Annan outlines steps to consolidate peace in DR of Congo

Annan outlines steps to consolidate peace in DR of Congo

While congratulating the leaders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for recent positive moves in the region, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged them to stay the course towards peace.

In a message delivered on the Secretary-General’s behalf by his Special Envoy, Mustapha Niasse, to a meeting in Pretoria of the Presidents of South Africa, Rwanda and the DRC, Mr. Annan cited recent incidents in Uvira as evidence that “the first days of a newly signed peace agreement are often the most fragile.”

He also encouraged Presidents Joseph Kabila of the DRC and Paul Kagame of Rwanda to urgently take a series of steps in order consolidate peace in the region.

The Secretary-General called for a “short, intense period of monitoring and continued verification” and a more active role by the DRC Government in the apprehension of those ex-FAR/Interahamwe members indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

He said the two countries must also act to advance the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants while establishing confidence in the eastern DRC. The leaders were called on to use their influence to promote the Inter-Congolese Dialogue and implement all agreements which may emerge from it.

Noting that significant progress had been made in the last few weeks in the negotiations for an all-inclusive power-sharing arrangement in the DRC, the Secretary-General voiced hope that this achievement would be consolidated. “All the Congolese components now seem to have agreed on a formula, and I hope that a final accord will be reached …and endorsed by the Inter-Congolese dialogue under its facilitator, Sir Ketumile Masire,” he said.

In the meantime, the Secretary-General said he was implementing a Security Council request to increase the political and military presence of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) in the eastern part of the country in order to encourage all local actors to engage in talks, end hostilities and agree on a basis for peaceful co-existence in the region.