Security Council Press Statement on Situation in Democratic Republic of Congo
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Vanessa Frazier (Malta):
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the recent series of attacks by the 23 March Movement, also known as M23, in North Kivu and the advances of M23 which are worsening security and stability in the region and further exacerbating the current humanitarian situation. They expressed their deep concern over reports of an incident involving a military aircraft of the Forces Armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and the Rwanda Defence Force, on 24 January, in the border area between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their demand for the immediate cessation of hostilities and of any further advances by M23 and its withdrawal from all occupied areas as agreed through the African Union-endorsed Luanda Process. They stressed the commitments undertaken by the region under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region not to tolerate nor provide assistance or support of any kind to armed groups. They strongly condemned all external support to non-State armed actors, including to M23, and called for an immediate end to such support. They remained deeply concerned by the intensification of intercommunal violence fuelled by hate speech, misinformation and disinformation.
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the recent attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Cooperative for Development of the Congo (CODECO) against civilians in Ituri and North Kivu. They demanded that all members of armed groups immediately and permanently disband, lay down their arms, reject violence, end and prevent violations perpetrated against women and children, and release children from their ranks. They urged all Congolese armed groups to participate unconditionally in the East African Community (EAC)-led Nairobi Process to seek political conditions in preparation for the disarmament, demobilization, community recovery and stabilization programme, and foreign armed groups to return to their countries of origin.
The members of the Security Council 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 sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.
The members of the Security Council urged the exercise of maximum restraint and called on all actors to remain committed to and abide by the decisions made at the 23 November 2022 Luanda Mini Summit of Heads of State. They reiterated their support to regional efforts by EAC Heads of State through the EAC-led Nairobi and Luanda Processes to rebuild trust, resolve differences through dialogue and to continue to make use of existing subregional organizations and mechanisms. They encouraged the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Huang Xia, to pursue his engagements with leaders of the region in support of ongoing peace initiatives.
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 reiterated their full support to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bintou Keita, and for the stabilizing actions of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).