Security Council mission Report of the Security Council mission to Central Africa from 7 to 16 June 2003
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Members:||Mr. Gaspar Martins
|Mr. Zhang Yishan
|Mr. De La Sablière
|Mr. Von Ungern-Sternberg
Adoption of the agenda
Security Council mission
Report of the Security Council mission to Central Africa from 7 to 16 June 2003
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania, in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Jean-Marc de La Sablière, head of the Security Council mission to Central Africa.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
Members of the Council have before them photo copies of the report of the Security Council mission to Central Africa. That report will be issued as a document of the Security Council under the symbol S/2003/653 on Friday, 20 June 2003.
I give the floor to Mr. Jean-Marc de La Sablière, head of the Security Council mission to Central Africa.
The members of the Security Council mission to Central Africa have asked me to report to the Council on the mission. As the President has just said, we have prepared a report, which is currently being finalized and which is now before the Council. The report includes our analysis of the situation and the mission’s recommendations. I would like to make a brief oral report about our mission today. Of course, I suggest that each member refer to the written report we have prepared.
The Security Council mission that visited Central Africa from 7 to 16 June 2003 set for itself the main objective of supporting the peace processes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi.
A second transitional President has just taken office in Bujumbura. It is to be hoped that an all-inclusive agreement should soon take the form of a Government of national reconciliation in Kinshasa. Nevertheless, we must note the fact that active hostilities continue in both countries. Both countries are at a critical juncture in their history.
Along with the Heads of State of the countries most directly involved in the peace processes — namely, South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda — the Council’s mission contacted the heads of rebel movements and conveyed very strong messages to them.
The mission visited Bunia a scant two weeks after the humanitarian crisis there led the Security Council to adopt resolution 1484 (2003).
Given their countries’ contributions to the peace process, the members of the Council mission took pains to listen to the views of Heads of State in Pretoria, Luanda and Dar es Salaam with regard to the two situations at the heart of the mission.
In Kinshasa the mission asked President Kabila and other Congolese officials to speed up the establishment of a transitional Government. In that regard, we took note of the commitment expressed to us by the parties to resolve by the end of the month the issue of appointing political and military transitional staff. We reminded everyone in the strongest possible terms, and in particular the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie-Goma (RCD-Goma), that the Council demanded the immediate cessation of hostilities.
A cycle of violence has ravaged Ituri for several months. Attacks in the Kivus have recently become more intense. The main victims are not combatants, who are often well armed, but rather the civilian population. We do not want the next victim to be the peace process itself if the political programme of the transition does not materialize.
That is why all the parties must ensure that the armed groups receive no further foreign assistance, which enables them to perpetuate the conflict. We spoke to the Presidents of Rwanda and Uganda — who assured us of their support for the Multinational Force deployed in Bunia — of the great importance of what they can contribute to the stabilization of the Great Lakes region by exerting a positive influence on the armed groups.
The Security Council mission also provided an opportunity to remind all the actors that there can be no impunity for the human rights violations that, unfortunately, almost always accompanied the fighting. The pillaging of natural resources, analysed by the Panel of Experts headed by Ambassador Kassem, has become one of the causes of the continuing hostilities in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and can no longer be tolerated.
In Bunia, the Council members were able to witness the remarkable cooperation between the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the Interim Emergency Multinational Force. Here, I must commend the dedication and courage of the Uruguayan contingent. The deployment of the Multinational Force, which is being carried out — despite particularly difficult logistical conditions — somewhat more rapidly than anticipated, has already begun to create favourable conditions for a return of security. Thus, the conditions will be right, when the Multinational Force departs on 1 September, for a more effective United Nations presence in Ituri.
It is very likely that the camps in Bunia housing people who were internally displaced by the recent violence will grow as the situation normalizes. The humanitarian needs that the international community will have to address will be considerable.
Bunia has been deeply traumatized by the massacres of which its inhabitants were victims. A great many of the militia members we saw along the side of the road were young children; the problem of child soldiers is well known to the Security Council. However, the dignity and determination of the representatives of the interim institutions of Ituri and the women’s associations that we met in Bunia attest to the fact that peace and reconciliation are deeply desired by the population — an essential condition in the search for a political solution.
