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Security Council urges warring parties in DR of Congo to cease hostilities

Security Council urges warring parties in DR of Congo to cease hostilities

Amb. Richard Ryan addressing the press
Concerned by the increase in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at a time when the peace process there is entering a new phase of a national dialogue, members of the United Nations Security Council today called on all the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint in the military field.

In a statement to the press by Council President Richard Ryan of Ireland, the security body called on all countries in the region, in particular the Kinshasa Government, to cease all forms of support to the armed groups in eastern DRC. They also urged all foreign forces to begin their withdrawal from Congolese territory, in accordance with the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and Council resolutions.

The statement also called on all foreign forces, in particular Rwanda, not to reinforce their military contingence in the DRC, and on the rebel group Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) to demilitarize Kisangani. In this regard, it asked the Government of Rwanda to exert its influence on the RCD.

Welcoming the opening of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue on 15 October, the Council reaffirmed its support for the Facilitator, Sir Ketumile Masire, and his team. The members called on all Congolese parties to make every effort, with the participation of representatives of civil society, to ensure the success of the Dialogue in a spirit of consensus, and stressed that the Dialogue's most important stage lay ahead. They also encouraged donors to continue to support the Facilitator and to expedite the disbursement of funding.

On the humanitarian front, members of the Council voiced serious concern at the worsening relief and human rights situation in the DRC, in particular in the eastern regions. They also expressed concern at the illegal exploitation of the country's natural resources, pledging their support for the work of the expert panel tasked by Secretary General Kofi Annan with examining the issue.

The statement also called on the Lusaka signatories, in particular the Governments of the DRC and Rwanda, to reach agreement on a political framework for the disarmament process so that it can move forward. Council members were encouraged by the decision of the DRC Government to start the process with those cantoned in Kamina, in cooperation with the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC). "MONUC must have access to Kamina," the members said.

The Council recalled their readiness to support the peace process, but noted that it was up to the parties themselves to put the necessary conditions in place, in particular respect for the provisions of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.