Members of the United Nations Security Council today stressed the need for all warring armies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to stick to the schedules established for the disengagement of troops, regardless of concerns about another party's compliance with the process.
The 15-member Council met in closed consultations this morning on the situation in the DRC and heard a briefing by a top UN peacekeeping official on the recent incident in which 120 UN peacekeepers had been blocked from landing at Kisangani on Sunday by the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) rebel group. The soldiers - all from Morocco - remain at Bangui, in the Central African Republic, pending resolution of the matter.
The Council's President for the month of April, Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, said in a press statement after the meeting that the body's members had heard "with some concern" that there had been resistance by RCD-Goma to the deployment of the UN mission (MONUC). The Council said the obstruction was in contravention of resolution 1341 and of the agreement with all the parties on deployment.
Members of the Council, he said, were clear in their own minds that the fact that any party should have concerns or worries about another party not complying with the disengagement agreement was not a reason to block or resist the UN deployment. "That's the business of the Political Committee of the Lusaka Accord; it's the business of the Security Council; it's the business of MONUC on the ground and [MONUC chief Kamel Morjane], but it is not the business of another party to the agreement to take action in contravention of agreed schedules because they have worries about another party."
Members of the Council underlined the importance of adhering to the disengagement and MONUC deployment schedules and stressed that "all parties have to refrain from retaliatory action of this kind," Ambassador Greenstock said.
According to the Council President, a group of Kinshasa-based ambassadors from countries belonging to the Security Council is scheduled to go to Goma tomorrow to talk with the leadership of RCD-Goma to see if arrangements can be made to get back on schedule. They will be accompanied by MONUC Force Commander Major General Mountaga Diallo. "So there is diplomacy at work, and the Security Council supports that diplomacy, and we wait to hear a report of that further action and of Ambassador Morjane before we consider the matter further," he said.