BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO TUESDAY, 31 MAY 2022 (3PM) STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF A3 BY AMB. MARTIN KIMANI, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE
Thank you, Madam President,
1. I have the pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the A3, namely, Gabon, Ghana and Kenya.
2. We welcome H.E. Christophe Lutundula, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to New York. We thank him for his brief, and appreciate his government’s determination to seek a stable and secure DRC in the face of immense odds.
3. We recognize that the fate of this giant country, bordering nine countries, in the heart of Africa, will determine in many ways the future of our region.
4. We also welcome the participation of the representative of Rwanda.
5. The A3 is encouraged by the positive regional developments in east and central Africa. The admission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the East African Community is a historic development.
6. The convening of the second Regional EAC’s Heads of State Conclave on the DRC in Nairobi is testament to the potential of regional integration to deliver hope for peace and security.
7. At a time when the world is transitioning to green technology, the entrance of the DRC into the EAC offers the opportunity to build a dynamic economic pole with a positive global impact.
8. The peace and stability of the DRC will mean decent employment and security for the people of Congo. It will enable a just global transition to green solutions powered by Congolese minerals extracted in an ethical and sustainable fashion.
9. The major roadblock to this happening is the chronic and protracted insecurity in the eastern DRC. For this reason, the A3 commends the DRC Government for commencing the Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue facilitated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in line with the outcomes of the Second Heads of State Conclave on the DRC.
10. We also welcome all the armed groups that are participating in the dialogue for their courage and commitment to the course for peace.
11. The briefing by H.E. Christophe Lutundula, leaves little doubt that the Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue holds great potential. After many years of chronic insecurity and instability in the DRC, this initiative holds great promise.
12. It is important that all the parties take ownership of the process and protect it.
13. They must take advantage of the EAC initiative and its other mechanisms such as ECCAS, the ICGLR, the African Union, and the UN.
14. The A3 remains deeply concerned about the dire security situation in the eastern provinces of the DRC.
15. The A3 strongly condemn all armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the region and urge them to immediately lay down their arms.
16. Armed groups, including a resurgent M23, continue to exact a heavy toll on civilian and civilian objects. Last week, at least 35 were killed in Djugu, Ituri province, and Beni, North Kivu province.
17. Terrorist groups are also operating in eastern DRC, including those affiliated to ISIS. These groups regard eastern DRC as a fertile ground for recruitment and generating wealth to undertake their operations around the world.
18. We reiterate our call on all armed groups to participate unconditionally in the Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue to resolve their grievances and embrace the call for peace and pursue opportunities for prosperity by prioritizing participation in the Country’s development.
19. On its part, UN and the international community should support the effective operationalization of the National Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Program (P-DDRCS) and work with the regional member States to find durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons, including their voluntary, safe and dignified return and reintegration in their communities of origin.
20. In light of the progressive drawdown and withdrawal of MONUSCO, it is imperative that this Council begin to take stock of the transfer of responsibilities to the Government of DRC. By strengthening its weapons and ammunition management system, in close cooperation with MONUSCO, the Government has shown commitment to ensuring the control and monitoring of weapons and ammunitions in its possession.
21. We therefore recommend that the Council respond favourably to the Congolese authorities' request to waive the notification requirement for the acquisition of weapons and reinforce its support to address the illicit proliferation and supply of weapons via trans-border criminal networks.
22. There is no question that poverty is both a root cause and driver of conflict and instability. Regrettably, the people of DRC have continued to languish in poverty despite the abundance of natural resources. The A3 encourages regional countries to implement their regional commitments including establishing and activating internal systems of control, monitoring and verification to eliminate illicit mineral trade.
23. We further encourage them to recommit to strengthening and implementing regional frameworks aimed at creating a peaceful environment conducive to the realisation of a secure and prospering region. In the same breath we encourage dialogue among the countries in the region with a view to address any issues of mutual security concern and diffuse any tensions that would undermine the ongoing peace efforts.
24. We commend the efforts of MONUSCO and international partners in promoting peace and security in the DRC. We reiterate our appreciation to the UN Secretary General and AUC Chairperson and all regional and global leaders for their support for the Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue.
25. The A3 and France have presented a draft PRST for this Council’s consideration and thank members for their robust engagement. We hope to see a strong endorsement of this initiative by the Security Council.
26. In conclusion, the A3 reaffirm its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I thank you!