November 22nd, 2007 04:04 EST
Security Council welcomes DR Congo-Rwanda agreement
The Security Council today commended the recent agreement of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda to work together against threats to peace and stability in the region, calling it “an important milestone towards the definitive settlement of the problem of illegal armed groups” operating in the turbulent far east of the DRC.
Ambassador Marty Natalegawa of Indonesia, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, read out a statement calling on authorities in the DRC and Rwanda to now implement fully the commitments they made in their joint communiqué, which was signed in Nairobi on 9 November.
Council members also voiced thanks for the role played by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios, who facilitated the process and signed the communiqué as a witness for the UN, and said it looked forward to his continuing consultations with governments in the Great Lakes region and with the wider international community.
“The Security Council recalls that the continued presence of illegal armed groups, in particular the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), ex-FAR/Interahamwe and the dissident militia of Laurent Nkunda, is one of the root causes of conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and constitutes a threat to regional stability,” the presidential statement said.
“The Council reiterates its demand that these groups lay down their arms and engage voluntarily and without preconditions in their demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration, as appropriate.”
Some 800,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in the eastern DRC this year, which has flared at a time when other regions of the vast African nation are rebuilding after years of war or misrule. The fighting has been greatest in North Kivu, but other provinces have also been affected.
Today’s statement, which follows a similar statement from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week, stresses that Council members remain fully committed to the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC.