The United Nations Security Council today decided to send a high-level delegation to the Great Lakes region in early May in order to give new impetus to the flagging peace processes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi.
The mission will be led by Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, the current Council President, said in a statement to the press. He added that the 15 members would prepare the terms of reference for the mission in the coming days.
The announcement came after a closed-door briefing to the Council by UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno on his recent visit to the DRC and regional capitals.
According to a UN spokesperson, Mr. Guéhenno also discussed recent fighting in the southeastern part of the country, where there have been reports of an attack on DRC Army positions in the vicinity of Moliro, which the UN Organization Mission (MONUC) has not been able to verify independently.
Mr. Guéhenno also told the Council that the UN should work to maintain the momentum on the ground by completing the deployment of some 2,000 UN personnel to Kindu, working with the parties to resume traffic on the DRC’s rivers and repatriating the 1,900 Hutu militia currently located in Kamina.
In today’s press statement, Council members voiced “deep concern” about the reports of attacks on Moliro, demanding a halt to all fighting and calling on all parties to settle their differences through negotiations.
The members of the Council also called on the parties of the inter-Congolese dialogue to pursue their work in a spirit of consensus and encouraged the facilitators to pursue their efforts.
The statement also welcomed the deployment of MONUC to Kisangani and Kindu, in the eastern part of the country, and called on all parties to facilitate the process, especially by granting the Mission access to airports and port structures.
The Council repeated its call for the demilitarization of Kisangani, in keeping with resolution 1304, and called for the full reopening of the river, including to commercial traffic, Ambassador Kolby said, adding that the members noted with concern the interruption of UN humanitarian assistance due to lack of funding.