Lusaka Agreement is the beginning of the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the full implementation of this Agreement will be a difficult process. It needs the active participation of the international community and of the Security Council. It is our view that if the international community and the Security Council do not now invest the necessary material and manpower to address the root causes of the conflict, the conflict could break out again, and we would be facing higher, more tragic costs.
We have taken note of the six points President Chiluba made at the end of his speech. We believe they deserve our attention and study.
I, in turn, on behalf of Gabon, would like to thank President Frederick Chiluba for the important statement he has just made to the Council and for his unrelenting efforts to promote a negotiated settlement to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the same time I would like to thank all of those who have helped President Frederick Chiluba in achieving these results. These people include the heads of State of the Southern African Development Community and others in Central Africa, both those that have acted publicly and those that have acted through quiet diplomacy. I would also like to note that the Organization of African Unity and its Secretary-General, Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim, have also taken part in the entire negotiating process.
Gabon fully agrees with the points that Mr. Chiluba made. That is why in the Security Council we have advocated having the President of Zambia speak here today. We are pleased that his statement has greatly contributed to an understanding of the problems pertaining to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which, for the first time in African history, we are seeing roughly a dozen countries directly or indirectly involved in such a major conflict. It is now urgent for the Security Council to take a look at the practical modalities involved in conducting a peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to safeguard the achievements that the President of the Republic of Zambia has just outlined for us.
Gabon welcomes the proposals made by the Secretary-General in this regard and hopes that the Council will be able to translate these recommendations into practice. African opinion, which is carefully following what the Council is doing elsewhere in the world, would have great difficulty understanding delays in the Council’s establishing a peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We have understood from President Chiluba’s statement the feelings of the African countries. Those feelings are widely shared, and I think that, as I noted earlier, all the heads of State have made contributions to see to it that the negotiations regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo that have been undertaken under the strong leadership of President Chiluba have a chance of achieving positive results.
We now have those results, and we feel that the signal is a clear one, given by all of those who are involved in the conflict. We await equally urgent action from the Security Council with regard to that country.
But this action also concerns refugees and displaced persons. There is the feeling that all refugees and displaced persons are not accorded the same importance. Africa today has the largest number of displaced persons and refugees if we consider only humanitarian operations. Simply in humanitarian terms, we can see that an African refugee is not accorded as much importance as refugees in other continents.
First and foremost, I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for having organized this meeting of the Security Council so as to enable all Members of the Organization to have an opportunity to hear the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Frederick Chiluba. For the same reason I wish to thank the representative of Gabon for having taken the initiative.
First of all, the information we have just received is highly important, because President Chiluba has played a fundamental role in the peace process. His actions in the Lusaka process are highly appreciated by our delegation. We know that the President personally has been an important factor in finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Secondly, we think that what he has said is very appropriate and timely, as it gives a clear orientation to the Security Council.
President Chiluba enumerated six elements that the Council should take into account. I would essentially like to refer to three of them, particularly the first. The President talked about the need for “an appropriate mandate”. All of us know that “an appropriate mandate” is key to the success of any peacekeeping operation. Mr. Chiluba also said that humanitarian consequences were an important element to be taken into account.
The third element I wish to emphasize is the need for the international community to cooperate in the economic reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since this was said by someone who perhaps knows better than anyone else the painful experience of the country and the complexity of the work to be done, we do not think that the Council can disregard it.
My first reaction to what President Chiluba said was that there is a very complex task ahead that calls for a great joint effort, not only on the part of African leaders, but also on the part of the United Nations and the international community. We will all have a role to play in this job. By helping the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we will be helping pacify not only the entire region but also all of Africa.
Finally, I would like to ask President Chiluba what he believes to be the essential elements to achieve a stable peace in the Great Lakes region.
I would like to join my colleagues in thanking President Chiluba for joining the Council today and for presenting such an interesting review of his past efforts and the accomplishments made to date in this very important enterprise, and for sharing his views and suggestions about the future course of action. I would also like, as all colleagues before me have done, to thank him and to express our appreciation for his commitment and dedication — in fact, his stamina — in pursuing this process through very difficult times. I think we all here in the Council know and appreciate the commitment he made.
