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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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): Peace Process Update

Congo (Kinshasa): Peace Process Update
Date distributed (ymd): 011024
Document reposted by APIC

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at http://www.africapolicy.org

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

Region: Central Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+ +security/peace+

SUMMARY CONTENTS:

This posting contains excerpts from last week's report from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The full report is available at: http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/reports/2001/970e.pdf

The meeting of the inter-Congolese dialogue mentioned in the report was convened in Addis Ababa on October 15, but suspended after several days when the Congolese government delegation left. Talks will resume in South Africa at a date to be determined.

For more background on the inter-Congolese dialogue, see the web site of the facilitator's office ( http://www.drcpeace.org)

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

United Nations S/2001/970

16 October 2001

Ninth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

... The present report ... describes developments since my report (S/2001/572) of 8 June 2001.

II. Political developments

2. The overall situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to develop in a largely positive direction. The ceasefire has held and the disengagement of forces and their redeployment to new defensive positions is effectively complete. Some foreign forces have been withdrawn from the territory. The preparatory meeting of the inter-Congolese dialogue, which is an essential element of the peace process, was held successfully. At the same time, outbreaks of fighting have continued, if not intensified, in the east of the country. ...

5. During my meeting with President Kabila, on 2 September, I welcomed the Government's continuing adherence to the ceasefire on the confrontation line, but expressed grave disquiet over the continuing fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Government should use all its influence to bring the fighting in the east to an end and open a dialogue with the Government of Rwanda. In addition, it should cooperate with MONUC in the preparations for the demobilization of the soldiers of Rwandan origin located at Kamina. ...

6. I briefed the President on the Mission's plans for further deployment in the east of the country and requested the cooperation of his Government. During this visit, I conveyed the United Nations views on how to approach the disarmament, demobilization and repatriation of the armed groups. I also indicated that the positive response of the international community rested in part on continuing improvements in the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Finally, I expressed serious concern about the humanitarian situation and requested the Government to help improve access to populations in need.

7. On 3 September, I met with representatives of civil society and with the leadership of the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (RCD) in Kisangani. At my meeting with the RCD leadership, I insisted on the earliest possible demilitarization of the town in accordance with Security Council resolution 1304 (2000). I also stressed that the further deployment of MONUC would require the full cooperation of RCD ... The RCD leaders present indicated their agreement in principle with this approach.

8. On 4 September, I met with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, in Kigali and conveyed to him my views on how to move the peace process forward. In particular, Rwanda should use its influence to halt the fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It should also commence a process of reducing its military presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in accordance with Security Council resolutions, and maintain a dialogue with that country, that would include confidence-building measures. I also conveyed to President Kagame my views on how to approach the disarmament, demobilization and repatriation of the armed groups. President Kagame expressed his Government"s willingness to take back the Rwandan former combatants now in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The President reiterated, however, that those suspected of crimes against humanity would be subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Inter-Congolese dialogue

9. The preparatory meeting for the inter-Congolese dialogue was held at Gaborone from 20 to 24 August, in a spirit of conciliation and compromise. Some 70 delegates participated, representing the Government, the Mouvement pour la liberation du Congo (MLC), RCDGoma, RCD-ML, the political opposition in Government-controlled areas and civil society. The meeting adopted a draft agenda for the national dialogue, its draft rules of procedure, and decided that the dialogue would start on 15 October in Addis Ababa. ...

13. The facilitator has confirmed that the inter-Congolese dialogue will begin on 15 October. After consultation with the Congolese parties, it was initially envisaged that the dialogue would gather more than 300 participants. However, because funds pledged by donors had not yet been made available, he decided, following consultations with the Congolese parties, to revert to the Gaborone formula by calling for a reduced meeting of some 70 participants. Such a meeting would address several outstanding political and procedural issues. The facilitator intends to convene the plenary meeting of the dialogue once sufficient funds are available.

...

III. Military and security developments

20. The ceasefire along the confrontation line has held since January 2001, and the armed forces of the parties have separated and redeployed, apart from a few minor exceptions, to new defensive positions.

21. Despite the calm along the front line, however, and the absence of ceasefire violations within the disengagement zone throughout the period under review, the situation in the east remains highly volatile. The number of alleged ceasefire violations there has risen significantly ...

