9437th Meeting (AM)

Security Council, in Presidential Statement on Democratic Republic of Congo, Signals Readiness to Decide ‘Orderly’ MONUSCO Withdrawal by End of 2023

The Security Council today adopted a presidential statement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, commending the stabilizing actions of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and reiterating its call on all parties to continue their efforts to ensure full cooperation with it.

In doing so, the 15-member organ expressed its readiness to decide, by the end of this year and as a matter of priority, the future of MONUSCO and its gradual, responsible and sustainable withdrawal, as well as realistic and concrete steps to be taken in that regard.

By the text (to be issued as document S/PRST/2023/5), the Council encouraged the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue the efforts undertaken to ensure its primary responsibility to protect civilians within its territory and for the safety and security of United Nations personnel and assets.

It encouraged the Government and the United Nations, within the framework of the Joint Working Group — consisting of the Government, MONUSCO and the United Nations country team — to develop by November a comprehensive disengagement plan, as well as proposals for the progressive and orderly withdrawal of MONUSCO’s troops and gradual reduction of MONUSCO’s staff, in addition to defining practical modalities for the gradual transfer of tasks.

By other terms, the Council called for calm and increased dialogue between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to further durable peace in the region and underlined the importance of a political resolution of the current crisis.  It reiterated its support to regional efforts and urged all Congolese armed groups to participate unconditionally to those processes.

Addressing the issue of armed groups, the Council demanded the end of any further advances by the Security Council-sanctioned 23 March Movement (M23) and the immediate and full implementation of commitments made on the withdrawal from all occupied areas and its cantonment as agreed through the Luanda Process.

Further, the Council condemned support by any external party to M23 and demanded the cessation of such support and the immediate withdrawal of any such party from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as support to certain armed groups such as the Security Council-sanctioned Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) [Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda] and demanded the cessation of such support.

The Security Council encouraged the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue to work, with MONUSCO’s support, towards peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible processes for the elections scheduled in 2023, in accordance with the Constitution and the electoral law, throughout the country, to facilitate free and fair elections and to ensure the full, equal, effective and meaningful participation of women at all stages, as both candidates and voters.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking at the end of the meeting, recalled that President Félix Tshisekedi recently presented before the General Assembly his country’s vision with respect to MONUSCO’s withdrawal, which was then reaffirmed before the Council by Christophe Lutundala, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  He thanked Council members for their hard work resulting in the compromise text, noting that it lays the foundation for MONUSCO’s withdrawal in line with the will of the Government and the Head of State.  The text will be highly awaited by the Congolese people and allow for a decrease in tensions between the local population and the Mission, he added.

For information media. Not an official record.