I want to make just a couple of comments, and then I have a few questions similar to some of the questions my colleagues have raised. First, I would like to say that, as far as the United States is concerned, I was very taken in particular by Ambassador Greenstock’s remarks about the question of a practical and realistic mandate that is demanded by our national political systems, including, in our case, our Congress. With regard to any peacekeeping operation this is the case, and it certainly will be the case with regard to the question of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Another set of questions that frequently confronts the Security Council has to do with its relationship and coordination with regional and subregional organizations. This is a theme that will not be new to President Chiluba, and it is something that we have repeatedly raised in the Council: that is, to establish a better way, from the Council’s perspective, to have close interaction and coordination, in particular, with the Organization of African Unity and the Southern African Development Community efforts. I think that President Chiluba’s being with us today is a very welcome step in that regard.
With regard to the next steps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it seems to us that the technical assessment mission should be dispatched as soon as possible, because what we think we need now is a very hard-headed evaluation of the security situation within the Democratic Republic of the Congo so that a decision can be made about the deployment of the already authorized military liaison officers. Some have been deployed, as President Chiluba mentioned, but some have not, and we need to be assured that the security situation justifies further deployment within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, because the Council and the Secretary-General will be sending these individuals into areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the security situation has, to put it mildly, not been assured in the past, in the very recent past, and even in the current situation.
Like several colleagues, I would be very interested in knowing President Chiluba’s views about the Joint Military Commission and what the next steps will be, the challenges that it faces now that its membership has been agreed to.
On another subject, the disarmament of non-State actors within the Democratic Republic of the Congo is also a subject of high interest. Does President Chiluba have any advice or observations to share with us about how that disarmament process might work? Also, does he have any comments about how the national debate within the Congo, which is part of the overall Lusaka Agreement, is scheduled to proceed? We had a visit recently from the Minister of Justice of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who told the Council that that process would be moving forward, but any reflections that President Chiluba may have on that subject would be welcome.
I will close by again thanking President Chiluba both for work done in the past and what we hope will be his continuing commitment to this very important enterprise.
My delegation would like to express its profound gratitude to President Chiluba for his indefatigable efforts leading to the breakthrough in the quest for a lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We all agree that there is hope for peace, but this does not mean that we should rest on our laurels. This is just the beginning of the end, and without the necessary resources from the rest of the international community to consolidate these initial achievements we cannot see how the process could be carried through.
With the presence of President Chiluba today and his message of hope to the Security Council, we are confident that the much needed cooperation between the Security Council and Africa will now be placed on a firmer footing. We can say without fear of contradiction that, having heard from President Chiluba, speaking on behalf of Africa, the Council will not shy away this time around, but will give us a helping hand in the true spirit of international solidarity to dispel any notion of Afro-fatigue syndrome.
Mr. President, my delegation expresses its appreciation to you for convening this open meeting of the Council for the purpose of listening to His Excellency President Chiluba on a subject of great importance to Members of the Organization. Malaysia considers the holding of such open meetings of the Council an important contribution to the process of openness and transparency in the work of the Council and as a welcome step in the process of increased consultation on the part of the Council.
My delegation would also like to express its deep thanks and appreciation to President Chiluba for his comprehensive briefing on the question of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to convey to him our strong and continued support for his tireless efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Malaysia considers the Lusaka agreement, or the Lusaka process, as critical and crucial for the restoration of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — indeed, in the entire Central African region. Malaysia reiterates its support for the signing of the ceasefire agreement among the various parties to the conflict. We hope that with the adoption of resolution 1258 (1999) there will be an early deployment of the 90 military and civilian United Nations personnel in the region. We look forward to further progress in the process of setting up a United Nations peacekeeping mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the next phase, based, of course, on the recommendations of the Secretary-General — a mission that would have an appropriate mandate, with adequate numbers, and one that could be set up expeditiously, as in other conflict areas.
We have listened very carefully and attentively to President Chiluba, particularly to the six points he has just outlined. We trust that these will be considered by the Council with the seriousness that they clearly deserve.
To conclude, I should like to ask President Chiluba whether or not he is optimistic that it is possible or realistic to demobilize and disarm the Interahamwe in the given period of six months, in view of the general expectation that the task of their dismantling and demobilization will prove to be extremely difficult.
Like other members of the Security Council, we are very grateful to His Excellency Mr. Frederick Chiluba, the President of Zambia, for the briefing today. The Council is aware of the importance of diplomacy conducted at the level of heads of State in Africa, and we have been carefully following, with great hope and expectation, the progress led by President Chiluba. We are gratified that that process has succeeded and we wish further success to take place.
Today’s opportunity is in many ways unique. The Security Council has entered a period in which it seems that the unity of Council members and other factors are contributing to the possible successful work of the Council, and it is clear to all members of the Council and others that the Council will not be successful, or completely successful, unless it helps in the solution of the four core problems in Africa today, one of them — perhaps the largest — being the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We therefore very much welcome this opportunity to hear the views and comments by President Chiluba, which will inspire the Security Council in its future work.
The tasks ahead with respect to the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo could be divided into several groups, some of which could be defined as short-term tasks. These relate to the deployment of liaison officers, a process which has begun and which we hope will continue successfully. Another is full operational action by the Joint Military Commission, where the appointment of two members has not yet been completed. We hope that the remaining representatives will be nominated and that the consolidation of the ceasefire will take place, and that the neighbouring countries will help in that process. Those are all short-term tasks.
At the same time, as many members of the Council have already stated, the Council will have to consider the work necessary to establish an appropriate peacekeeping mission at an appropriate moment, and the Council will certainly come back to this matter at a suitable time soon.
There are also long-term tasks that have to be contemplated. Others have spoken about a regional conference which will give a solid and broader framework to future cooperation in the region and ensure that peace, once fully established, will be irreversible. I should like to add that there is a wide variety of tasks related to the protection of human rights and the investigation of massacres that have taken place in the recent past, and all other tasks which will help to consolidate peace on a long-term basis.
And, finally, like many other members of the Security Council, I should like to say that the Council needs further and strengthened cooperation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU). We have had very useful meetings in the past with the Secretary-General of the OAU and we need similar contacts in the future. We have had in the past, and we have had today, a very fruitful exchange with the head of State of an African country. This practice should be welcomed and should be repeated as often as possible.
Mr. President, we thank you for having called this meeting and we express our deep appreciation to President Chiluba for his courtesy in coming to share his views with the members of the Security Council and for briefing the Council on this very important issue. We consider it appropriate that this is an open meeting of the Security Council, so that the information provided can be shared with the entire membership of the United Nations.
We thank President Chiluba for the role he has played, together with the leadership of the region, in the efforts to bring peace to the Great Lakes region, particularly to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We consider and envisage that the Lusaka accords are the starting point of a process of bringing peace to the region, of reconstruction and rehabilitation and development, in which the entire international community will have to take a part and will have to play an effective role.
The Security Council has attentively followed the process thus far and has already responded with the dispatch of the liaison officers and the decision that a technical survey mission will be sent to the region.
As to the further steps to be taken, the six elements outlined by His Excellency are a source of inspiration that will be taken into consideration by the Security Council at every moment.
We share entirely the view expressed by His Excellency that the Security Council has no reason to be less effective in dealing with and trying to bring resolution to a conflict in Africa than it is with respect to other regions of the globe.
We have two specific questions for the President, which in fact, to a large extent, overlap with the questions already put by other representatives.
We would like to know what are the immediate points on the agendas of the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission. We would also like to learn from the President how he envisages the first steps that would necessarily need to be taken in order for the international conference on the Great Lakes to take place in the immediate future.
I should now like to put a question to President Chiluba in my capacity as representative of the Netherlands.
Some members of the Council have referred to the distinction between the African and the non-African role. It is clear that some tasks are better tackled by Africa itself, whereas other duties may be in better hands with outside actors. I should like to ask a question that concerns this distinction.
Based on our experience with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), we have somehow grown accustomed to thinking in terms of African peacekeepers partly financed by non-African donor countries. My question is whether this is the only conceivable division of work. If we look at the composition of the multinational force which is now being prepared for duty in East Timor, we see a rather different picture. The emphasis there is on the region, to be sure, but the multinational force for East Timor will, in the end, be a truly intercontinental operation.
Would President Chiluba care to comment on that? He has called for additional resources, but he has not mentioned personnel. Do the African countries in general, and the signatories of the Lusaka Agreement in particular, envisage a peacekeeping force consisting of African troops, or is the composition of the force an open question?
I now resume my function as President of the Security Council.
I call on the representative of the Republic of Zambia to respond to the comments and questions.
In beginning to respond to the many observations and questions posed by the representatives of various Governments, let me say without any sense of pride that I was here 26 years ago. I was a trade unionist, but in the delegation of my Government.
I say this to try and state how difficult it is to expect any conflict to end immediately after the signing has taken place. In fact, in some conflicts, other citizens of the world have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while the conflicts still continue. I would have thought that, after they had been made recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, those conflicts would have been consigned to history, but they have survived. The Nobel Peace Prizes have gone one way, the peace process another.
I say this to try and tell the Council that it is not only in Africa that we can say that we will not be sure. In 1973, in fact, there was a bit of drama. I was in the General Assembly when the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, came with an olive branch. He offered it the Israelis and said: “I am ready to negotiate peace with Israel. But if they refuse …” He touched the pocket where he keeps his gun and said: “I will offer them this gun.”
Those problems still continue. There have been the Wye River and other agreements in the process, and they still continue.
To come down to this problem of the Congo, let me say this one thing. I got involved in the peace negotiation between UNITA and the Government of Angola in what is known today as the Lusaka Protocol. It will be appreciated — I am not trying to run away from any responsibility or the mistakes and difficulties that may have been seen in this; I associate myself fully with them — that these are the difficulties I am trying to talk about regarding all such difficult situations. When we got involved in the Angola situation, it had already been dealt with by the United Nations at various forums, at different times with different countries and different facilitators and helpers in the process.
The case of the Congo, may I say, is very different in many ways. The first item that was talked about by the representative of Bahrain was the commitment of parties to the Agreement. I can tell the Council frankly that this Agreement, signed by all the parties to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a product of many hours spent by them, although chaired by us. If we look back to the signing of the Agreement, not one of the parties to this Agreement has ever expressed concern or even doubt about the contents of the Agreement. This is basically their own Agreement. The peculiar way in which it was negotiated gives me not only hope and optimism, but a tremendous sense of conviction that they, the people who negotiated this Agreement — particularly the Congolese people, the rebels and the countries that assisted either side — will always hold this as their very own home-bred Agreement. I have no doubt that they are committed and they will be committed. No one has expressed concern at all.
Canada spoke about the participation in the internal debate, among other things, and the United Nations role in this. In this Agreement, there is a provision for that internal debate and even the timetable has been laid. Of course, because of the delay in completing the signing of the Agreement, I can say we are one or almost two months behind, but this does not take away the commitment of the parties to this Agreement. Internal debate, in fact, is a matter that the rebels advanced when they first made known their presence on the scene. They said that they wanted the Government to broaden the political space; they wanted broader participation by all the Congolese people; they wanted the Congolese people to democratize the system of Government; and so on.
And so, I can safely say that the internal debate or internal dialogue is a matter that all the Congolese people — the Government, the rebels and everybody — will be concerned with. It may have already been heard that President Kabila was trying to contact some former head of State to try and start organizing internal debate, but the Council must have also heard that the rebels said no, they would not accept that.
The choice of facilitator or moderator of these discussions is another one that requires the agreement of the parties concerned. We believe that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) will play its very important role in this to ensure that whoever they pick has both the respect and integrity that will make him acceptable to the parties to this conflict.
I appealed to the United Nations to play a role in ensuring that this is done. There are various levels at which it can be done — technically, by working with the OAU in providing the experts who will help to make internal dialogue successful. The Congo is ravaged by war. The Congo, as we all know, is a country with vast resources which have yet to be exploited. So, indeed, the United Nations will play a role to ensure that the development in the Congo takes a certain path, particularly after the political debate has taken place and succeeded.
The safety of those who will be involved in peacekeeping in the Congo and the safety of those who will be attending to humanitarian questions or bringing humanitarian aid to the Congo is assured. I liken the joint Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission to the International Labour Organization. I have been a trade unionist almost all my life, and I know that in most countries where there are stable industrial relations, this is because the spirit of tripartism does work effectively. And when it works, it commits the parties — labourer, employer and Government — to a matter that they may have adopted on their own.
I cannot see the Joint Military Commission or even the joint Political Committee working any differently from this. The spirit of collective responsibility is enshrined in it. It will not be used as a bargaining forum for the parties in this joint Political Committee or Joint Military Commission to try to sort out — “Oh, maybe I lost that point in the process, and now I can regain it here.” No, their roles are provided for in the modalities; they will be working in order to support and give guidance to the peacekeeping forces on the ground.
So there will be safety, because the people who are members of the joint Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission are onetime foes, people who fought but who have now decided to work for peace. They will work to identify the obstacles and areas of concern to make the peace operation exercise successful. I cannot fail to mention that the safety of the peacekeepers, the safety even of those engaged in humanitarian efforts to provide aid will be assured.
First and foremost, those of us who have been right there in the Congo see war fatigue in the faces of many people. You might say, “But it is not the ordinary people who are fighting.” Indeed, the forces on both sides are realistic today. They know that the Congolese people are war-fatigued and that they want development. They cannot continue to suffer and to see their resources plundered at will. So I believe that even within the fighting forces, this is the spirit that reigns today. I can assure you Mr. President, and the members of Governments here present, and those absent, that there will be security and safety for personnel, both for those in the peacekeeping role as well as for those attending to humanitarian efforts.
As I said, the Joint Military Commission has met once. It met first of all to approve the budget. It also met to approve its Chairman, who is from Algeria. As the Council knows, Algeria today occupies the Chair of the OAU, and so they had to provide a Chairman. The Chairman could have come from elsewhere, but we are happy that he is from Algeria, which holds the Chair of the OAU for the year. So we have General Rachid Lallali as the Chairman of the Joint Military Commission.
Both the joint Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission have met, and they have done their initial work. In fact, we have just received a message that the next Joint Military Commission meeting will be held on 10 October. So a date has already been fixed, things are moving, and I am sure that the procedures for ensuring the peace process as laid out here, which are well known, will be followed. We are not trying to short-circuit or bypass anything. All we are now trying to say is that after the team of the military liaison personnel has been sent, a technical survey team must go and assess the situation on the ground in order for other efforts to follow.
We in the Great Lakes region and in the continent of Africa as a whole have a desire to collaborate, a desire to cooperate. The Council knows that Africa works individually, each country pursuing its own domestic agenda; it took us time to realize that, indeed, even with the differences in our own economic strength between one country and another, we have to move much, much faster. Africa has certain landmarks one can refer to. They are the Abuja Treaty in Nigeria, and of course many other such landmarks that have tended to create structures through which we can collaborate with the international community, realizing that our individual efforts may not be sufficient.
If I may talk about Africa, Mr. President, you referred to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the ECOWAS Monitoring Group. We have in the southern region the Southern African Development Community; we have the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa; we have a few other building blocks that have been formed on the continent of Africa to facilitate our efforts to collaborate with the outside world, be it the European Union or the United States of America or, of course, other parts of the globe. We are keenly interested in pursuing these goals of ours, and even with the difficulties we encounter, we have kept our doors open. And we will do so, because we need this collaboration, close cooperation, in order to be able to carry on with the work that we are undertaking.
It is true that it has been frequently said that Africa is very quick at creating problems for itself, and then as soon as the problems are there, then Africans run to Europe. They go and seek facilitators in Europe and take a quarrel between Kenya and Uganda to Rome, take a quarrel between Zimbabwe and Zambia to the Netherlands. But this time around we said, “Let us try to take our own initiative. This is an African problem; why can’t an African initiative suffice and find a solution?” Europe, of course, is in an advanced stage, economically and politically, and because we are members of one family — the United Nations — even when we make an effort, we do not hesitate to ask for your hand of friendship so you will lend whatever support you can. Yet it would be overtaxing for you if, after a problem were created in Africa, we looked to Europe and America for both the effort to solve the problem and the material or financial effort as well. Slowly we are saying, “No, let us take the responsibility. Let us shoulder it, and if we have to ask for help, it will be to supplement the efforts that we are making.” You might say that I am misusing the word “supplement”, unless we first find the initial financial capacity. We try. In fact, when this effort started, even with a very shaky and weak economy, we were able to travel around the region before we asked for help. Again, I want to thank you, Mr. President: your country helped tremendously. That was after we said “If it is possible to work, let us work and get the problem listened to”. So we went, and tried to do the job. And we are trying to shoulder this responsibility while seeking the help of countries in Europe and America.
