Security Council considers next steps in DR of Congo peace process
The establishment of a transitional government in Kinshasa, the disarming of rebel groups, and the withdrawal of foreign troops are essential next steps to advance the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the head of a Security Council delegation just back from the region told the Council today.
Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France said the establishment of a transitional government of national unity in Kinshasa would not only help Rwanda deal with its security issues, but also enable the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to better discharge its functions.
He hailed progress in the Inter-Congolese dialogue, including the adoption of texts constituting a basis for a transition period leading to democratic elections, but cautioned that “there’s still a long way to go.” Stressing that the Inter-Congolese dialogue must produce an inclusive agreement “that leaves no one aside,” he said the parties must take part in the dialogue without preconditions and in an open spirit.
In order to take into account the security concerns of the DRC neighbours, the Council had put forward the idea of a “curtain” of troops, which had been well received by those concerned, Ambassador Levitte said. The concept would involve deploying – “for a limited time period over a limited space along the borders” – troops from neighbouring countries on Congolese soil. “That would be the last stage before complete withdrawal, in order to create a spirit of cooperation and trust between neighbouring countries that are destined to live side by side,” he said.
In the absence of success, the DRC risked being divided “into two antagonistic pieces, and this is of concern to us since we are committed to the search for peace and security for the Congo and its region,” he said.
On the situation in Burundi, he said that while considerable progress had been made, the peace process there remained fragile. He called for a cessation of hostilities, the implementation of reforms during the transition period, and international assistance to support the country. The process towards peace was well underway, but had not become irreversible, he cautioned.