Status of deployment of the Mission

26. As at 15 October, MONUC had a total of 2,408 military personnel including 540 staff officers and military observers as well as 1,868 infantry personnel ...

Withdrawal of foreign forces

30. The Ugandan People"s Defence Force (UPDF) has largely withdrawn from the Equateur Province, leaving behind some elements in Lisala. However, UPDF has declared that it will maintain one battalion in Buta and two in the Ruwenzori Mountains in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, until a peace agreement is reached. They are also leaving a small force of around two companies in Gbadolite. The Namibian authorities indicated that they have already withdrawn their troops except for a small element still in Kinshasa and another stuck at Kamina because of logistical difficulties. The Zimbabwean Defence Force has declared the withdrawal of three battalions from Equateur Province and the eastern part of the country, but MONUC has yet to confirm this withdrawal. There have been no withdrawals by RPA. On 2 October, the Minister of Defence of Angola stated that his country was ready to leave the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ...

IV. Humanitarian aspects

41. The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to be very grave, which underlines the urgency of efforts to restore peace to the country. A recent study by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children"s Fund revealed that the vast majority of the population of 50 million people live on the equivalent of US$ 0.20 per person per day, and consume less than two thirds of the daily calories needed to maintain good health. Approximately 70 per cent of the population has little or no access to health care. The World Food Programme has estimated that 16 million Congolese have critical food needs. At the same time, humanitarian agencies have access to less than half of the estimated 2,041,000 displaced people in the country. ...

V. Human rights Government-controlled territory

45. The Government has made some progress in establishing human rights laws and standards. Some non-judicial detention centres notorious for torture and extrajudicial killings have been closed, and there is a growing awareness on the part of the authorities of the need for democratic decision-making, good governance and respect for the rule of law.

46. Human rights abuses continue, however. Despite the adoption of a law liberalizing political activities, registered political parties were prevented from conducting political activities on the grounds that they lacked the necessary prerequisites for approval. Moreover, human rights activists and journalists are being held in detention for speaking out on political issues. ...

Territory controlled by the Front de liberation du Congo

49. The human rights situation in FLC-controlled territory continues to deteriorate. Clashes between armed groups have intensified, and the wave of refugees from the Central African Republic into Equateur Province, many with arms, has contributed to the concern about human rights. ...

Territory controlled by the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie

51. In the eastern provinces, reports have been received that RCD authorities continue to intimidate and harass human rights activists and to make arbitrary arrests. The media are still restricted, and the property of the media is confiscated. ...

52. In North and South Kivu Provinces, the MayiMayi, Interahamwe and the Banyamulenge security forces have reportedly conducted a reign of terror and brutal repression, as well as massacres against sympathizers or even persons suspected of sympathizing with opposing camps.

53. In general, refugee and internally displaced women are often preyed upon by armed elements and have been the victims of torture, sexual and other abuse and ethnically motivated killings. Rape has been used as a weapon of war. The situation is particularly dire in the eastern provinces. ...

VIII. Next steps Disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration

59. MONUC has nearly completed the second phase of its deployment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and is now faced with the challenges of the third phase. The main tasks to be accomplished by the parties and requiring the assistance of MONUC during that phase include the total withdrawal of all foreign forces from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the disarmament and demobilization of the armed groups. It will also be necessary to find durable solutions to the problem of the armed groups, including the repatriation, resettlement and reintegration of ex-combatants into society.

60. ... The objective of the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration programme is therefore to create an environment, especially in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which will encourage the combatants and their families to take a step towards a better life without weapons. ...

62. In addition to an environment conducive to a successful disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration programme, it would be important for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to continue their dialogue, which should lead to a firm political understanding on the disarmament to reintegration process and the establishment of a joint coordination mechanism. Such a mechanism would serve as a useful partner for the international community and enable it to support the process through practical assistance and funding. ...

63. The objective would be to repatriate Rwandan former combatants to Rwanda as soon as possible after they are disarmed, rather than accommodating them for long periods in camps on Congolese territory. Screening of ex-combatants would largely be organized by the host country with the support of the United Nations. In this regard, it must be borne in mind that some members of the ex-FAR and Interahamwe took part in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. At the same time, however, a majority of armed group members in the east are not wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and many may be seeking ways of returning home to resume their lives in peace. ...

