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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Congo (Kinshasa): Security Council

Congo (Kinshasa): Security Council
Date distributed (ymd): 000126
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Central Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+ Summary Contents:
This posting contains excerpts from remarks at the special Security Council meetings on the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The full text of these remarks and other related documents can be found on the UN web site at http://www.un.org/News

Another posting today contains a related report from the World Policy Institute.

For additional references, visit the Africa Policy web site (http://www.africapolicy.org). The new search engine on the site (http://www.africapolicy.org/search.htm) provides a rapid and efficient way to find additional documents.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

24 January 2000

Press Release SG/SM/7284 SC/6790

Secretary-General, Addressing Security Council, Urges African Leaders to Strengthen "fragile" Peace Process in Democratic Republic of Congo (excerpts)

When war again erupted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in August 1998, barely a year had elapsed since the end of the country's previous conflict, which itself had followed decades of dictatorship and misrule. In succeeding months, violence intensified. Human rights violations multiplied. ... The entire subregion has been engulfed in a crisis of such complexity that it continues to defy our best efforts to resolve it. ...

In July last year, a mediation effort led by President Chiluba of Zambia on behalf of the Southern Africa Development Community, and with the support of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), resulted in the signing of the Lusaka peace agreement. Since then, however, there have been many ceasefire violations, which have caused fresh suffering. The deployment of United Nations military liaison officers has been obstructed, undermining confidence in the implementation process. The belligerents must do better.

The Lusaka Agreement remains the most viable blueprint for resolving grievances and achieving a comprehensive negotiated solution. But if peace is to take hold, and if international engagement is to be sustained, the warring parties face a paramount challenge: they need to demonstrate the political will to apply the agreement fully, without further delay. All else flows from this essential requirement.

Ultimately, we will only find a sustainable solution to this crisis if we address its root causes. That is why the drafters of the Lusaka Agreement placed inter-Congolese negotiations at the heart of the process. This dialogue is indispensable. The Congolese signatories, with the assistance of the OAU, have taken an encouraging first step in designating Sir Ketumile Masire, former president of Botswana, as the neutral facilitator for these negotiations. His prestige, expertise and moral authority can help reinvigorate the Lusaka process. ...

If the United Nations is to make the right kind of difference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and avoid the wrong turns that have led to tragic consequences elsewhere, we must be ready not only to act, but to act in a way that is commensurate with the gravity of this situation.

Whether that means intense political engagement, a sustained commitment of resources or decisive action in the face of unforeseen circumstances, we must see this involvement through.

At the same time, we must guard against creating inflated expectations of what can be realistically expected from the United Nations. And we must never lose sight of our central dependence on the compliance of the parties involved. ... the parties themselves bear primary responsibility for adhering to commitments and creating the conditions conducive to progress.

Time is of the essence. By their presence here, at today's meeting and tomorrow's "mini-summit", the leaders in this room have a chance to reaffirm their commitment to the Lusaka Agreement. ... The United Nations is here to help. But the United Nations has also had bitter experience of help gone wrong. This has made Member States profoundly uneasy and raised the threshold of persuasion for new involvements, even when suffering claims our attention and solidarity demands that we act. If this is an illness of our international system, leadership can provide an antidote.

Your challenge is to reach consensus with each other, and transform that consensus into action. This will lay the groundwork for progress on your own. Just as important, it will offer a convincing argument in favour of the international support that Africa merits and which can help bring about a decisive change for the better.


Press Release SC/6789 24 January 2000
(brief excerpts from 90K document)

Call for Support for Lusaka Agreement, Speedy Establishment of UN Peacekeeping Mission

Seven African Heads of State addressed the Security Council's day-long meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo today, stressing the need for resolute international support for the peace process and for speedy establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in that country. ...

Frederick J.T. Chiluba, President of Zambia, said resolution of the conflict should not be an "us-versus-them" situation. The parties to the conflict, and its immediate victims, might be African, and the Ceasefire Agreement might have been signed by Africans, but it was not "their" conflict or "their" Agreement. ... If the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement failed, it would be a failure of each and every Member State. ...

In her opening remarks, Madeleine K. Albright, Secretary of State of the United States, as President of the Council, said her country was providing $1 million to assist the work of the Joint Military Commission. "We will work with Congress to provide $1 million this year to the former President of Botswana Ketumile Masire's efforts to facilitate the Congolese national dialogue", she added. ...