In Ituri, as in the rest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we told everyone that a settlement of the conflict must be political. MONUC, together with the authorities of the transition in Kinshasa, must work to that end. It is from that perspective that Council members should examine the recommendations submitted by the Secretary-General in his recent special report on MONUC (S/2003/566). It will be a matter of defining how MONUC’s role in the peace process of the Democratic Republic of the Congo can be most effective, perhaps considering the possibility of giving it a more robust mandate, taking into account the departure of the Multinational Force from Bunia on 1 September.
In Bujumbura, the presidential transition that occurred on 30 April, in conformity with the provisions of the Arusha Agreement, has made the process irreversible. In the absence of a complete ceasefire, however, peace in the country remains fragile.
The Security Council mission encouraged the Burundians to take the final steps that, however difficult they may be after 10 years of civil war, will enable them to seal their reconciliation. We invited those engaged in the transition to continue to demonstrate their determination by accelerating reforms, particularly those in the security forces and in the justice system. We urged the belligerents to put an end to the hostilities. In particular, we let it be known in the clearest way possible to the rebel movements that did not sign the Arusha Agreement that the ceasefire commitments must be respected. We told them that, as Burundians, they must prove their sense of responsibility by joining the peace process, and we encouraged the Government, from that perspective, to provide room for them within the army and in the transitional institutions. We also emphasized to everyone that the grave human rights violations that the Burundians had endured could not remain unpunished.
The Council members were able to witness the work of the mission that the African Union deployed to Burundi. That peace operation — the first sent by the African Union — deserves the international community’s support. In addition, the Council mission noted the need to provide adequate economic and budgetary assistance to the transitional Government.
This Security Council mission, which took place at a particularly delicate time in the two peace processes that are under way in Central Africa, enabled us to renew a direct dialogue with the actors. Mindful that our visit in the region would not fail to create strong expectations, we took care to remind our various interlocutors that it was, above all, on them that peace and reconciliation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Burundi depended. The States of the region also have an important part to play in promoting a return to peace and security. In that regard, everyone recognized the need to restore confidence on both sides of the borders. It seems to me that, while remaining mindful of the possibility of holding an international conference on peace in the Great Lakes region, we could also consider the idea of a declaration of good-neighbourliness, which was met with interest on the part of the heads of State to whom we presented it.
In conclusion, on behalf of all the members of the mission, I should like to thank everyone who participated in its organization. That involved considerable work and enabled the mission to work under excellent conditions. Since I had the honour to lead the mission, I should like to say, on a more personal level, how pleased I was with the work that we did together.
I thank Ambassador De La Sablière for his statement.
On behalf of the Council, I should like to express gratitude and appreciation to all the members of the Security Council mission, which was very ably led by Ambassador De La Sablière, for the manner in which they discharged their important responsibility on the Council’s behalf.
The next speaker is the representative of Rwanda. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
On behalf of my delegation and my Government, Sir, I should like to commend your Government, yourself and your delegation for the competence with which you are guiding the work of the Council this month. At the same time, I should like to pay a tribute to your predecessor, Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, and his delegation for the energy they brought to the work of the Council in May.
My delegation also wishes to thank you, Sir, for having organized this important meeting to consider the report of the Security Council mission to Central Africa. It is taking place at a very difficult moment for the Great Lakes region of Africa, and as the region of Ituri in particular is in thrall to the struggles of rival armed groups, sowing death, which we all deplore, and misery among the civilian population of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
My delegation also wishes to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Government of Rwanda, to commend Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière and the mission of Security Council ambassadors that he led to Central Africa for the effectiveness with which they performed an excellent job in that region. We hope that the recommendations of the Council, with all of its acknowledged experience and vision, will in future be a source of inspiration in the search for a solution to unresolved issues from the Lusaka and Pretoria Agreements, including the complete disarmament of the former Rwandan Army forces (ex-FAR) and Interahamwe militias, which continue to pose a real threat to the security of Rwanda.
Nevertheless, my delegation would draw the Council’s attention to the following observations on developments in the political and military situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in general and in Ituri in particular.
In recent days, my Government has been subjected to various persistent accusations from certain elements of the press and from so-called civil society, represented by the Bishop of Butembo. These sources have described the presence of the Rwanda Defence Forces in the regions of Ituri and Kanyabayonga. The same sources also describe the dispatch of Rwandan army helicopters to support the forces of the Union des patriotes congolais and the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (RCD)-Goma. These allegations are false, bereft of all truth, totally baseless and the utter fabrication of those who, under the cover of civil society, wish to sully the image of Rwanda and to serve the interests of divisive groups defending ideological causes based on ethnic hatred and the exclusion of Rwandophone Congolese or of Congolese who bear some physical resemblance to the Rwandese. The Government of Rwanda is involved neither from anear nor from afar with the events taking place in Ituri, as the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its patrons would have us believe. The question of Ituri is an internal political issue of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thus, answers to the question must be sought primarily within that country. The Government of Rwanda has neither sent soldier to the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the total withdrawal of the Rwandan Defence Forces of 5 October 2002, nor offers military support to any rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
When the Government of Rwanda decided in late 1996 to combat the regime of the late Field Marshal Mobutu and subsequently to send troops into the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 1998, its decision was in fact a solution of last resort, following its repeated disappointment at seeing the international community fail to answer its many appeals to respond to my country’s security concerns.
The presence of the Rwandan army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo up until November 2002 certainly managed to contain the attacks of the ex-FAR and Interahamwe militias of sorry memory and to stop them from crossing the borders. That presence was beneficial to the populations of the border provinces of Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu, who were living under the threat of those forces, whose avowed objective was to recapture power in Kigali and complete the 1994 genocide. In such circumstances, the Government of Rwanda was committed to honouring its primary legitimate responsibility of protecting its population and territory and to avert the threat of renewed genocide.
At the request of the international community, and following the signing of the Pretoria Agreement on 30 July 2002 between the Governments of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Government of Rwanda withdrew all its forces. I would recall that the withdrawal operations began on 17 September and were complete by 5 October 2002. This total withdrawal was recognized in a statement issued by the Third Party Verification Mechanism, as contained in document S/2002/1206 of 28 October 2002.
Ever since the signing of the Pretoria Agreement and the ensuing withdrawal of the Rwanda Defence Forces, the Government of Rwanda has tirelessly extended its hand to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to seek solutions that would be satisfactory to our countries and in the interests of all.
However, we must note that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has made no gesture on the ground towards re-establishing a climate of trust between our respective Governments. Indeed, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has maintained its support for the former Rwandan Army forces and the Interahamwe militias. In order to establish an alibi, that Government and its patrons quickly spread the rumour that the Rwanda Defence Forces had never fully withdrawn, thus justifying their attitude and the reoccupation of the territories of South and North Kivu, with the support of the Interahamwe, the ex-FAR, the Mai Mai rebels and Mbusa Nyamwisi’s RCD-Kisangani/Mouvement de libération.
Given the prevailing political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, my delegation would ask the Council to pressure the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to behave like responsible politicians who honour their commitments towards their neighbours and the international community; to persuade the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to respect the Lusaka and Pretoria Agreements in all their provisions, in particular those relative to Rwanda’s security concerns; to pressure the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to stop supplying weapons and ammunition to the ex-FAR and the Interahamwe militias; to remind the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that it must comply with the various resolutions of the Security Council calling on it to cut off all moral, political, logistic and financial support for the ex-FAR and the Interahamwe militias and to sunder its solidarity with the genocidaires; to persuade the Government not to shirk its governmental responsibilities and not to seek scapegoats to explain its inability to unite the Congolese and its political and military failures vis-à- vis the RCD-Goma; sufficiently to pressure the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to accept the establishment of a truly inclusive Government and a power-sharing arrangement in accordance with the Sun City Agreement; to ask the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to pull its forces back from the eastern part of the country to the positions they held before the withdrawal of the foreign armies, in compliance with the various agreements; and to strengthen the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and provide it with a clear mandate so as to prepare it to step in once the Interim Emergency Multinational Force has completed its task.
With respect to political developments in Burundi, my Government commends the initiative of the African Union, which decided to send an African force to assist in restoring trust among the belligerents and to help Burundi implement the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation and reintegration (DDRR) process. However, the Government of Rwanda continues to be concerned at the persistent refusal of the leaders of certain rebel factions of the Front pour la défense de la démocratie (FDD) and the Parti pour la libération du peuple hutu/Forces nationales pour la libération (PALIPEHUTU/FNL) to join the Arusha peace process. We earnestly ask the Security Council to put the necessary pressure on those groups to bring them to see reason and to respect the agreements and protocols signed in Arusha.
To conclude, my delegation, on behalf of my Government, would like to reiterate its keen gratitude to the mission of the Security Council and the Council as a whole for its resolve to find solutions to the complex questions that our region faces.
We hope that the Council, in its wisdom, combined with the resolve of the international community and the countries concerned by the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will arrive at a response to the various parties’ concerns, taking into account the previously signed agreements of Lusaka, Pretoria and Sun City.
The Government of Rwanda remains committed to supporting the multinational force charged with restoring peace in Ituri. To that end, the Government of Rwanda will spare no effort in associating itself with all countries of the region that desire peace, and with the international community, in order to find peaceful solutions for the crises haunting Central Africa, in particular the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I invite her to take a seat at the Council table and to make her statement.
Allow me to congratulate you, Sir, on behalf of my delegation, for the effective way in which you are guiding the work of the Council for the current month, and we thank you for convening today’s meeting. I would particularly like to thank Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who, since the outbreak of the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been personally committed to the search for ways to restore peace in the country. My congratulations and thanks also go to the members of the Security Council, who, under the enlightened leadership of Mr. Jean-Marc de La Sablière, the Permanent Representative of France, visited Central Africa from 7 to 16 June 2003 to carry out the mission that is the topic of the report just now presented by the Ambassador of France. I am convinced that the correct implementation of the report’s recommendations will clear the way to peace and enable the Congolese parties to overcome the remaining obstacles in order fully to implement the all-inclusive agreement on the transition in the country, signed in Pretoria in December 2002.
Since the signing on 2 April 2003 in Sun City of the final document on the inter-Congolese political negotiations, my country has spared no effort to implement its share of obligations. It will be recalled that on 7 April 2003, the head of State, General Major Joseph Kabila promulgated the Constitution of the transition and took office as President of the Republic for the period of transition. After taking office, he promulgated a decree granting amnesty for all acts of war and offences of political expression and opinion. He also suspended the court of military orders.
We must also note the unwavering resolve of my Government to accelerate the movement towards transition through the recent appointment of the first President of the Supreme Court and the State Prosecutor of the Republic, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the global and all-inclusive agreement.
Finally, I would like to remind the Council that to make the establishment of the transitional institutions irreversible, since 14 April 2003 the President of the Republic has convened in Kinshasa the first meeting of the Commission national de suivi tasked with preparing the establishment of the new institutions.
However, the dynamic of war, which has become permanently installed in the east, hinders the search for a political solution. In fact, the obstacles to the peace process continue. I think the Council was informed of that during its mission’s visit to my country. It does not seem to us to be difficult to identify the authors behind those obstacles. The observable lack of progress on the problem of the structure of, and the distribution of appointments in, the integrated Congolese army are the result of the intransigence of certain elements, in particular the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie-Goma (RCD-Goma), whose endless demands risk jeopardizing the entire process. Once it had obtained the Ministry of Defence, RCD-Goma then wanted control of the army.
The mission of the Council will undoubtedly recall that during its passage through Kinshasa, RCD-Goma forces decided to launch a large-scale offensive in the east, taking control of the town of Kanyabayonga. That behaviour is not only a violation of the all-inclusive agreement; it also constitutes a brake on the establishment of the transitional institutions. We can only deplore the fact that the resumption of hostilities initiated by RCD-Goma has jeopardized the chances for success of the DDRR operations led by the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). It is important for the Security Council to maintain pressure on the leaders of RCD-Goma and their supporters, in particular the Rwandese Government, so that the RCD-Goma will honour their commitments in accordance with the global and all-inclusive agreement and so that the Rwandan Government will desist from exercising its negative influence on the RCD-Goma and all other Congolese parties. No one is unaware of the negative role that Rwanda plays in that part of my country. No lie uttered by the representative of Rwanda could conceal the truth.
We hope that the interest generated by the visit of the Security Council mission will be maintained so that the trouble-makers can be prevented from derailing the process of the country’s normalization, for the people of the Congo aspire to peace and reconciliation.
