The situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Kinshasa’s Delegate Says ‘State of Siege’ Will Be Lifted When Conditions Improve
Noting the ongoing security challenges in several provinces, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today called on the Security Council to continue providing its “full backing” to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in that country.
Bintou Keita, who also heads the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), briefed the 15‑member Council on the contents of the Secretary‑General’s latest report on the situation. She was joined by Abdou Abarry (Niger), Chair of Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who reported on the sanctions regime’s recent activities.
Outlining some elements of a proposed MONUSCO transition plan — which lays out benchmarks for the Mission’s drawdown and eventual exit — Ms. Keita said the plan was jointly developed by the United Nations and the Congolese authorities. Describing it as a “roadmap that can help guide the work of the Mission in the coming years and prepare the ground for its orderly and responsible withdrawal”, she nevertheless cautioned that the plan must not obscure the work that remains to silence the guns in the east, foster the political dialogue necessary to pave the way for credible and transparent elections in 2023 and support the long‑term strengthening of the country’s institutions. Therefore, MONUSCO still needs the Council’s full support, including its endorsement of the transition plan with adequate financial resources.
Nelly Godelieve Madieka Mbangu, Coordinator of the civil society group Sauti y’a Mama Mukongomani/Voice of Congolese Women, remarked that the state of siege recently declared by President Félix Tshisekedi in North Kivu and Ituri provinces allowed MONUSCO and the State armed forces to defeat militant groups and restore State authority in some areas. The goal, however, is to eradicate all armed groups. She urged the Council to help strengthen MONUSCO’s rapid reaction units to meet the security needs in the east, and to support the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. The Council can also help restore State authority and set up an international investigative mechanism for crimes of genocide committed in the country, she said, also drawing attention to the dynamic work of Congolese women and highlighting the importance of their participation in the peace process.
In the ensuing discussion, Kenya’s representative, speaking also for Niger, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said the transition plan must be implemented following a clear evaluation and assessment of the benchmarks achieved. Those should include an efficient transfer of important tasks, such as early warning networks, to the host Government, and enhanced peacebuilding efforts focused on socioeconomic development towards post‑conflict reconstruction.
France’s delegate emphasized that a “partnership logic must prevail”, with the Mission continuing its stabilization efforts and protecting civilians. Noting that an improved security situation in Tanganyika province will permit MONUSCO’s withdrawal from the area in 2022, he called for a credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful process to that end.
The representative of the United Kingdom stressed that the Government bears the responsibility for creating long‑term conditions for peace and for the Mission’s withdrawal. Minimum benchmarks must be met, while MONUSCO hands over tasks to the United Nations country team and the Government against clear timelines.
The Russian Federation’s delegate, noting that the national armed forces and MONUSCO have yet to curb numerous illegal militant groups, said that Moscow will carefully study the Mission’s proposed transition plan.
Several speakers condemned allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by United Nations personnel in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the representative of the United States demanding greater accountability for “such predatory behaviour” and assistance to victims.
The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reiterated his request to the Council to lift restrictions on the import of military supplies and enable the State to enhance its capacity to combat armed groups. Among other things, he also called for severe and exemplary punishment against criminal groups or multinationals who support armed groups through the illegal exploitation of minerals.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Ireland, India, Norway, Mexico, China, Viet Nam and Estonia.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 11:53 a.m.