Security Council set to begin mission to Africa to discuss Great Lakes conflict

14 May 2001

A delegation of the United Nations Security Council will leave New York tomorrow for Africa, where they will help the signatories to the 1999 Lusaka agreement on the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to boost their implementation of that accord, the French Ambassador to the UN and head of the Security Council mission said today.

Ambassador Jean-David Levitte told a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York that the 12-member mission was taking place now because a new stage had been reached in implementing the Lusaka agreement thanks to the Council's adoption of resolution 1341 last February.

Ambassador Levitte said that foreign parties to the conflict were expected to withdraw from the DRC during the mission's visit, and that Council members meeting with heads of States involved in the conflict would help resolve any problems in establishing an interim administration for those zones in which a vacuum would be created by the removal of foreign forces.

According to the French Ambassador, the situation in the Great Lakes region is different from the situation in Kosovo because the Lusaka agreement was reached by the parties themselves, and the settlement plan for the DRC was intended to be negotiated.

"The role of the Security Council is to help the parties implement agreements to which they themselves have agreed," he said. "The Council is supporting, but not replacing, elements. It is accompanying efforts, but not taking the parties' places."

From 16 to 25 May, the Council members will visit nine countries in southern and central Africa - South Africa, DRC, Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.

 

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