The Secretary-General [in his report] concludes that the deployment of additional United Nations military personnel should contribute to restoring momentum for the implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. ... The Secretary-General states that, in view of its essential role, the Joint Military Commission must be established soon on a permanent basis, so that it can react swiftly to events and provide credible and authoritative decisions. .... Designation in December of the former President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire, as the neutral facilitator for the inter-Congolese dialogue has elevated the prospect that the rest of the Lusaka peace process will now be implemented, with the assistance of the OAU. On 11 December 1999, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Kamel Morjane (Tunisia), assumed his duties in Kinshasa.

Regional efforts and initiatives undertaken in support of the peace process, including those by heads of State in the region, are to be commended, the Secretary-General states. Provided the parties agree to take the necessary steps, he recommends the deployment of four reinforced protected infantry battalion groups, accompanied by up to 500 military observers, two marine companies and the supporting military personnel and equipment, and the additional civilian personnel required. Until full deployment of a United Nations force, the role of the Joint Military Commission will remain crucial.

In order to permit the Joint Military Commission to fulfil its functions, the Secretary-General appeals to donors to provide the resources necessary to support its operations. ... in order to be effective, any United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo would require the deployment of thousands of international troops and civilian personnel.

It would face tremendous difficulties and risks. Despite the fact that the deployment of a MONUC peacekeeping operation might create inflated and unrealistic expectations, the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement remains the best hope for the resolution of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, for the time being, the only prospect of achieving it.

With the renewed commitment of the parties to the Lusaka Agreement, fully supported by the international community, diplomatic efforts may yet succeed in resolving the crisis, the Secretary-General states. If the Agreement is to be carried out as signed, the formidable tasks expected of the United Nations will need to be carefully evaluated. In particular, it will be necessary to reflect on the question of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the armed groups in order to develop a realistic plan of action.

The United Nations can play an important role if it receives the necessary mandate and resources, the Secretary-General continues. A large-scale United Nations peacekeeping operation would provide assistance in the disengagement and withdrawal of combatant forces; provide security for the operations of United Nations military personnel; and work towards eventual disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, including the armed groups identified in the Lusaka Agreement. ...

Regarding financial aspects of the situation, the Secretary-General reports ... commitment authorities totalling $41 million for the United Nations preliminary deployment in the subregion and for the establishment and maintenance of MONUC for the period from 6 August 1999 to 1 March 2000. That amount includes the funds necessary for equipping 500 military observers and an additional 100 civilian support personnel, ...

FREDERICK J.T.CHILUBA, President of Zambia:

According to the calendar for the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement, which the parties had agreed upon, most of the activities should have been completed by this time, including the inter-Congolese national dialogue, establishment of new institutions and disarmament of armed groups. Deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping mission would long have begun and the orderly withdrawal of foreign forces from the Democratic Republic would be in its final stages of completion. However, it was common knowledge that the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement was way behind schedule in almost all respects. ...

One of the major causes of the delay in implementing the Ceasefire Agreement had been lack of funds for the Joint Military Commission, he continued. The pledged contributions by the international community had not been adequate. Worse still, most of the pledged contributions were yet to be made available to the Commission. ...

He was very concerned when he heard about what appeared to be preconditions being raised in regard to the Democratic Republic, he continued. The international community was reluctant to send peacekeepers to the Democratic Republic, unless the Lusaka Agreement registered "a perfect score on some performance chart". No other ceasefire agreement had been subjected to that test. There was no peacekeeping that did not involve some degree of risk. He was not suggesting that the international community should indulge in reckless adventure in the name of peacekeeping. It was incumbent on all, and in particular the parties to the conflict, that the peacekeepers were given all necessary support and protection. ...

JOAQUIM ALBERTO CHISSANO, President of Mozambique, said that a durable solution to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo required strong concerted action from the subregion, the continent and the international community as a whole. ...

The SADC believed that the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement remained the only valid instrument for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Democratic Republic, he said. The ceasefire in the Democratic Republic was fragile and sensitive. Any solution for the conflict demanded a strong and structured partnership between the United Nations, the OAU and the SADC. The international community should not wait for a perfect ceasefire in the Democratic Republic before playing a meaningful role in that country's peace process, or sit idle and witness the collapse of the process. ...

