Security Council Press Statement on Situation in Great Lakes Region
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Michel Xavier Biang (Gabon):
The members of the Security Council met on 26 October to discuss the situation in the Great Lakes region. They were briefed by Xia Huang, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes and commended his efforts in support of the peace process in the region.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their concern at the resurgence of the M23 [23 March Movement] and at the increase of armed group activity in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, threatening to reverse progress in building trust within the Great Lakes region, worsening security and stability in the region and exacerbating the current humanitarian situation. They reiterated their strong condemnation of all domestic and foreign armed groups operating in the country.
The members of the Security Council called for intensified efforts to de-escalate tensions and to refrain from incendiary statements. They commended the political and diplomatic efforts by the East African Community Heads of State and the President of Angola to rebuild trust, resolve differences through dialogue and find sustainable peace and security, and to continue to make use of existing subregional organizations and mechanisms. They acknowledged the joint communiqué of the trilateral meeting between the Presidents of France, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.
The members of the Security Council acknowledged steps taken to operationalize the Regional Force and the deployment of forces of Burundi and Uganda and stressed the importance of the protection of civilians and of coordination and information sharing with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). They stressed the need to carry out all operations in strict compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable. They encouraged the continued support of the Special Envoy and of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO.
The members of the Security Council called on all armed groups to immediately cease all forms of violence and urged all Congolese armed groups to participate unconditionally in the disarmament, demobilization, community recovery and stabilization programme, and foreign armed groups to immediately disarm and return to their countries of origin.
The members of the Security Council underlined the importance of non-military measures, including those related to economic development, cooperation and integration, to address existing challenges and as a driver for regional peace, and support to national initiatives which further improve good governance, anti-corruption, transparency and the economic level playing field.
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the illicit exploitation of and trade in natural resources by armed groups and transnational criminal networks supporting them which undermines lasting peace and development. They called for further steps to address the financing of armed groups through the illicit exploitation and trade of natural resources in particular through strengthening relevant national regulatory and law enforcement capacities in order to guarantee transparent and responsible mineral sourcing supply chain due diligence and to lay the basis for the legal productive use of natural resources and by a swift implementation of the recommendations of the Khartoum high-level workshop, with a view to contribute to peace building and sustainable development.
The members of the Security Council underlined the importance of the rule of law and regional judicial cooperation and called upon all actors to comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and to ensure accountability for violations, including through regional mechanisms and frameworks, and to effectively support measures of conflict prevention, by ending a culture of impunity. They encouraged efforts to advance the women, peace and security agenda and the youth, peace and security agenda in the region.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They reaffirmed their full support to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General and called on the international community to continue supporting regional countries and organizations in their efforts, including the East African Community-led Nairobi process and the Luanda process, to advance towards peace, security and development, including through sustained support to the implementation of the United Nations Strategy for Peace Consolidation, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes region, as well as its Action Plan and the implementation of the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework.