While hailing a recent accord on the withdrawal of Ugandan forces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), members of the Security Council today expressed “extreme concern” about the situation in the eastern part of the country and called for an immediate end to fighting by all sides there.
Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria, Council President for the month of September, said in a press statement that the members welcomed the signing of the Luanda Agreement on troop withdrawals and on the cooperation and normalization of relations between the DRC and Uganda.
“They are pleased to see that the process of withdrawal of foreign troops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is moving ahead,” he said. They were extremely concerned, however, by the gravity of the situation in the eastern part of the country and called for an immediate end to hostilities by all forces and armed groups in South Kivu, he added.
The members further stressed that the cessation of fighting in that region was necessary in order for the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) to be able to move ahead with the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, return or resettlement of armed groups, Ambassador Tafrov said, requesting the parties involved to create the conditions that will enable MONUC to carry out its mission.
Council members also demanded the cessation of the massacres in Ituri, and particularly in Bunia, and recalled that as long as its troops were there, Uganda was duty-bound to ensure the protection of the population, according to the statement.
“They call on all States in the region to bring their influence to bear so as to put a stop to the massacres in Ituri,” Ambassador Tafrov noted, and “appealed to all parties to work together to find an all-inclusive solution in respect of the results of the inter-Congolese Dialogue.”
The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, updated the Council during closed door consultations earlier Friday on the overall situation in the DRC.