The commitment question has been repeated from time to time: the United Kingdom mentioned it, too. Let me say that the commitment is there, and the role of the Security Council cannot be divorced from it. It is primarily the responsibility of the Security Council to ensure that there is international peace and security. Earlier I referred to the Middle East, although I mentioned only Chairman Yasser Arafat. The United States has been extremely steadfast, as has the Security Council. If there were no commitment on the part of the international community to the long-standing Middle East problem and if it were left for the Middle East alone to resolve, it could not have reached the current stage. I can only thank the Council, reiterating the need for the same commitment to ensure that there is peace in one part of the world, which will guarantee peace all over; we must look at the needs of peace in Congo and in Africa in exactly the same way.
The Council has never been found wanting; it has never been found to be tired. An agreement on the Middle East is signed one day, and the following day it is broken, but the Council picks up the pieces, threads them together and moves on. Today, we are looking towards the Middle East with a lot more optimism, after many, many years. As I said, I was here 26 years ago at the height of the cold war, and one would have thought that by today the problem would have been resolved. But it is still going on. I can assure the Council that we in Africa want that same commitment. We will take the Council’s hand, because there is a need for peace and there is a role for the Security Council to play. Let it play the same role that it has played in the past — let it play it even more fully now, and ensure that peace is secured for us in Africa.
The United Nations and, of course, other countries of the world have a role to play in helping us. We have talked about holding a bigger conference with regard to the peace process so as to remove tensions in the Great Lakes region. The OAU has been seized of this problem and is addressing it very seriously. Frankly, I am sure that even when we come to arrange a specific meeting through the existing machinery or structures at the OAU or at other, subregional, levels, such as in SADC or the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), we will get in touch and make sure that the United Nations plays its role in providing technical expertise. We are very much indebted to the United Nations. From day one, when the problem started, the United Nations arrived; it came to the second meeting and it never departed. We worked well together throughout. The United Nations has a role to play in the continued search for peace in Africa.
I thank the representatives of China and of Gabon for their supportive statements, and thank the representative of Argentina, who reiterated three of the six points that I made regarding what we want. Thanks to today’s modern, advanced news flow, I learned that the countries going to East Timor are calling for a very appropriate mandate to be given to the team in order to enable them to deal with the situation as it obtains on the ground. This is not becoming a slogan; it reflects the realization that if we want to deal with the matter, and deal with it effectively, there must be an appropriate way of handling it. Hence, there is a need for an appropriate mandate that does not oblige people or tie them down, but gives them some kind of flexibility so that they will offer what they can in terms of making possible the peace efforts that are required. Otherwise, those who are sent may not be considered to be carrying out an effective exercise.
The best way to end some of our problems, not only in the Great Lakes region but in the whole continent of Africa, is by broadening the political space and trying as much as possible to democratize our systems of government. We realize that there is no particular universal model. Each country will adopt its own. But there are general, universal characteristics of democracy which we understand as States, and we believe that if we are allowed to carry out or work out our own agendas without being prompted into taking rash decisions, the exercise will be implemented effectively on the continent of Africa.
In July I attended the regular meeting of the OAU summit in Algeria, where we passed a resolution not to welcome anybody who assumes power by the back door using methods that are not legal or democratic. This is a huge step on the continent of Africa. We realize that our people need peace, and this peace will come only when we have democratized sufficiently. But experts have said that when people live in poverty, democracy is a chimera; it is a recipe for further violence. That is why we have continued to say “Please write off the external debt which is holding us down”. We will then be able to demonstrate our efforts in going ahead to democratize the continent.
The United States of America reiterated the question with regard to the appropriate mandate. Yes, we need that in order to be able to achieve peace in the Congo. Indeed, we need collaborative efforts with the United States of America, with European countries and with all the Governments of the States Members of the United Nations, because we need peace there. Maybe the structures are not quite clear, but we will try to ensure that when and where the OAU takes the African flag forward, as it must, it will do so in order for the rest of the world to know that this is how we operate and how we can collaborate.
The work that we are asking for from the United Nations peacekeeping mandate involves both peacekeeping and peace enforcement. This is exactly why we said that we needed an appropriate mandate: tracking down and disarming armed groups is not a task that the peacekeeping forces can carry out without properly laid out efforts and measures. The Joint Military Commission in particular, working under the Political Committee, will be able to identify them. Therefore, as I said, through cooperation, using the Joint Military Commission not as a bargaining forum, but as a collective area for determining and identifying obstacles, we believe that the forces that will be there, working closely with the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission, will be able to identity, track down and disarm those who may be causing problems. We know that some of those rebel groups may have the support of Governments. Those Governments are today members of the Political Committee and the Joint Military Commission, and there is no way that they can collaborate with forces that they are charged with the responsibility of disarming. We believe that this will work out quite well.
As to the question on an internal debate, through we may be days behind because of a late signing, efforts are already under way. The OAU Secretary-General called me only two days before I left. They are looking for a facilitator — someone with some credibility who would be accepted by the Government, Congolese political parties and civil society, so that the internal debate and dialogue can begin. There is a time-table for this, and we believe that as soon as the peacekeeping efforts begin, so that the security of those who are going to debate can be ensured, things will begin to move, and move quite fast.
I am not suggesting in any way that there will be insecurity, but some fear has been expressed, and therefore the facilitator of this internal dialogue will make sure that both the venue and other related logistics are accepted by the parties, so that the debate can continue.
Yes, it is possible, even advisable, to disarm all of those forces — the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the former Rwandan Armed Forces, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF), the Interahamwe, and so on. It is advisable and possible; it will be done. I think that the machinery is in place to ensure that peacekeeping and enforcement are successfully implemented, so I believe it will be done.
Yes, I appreciate Slovenia’s observations, and we will do everything to ensure that we follow up and implement those ideas that pertain to the short term as well as those relating to the medium and long term, so that the peace process itself is followed up until the successful conclusion of the internal dialogue.
With the Joint Military Commission set up, we in Africa are trying on our own to make some contribution to it, but this may not be enough. That is why I have appealed for generous contributions to ensure that the Commission can work effectively in identifying areas and obstacles and in ensuring that the peacekeeping forces are not subjected to unnecessary risks and dangers in the process. Therefore I still want to appeal for this help. It is absolutely necessary.
With regard to what type of forces can go there, the only qualification is that they be from countries that are acceptable to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so they can be forces from within the OAU countries or from other countries that are helping. But because it has been said that Africa needs to take greater responsibility, we thought that, with the help of the United Nations, we could perhaps increase the African contingent in the forces that will be going there, but that is not to say that others may not be part of the arrangement.
Even if our role is very clearly one in the Political Committee, which is composed of African countries that at one time were enemies, and also in the Joint Military Commission, we can be part also of the peacekeeping forces sent by the United Nations. We are appealing for financing to help us get these forces, wherever they may come from, into operation soon — and the sooner the better. We are afraid that if we do not maintain this momentum, something could crop up and perhaps set the clock back and disturb the present order and the speed at which things are now moving.
As I said, the next meeting of the Joint Military Commission, set for 10 October, is just weeks away. We are therefore looking forward to the cooperation of the Security Council, whose role is primary.
Furthermore, when we mention African forces, we are talking about a peacekeeping force under the auspices of the United Nations. We are ready to take up the challenge, because I think the situation warrants that we move fast in order to begin the internal process itself, which will lead to the achievement of lasting internal peace for the Congo.
This is as far as I can go. If there are any areas I have not made clear, I am ready to go back and do so, because I do not think there has been any dialogue between Africa and the Security Council. And, Mr. President, since I am here, and I am a trade unionist, why not make me work some overtime?
I thank President Chiluba for the clarifications he has provided in response to the questions put to him by members of the Council. I do not believe that we are going to make him work overtime.
I see that there are no further speakers inscribed on my list.
The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.