The Security Council had the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and should not, therefore, transfer that responsibility solely to the belligerents, to the neighbouring countries or to the region, he continued. ...

The SADC supported the Secretary-General's proposal and urged the Security Council to adopt a resolution authorizing the deployment of the military liaison officers as the next step for a subsequent robust United Nations presence in the Democratic Republic, he said. It should be made clear that that was only an intermediary phase for the speedy deployment of a full-fledged United Nations peacekeeping operation. The situation in the Democratic Republic could no longer afford further delays in the establishment of a full-fledged United Nations peacekeeping mission with an appropriate mandate under Chapter VII and adequate numbers, taking into account the size of the country and the magnitude and complexity of the conflict.

The situation demanded urgent action, he said. ... He asked what credibility would the Security Council have if its role was to keep the peace only in countries where the people themselves had already done that job fully? He recalled that Mozambique had to wait six months after a peace agreement had been signed for the arrival of peacekeepers. Mozambicans knew the damage caused by such delay and hesitation. ...

SALIM AHMED SALIM, Secretary-General of the OAU, said that hardly a day passed without initiatives, measures and efforts being made by Africans to address the various challenges confronting the continent. As crucial as those efforts were, they needed to be strongly supported by the rest of the international community. ...

Turning to the difficulties in the process of the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement, he said that the OAU had to work hard to mobilize the necessary financial and logistical support to facilitate the establishment of the Joint Military Commission at its temporary headquarters in Lusaka and the deployment of the local commissions in three out of the four identified areas within the Democratic Republic. The enthusiasm and goodwill that had been demonstrated by the partners at the time of negotiations and signature of the Agreement were not accompanied by the required level of support. ...

The support of the African States and of the rest of the international community would also be needed for the commencement of the inter-Congolese political negotiations and dialogue, he continued. ... However, it was necessary to be mindful of the fact that the role of the international community was, of necessity, to be limited in scope. It should allow the people of the Democratic Republic, through an all-inclusive process, the time and space they needed to negotiate.

There was an urgent need for the effective presence of United Nations military observers and peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic, he said. In that respect, he hoped that the parties concerned would extend the necessary cooperation to facilitate such a deployment. ... Africa expected that the deliberation of the Council would result in a clear commitment for the speedy deployment of United Nations military observers and peacekeeping forces, the size and mandate of which should be commensurate with the magnitude of the crisis, he said.

Indeed, the perception that the Council had been hesitant in mandating the deployment of a force for the Democratic Republic had served to undermine the speedy implementation of the Lusaka Agreement. It had also served to strengthen the conviction that there was an unfortunate imbalance in dealing with African crises. ...

Sir KETUMILE MASIRE, former President of Botswana and facilitator of the inter-Congolese dialogue, said the unprecedented session of the Council dedicated to the discussion of African issues would help alleviate suspicions, fears and concerns over the commitment of the United Nations and the wider international community to matters related to peace, security and stability on the African continent. ...

He said it was precisely in recognition of the linkage between the military and political aspects of the conflict that the ceasefire document underlined the need for inter-Congolese political negotiations. For the success of the all-inclusive inter-Congolese political negotiation leading to national reconciliation, he, as the facilitator, should be responsible for, among other things, making the necessary contacts aimed at the convening of the inter-Congolese political negotiations within an environment conducive to all participants.

He said he was under no illusion that the negotiations would be anything but difficult and arduous and he could not claim to have answers to the problem in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the current time. Also no one in the international community should be so presumptuous as to think they knew more about what was best for the Congolese themselves. ...

He said the most critical challenge to facilitating the political dialogue would be to determine the nature and content of the dialogue, establish the criteria for participation, and determine how to organize the infrastructure that would provide the necessary backstop for negotiations.

The current pronounced goodwill of the international community should be translated into concrete assistance. International pressure should continue to be exerted on all the parties to remain committed to resolving problems in the Democratic Republic of the Congo through peaceful means. ...

NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, said the Lusaka Agreement must be implemented by all concerned. Her country reaffirmed its neutral role in the search for lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and her Government was committed to assisting the Joint Military Commission by providing logistical support. ... She said the Security Council should, without delay, authorize the deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ...


This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary objective is to widen international policy debates around African issues, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

URL for this file: http://www.africafocus.org/docs00/conk0001.php