I would like to stress that the situation in the east of the country is a cause of ongoing concern and risks jeopardizing progress at the national level. The political process undertaken by the Ituri pacification commission has stagnated as a result of the renewed hostilities between the Hema and the Lendu in the city of Bunia. The explosive situation prevailing there led the Security Council to authorize the deployment until 1 September 2003 of an Interim Emergency Multinational Force. Resolution 1484 (2003), which gave that force a mandate, underlines the strictly limited and temporary mandate of the Force, while the situation in Bunia requires a successful long-term solution.
That is why my Government, echoing the request made to the Council by the inhabitants of Bunia and by the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a whole, calls for the invocation of Chapter VII in order to change and to extend MONUC’s mandate in order to restore the peace and then maintain the peace.
In order to put an end to the cycle of violence in Ituri, in the Kivus and in the rest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, my Government would like to recall the need for a mechanism to address the issue of impunity, in keeping with paragraph 7 of Security Council resolution 1468 (2003), adopted on 20 March 2003.
The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo fully supports the recommendations in the report of the Security Council mission and hopes that the Council will take a decision so that it is binding in its application.
Mr. President, Tanzania would like to join others in welcoming you and the members of the Council back from the important mission you undertook in the Great Lakes region, which included a visit to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I hope you had the time to enjoy the bright sunshine in Dar es Salaam, which contrasts with the wet weather in New York.
We also want to thank His Excellency Mr. Jean-Marc de La Sablière, head of the Security Council mission team, for his leadership role and the oral briefing on the team’s findings.
As they say, “seeing is believing”. There is no doubt that the visit offered you an opportunity to assess the situation on the ground and to contemplate decisive measures to help the fledgling and still fragile peace process, both in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Burundi. We welcome the fact that the mission had an opportunity to meet all the key players, including the heads of State and the parties to the raging conflict in the region. We see a ray of hope on the horizon, given the commitment shown by the Council and, of course, the regional leaders, to see that impunity is not tolerated and that peace prevails in that war-torn region.
We find comfort in the fact that the Council, when determined to act, can act swiftly. We hope the momentum created in deploying an interim multinational force in Bunia will be followed by the deployment of a robust peacekeeping force. The position of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania was stated clearly by my President, His Excellency Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, when he met the mission. Needless to say, for the record, while the countries in the region recognize their responsibility and that of the Congolese and Burundi people in bringing lasting peace to the region, their efforts alone, however determined, will not be sufficient to stay the course of peace. This is why our leaders expect their efforts to be complemented by decisive actions and the support of the international community in the true spirit of partnership for peace.
The report of the Secretary-General (S/2003/566) offers a comprehensive roadmap, so to speak, towards peace-building in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly by reinforcing the presence of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and its mandate. There is not a single doubt, at least from all the statements made before the Council, that there cannot be a military solution to ending the violence and lawlessness in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere.
It is apparent from the Secretary-General’s report that the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration (DDRRR) programme is crucial for the peace process to remain on course. The challenge to the Council, therefore, is not to let the momentum ebb, but to move expeditiously to empower the MONUC force to ensure viable and sustained peace and security in the volatile areas, as recommended by the Secretary-General.
The prospects for lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will largely depend on the degree to which this Council can stand up to the process. Any delay can only be detrimental to the peace process to which all parties have committed themselves. It is our hope that the political groundwork that has been laid will be sustained, both in Burundi and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We urge the Council to walk an extra mile along the path to peace and stability in the Great Lakes region.
In conclusion, let me reiterate what President Mkapa asked of the Council as the way forward. His first suggestion was to look into the possibility of a non-aggression pact or similar mechanism that could promote mutual trust and dispel suspicion. Secondly, the spirit of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) should be advocated to encourage and support good governance and accountability in order to prevent some of the problems we face in the Great Lakes region from recurring. Thirdly, there is a need to promote, support and increase contacts among nations. Such contacts may include professional organizations and civil society, both of which could foster greater tolerance among Governments. Fourthly, better endowed countries could explore the possibility of helping to avoid wars by halting the proliferation of arms into potentially explosive parts of the world.
By addressing these four suggestions, we believe that the Council would be taking decisive action in addressing the root causes of the problems facing the region.
There are no further speakers on my list.
The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.