Statement of the A3+1 during the UNSC meeting
on the Great Lakes Region
Monday, 12 April 2021
1. I have the pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the A3+1, namely, Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
2. Let me first express our appreciation to Mr. Huang XIA, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, and H.E. Mr. Mohamed Edrees, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) for their comprehensive and informative briefings on the situation in this region and on the activities of their respective offices.
3. Our statement will focus on the security, political and humanitarian situation, as well as the prospects for the region in light of the implementation of the Peace Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework.
4. The A3+1 notes with satisfaction the relative decline in cross-border security incidents during the reporting period and commends the collaborative response efforts by regional States.
5. We are equally encouraged by the positive political dynamics in the region following the holding of elections in Tanzania and Uganda as well as efforts of the leaders of countries in the Great Lakes region to further strengthen and normalize their relations.
6. We are confident that President Tshisekedi’s leadership of the African Union (AU) will foster improved cooperation across the Great Lakes region.
7. Nevertheless, we remain deeply concerned about the volatile security situation in eastern DRC which continues to be a bleeding sore in the region. In this regard, we strongly condemn the hostile activities and deadly attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which have had destabilizing impact in the whole region.
8. The 22nd of February attack on World Food Programme (WFP) convoy in north-eastern Goma was very indicative of the highly sophisticated operational capacity of such groups.
9. While reiterating that the perpetrators should be held accountable and brought to justice, we underline the need to expedite the establishment of critical national and regional disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration frameworks.
10. We support the reconfiguration of MONUSCO, as proposed by the United Nations secretariat, with a view to ensuring that the Mission remains fit for purpose. We underscore the need for enhanced close collaboration between the Mission and the Armed Forces of the DRC including through information sharing and coordination of activities to effectively neutralize local and foreign armed group activities.
11. We further call for enhanced and sustained support to the national defense and security institutions in readiness to assume its primary responsibility of protection of civilians in eastern DRC.
12. On the Central African Republic, we welcome the adoption of Resolution 2566 (2021) on the reinforcement of MINUSCA. We support dialogue between the CAR government and the civil opposition for the implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation, fully aware that there is no military solution to the situation.
13. We recognize the valuable role of both the PBC, alongside its key partners such as the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs), and the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), in supporting cross-border cooperation in the region in the context of the PSC Framework, including ongoing support for enhanced security cooperation, reconciliation and social cohesion, inclusive local governance, community reintegration of ex-combatants and durable solutions for displaced populations.
14. In addition to these security challenges, the region continues to be adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic which is impeding the delivery of humanitarian assistance and exacerbating the already dire humanitarian conditions of millions of individuals, who have been displaced in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC.
15. We invite regional States to enhance their cooperation on cross–border humanitarian issues, including on refugee flows, and call on international community to provide adequate assistance to these vulnerable groups.
16. We underscore our concern about the worrying increase in attacks against the civilian population and the worsening human rights situation in Eastern DRC where armed groups and various militias continue to commit serious violations.
17. We commend the efforts aimed at addressing these human rights and rule of law violations and ensuring accountability. We further encourage the implementation of the 2019 Nairobi Declaration on Justice and Good Governance.
18. The full and effective implementation of the PSC Framework by all signatory States, remains the critical key to bring peace, stability, and prosperity to the region. In this regard, the A3+1 commends the ongoing political efforts by signatory States to fulfill their commitments according to the PSC framework provisions. We equally value the support of regional and subregional organizations in this process.
19. The endemic proliferation of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) in the region has exacerbated fragility and insecurity in the region. We encourage an enhanced regional approach including through the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) and in this regard, welcome the 10th Council of Ministers meeting to be held in Kinshasa later this month.
20. The A3+1 is hopeful that the United Nations Strategy for Peace Consolidation, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes region, suggesting a whole-of-system approach to the Great Lakes region, will serve as a supporting tool to the implementation of PSC framework and further enhance the nexus of peace, security, justice, and sustainable development in the entire region.
21. In this regard we commend the efforts of the Special Envoy and his able team in promoting peace and security in the region through good offices, mediation, and preventive diplomacy as well as capacity-building activities which are mutually benefiting to the countries of the region.
22. We further acknowledge the efforts by the Special Envoy to address longstanding challenges posed by the illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources in the sub-region. We therefore look forward to his roadmap document towards the transparent and sustainable management of natural resources.