65. In preparing for activities relating to the disarmament to reintegration process, it must be recalled that the armed groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo did not sign the Lusaka Agreement and continue to take part in armed hostilities. Relatively few details are known about their activities and intentions. MONUC has had almost no contact with their leaders. It will be necessary to continue to gather as much information about them as possible as deployment proceeds. I expect the parties to assist MONUC in the gathering of such information.

66. ...there are also [other] armed groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo for whom political solutions need to be found as early as possible. Such groups include the Mayi-Mayi, ethnicbased Congolese militias and Burundian rebels.

Role of the United Nations

67. It is currently envisaged that the main role of MONUC in phase III would be to establish temporary reception centres where combatants could surrender their weapons, to be destroyed by MONUC in situ. The disarmed combatants would then undergo the first stages of demobilization. MONUC anticipates that many combatants will be accompanied by their dependants. It is therefore important that arrangements be made, in close coordination with United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, to meet the immediate needs of the women and children accompanying the combatants. ...

Step-by-step deployment

73. The United Nations is determined to do what it can to maintain the momentum in the peace process, including further deployments of MONUC into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The overall security situation in the eastern part of the country and the logistical constraints of deploying them are such that MONUC has no choice but to adopt a step-by-step approach. ...

74. The Mission"s initial objective in phase III would be to establish a mixed civilian and military presence, as well as a forward support base, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. This would probably contribute, as it has in other areas where MONUC has deployed, to a sense of security among the population and to a progressive resumption of economic and social activity in that part of the country. ...

75. The proposed operational and logistics base would be established at Kindu, which is located at the western fringe of an area characterized by many of the military, security, political and humanitarian and human rights problems that MONUC is likely to be confronted with in phase III. ...

77. Once MONUC has commenced operations at Kindu and in surrounding areas, it would be able, subject to the full cooperation of the parties, to assist in the disarmament and demobilization of the armed groups. ...

IX. Financial aspects

88. The General Assembly, by its resolution 55/ 275 of 14 June 2001, appropriated an initial amount of $200 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2001 pending submission of my proposed budget for the Mission for the full 12-month financial period ending 30 June 2002. ...

90. Since its establishment in October 1999, the Trust Fund to support the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has received voluntary contributions amounting to $1.1 million, with expenditures authorized to date in the amount of $0.4 million.

91. As at 30 September 2001, unpaid assessed contributions to the MONUC special account amounted to $246.9 million. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations at that date amounted to $3,291.9 million.

X. Observations

92. Despite difficulties, the overall situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to be favourable. The ceasefire along the confrontation line has held since January. The disengagement of forces and their redeployment to new defensive positions is almost complete, and some foreign forces have been withdrawn from the country.

93. The dangerous and persistent outbreaks of fighting in the east are very disturbing, however. During my visit to the region in September, I urged Presidents Kabila and Kagame to exert all their influence to bring the fighting to an end. Although much of the fighting in the east is attributed to armed groups, I strongly believe that much more can and should be done by the signatories of the Lusaka Agreement to stop it. Any military and logistical support provided to those armed groups should cease without delay. ...

94. At the same time, I welcome the withdrawal of Namibian and many of the Ugandan troops from the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ... I also urge Rwanda and other Governments concerned to accelerate their preparations to withdraw their troops, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1304 (2000).

95. The Government of Rwanda has declared that it is prepared to reinsert Rwandan former combatants into society in their own country. This would make a significant contribution to the process of healing the deep wounds caused by the genocide seven years ago. The United Nations stands ready to assist in this process.

96. I commend the neutral facilitator of the interCongolese dialogue and his team for the remarkable success of the preparatory meeting held at Gaborone from 20 to 24 August. I earnestly hope that the formal commencement of the dialogue in Addis Ababa will enable the Congolese parties, including political parties and civil society, to address the key questions that need to be answered as they contemplate a return to peace: national reconciliation, the nature of governance in their country, relations with their neighbours to the east and to the south, and relations between different communities within the Democratic Republic of the Congo itself. I trust that the parties concerned will ensure an adequate representation of Congolese women in the dialogue.

97. The most important tasks, however, still lie ahead. The Congolese parties must demonstrate their continuing commitment to the dialogue and cooperate fully with the facilitator and his team. At the same time, the support and assistance of the international community will continue to be needed. ...


This material is being reposted for wider distribution by Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Africa Action's information services provide accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

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