Members of the United Nations Security Council today stressed the need for all parties claiming a role in the future of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to demonstrate their respect for human rights, international humanitarian law, and the security and well-being of civilian populations in areas under their control.
Reading a statement to the press, the current Council President, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, said members called on all Congolese parties to implement without delay the Pretoria Agreement of 17 December 2002, in order to establish a transitional government that should lead to elections in the DRC.
"Council members stressed the need for early action to resolve the key outstanding issues," the Ambassador said, "especially the question of security for all parties in Kinshasa and stressed the importance of adopting the Pretoria agreement in the framework of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue as soon as possible."
Deeply concerned at the resumption of fighting in eastern DRC and the continuation of instability in the northeast of the country, Council members urged the parties to abide by the terms of the Gbadolite Agreement signed on 30 December 2002, and in particular to cease immediately all military activities in the area. "They called on the swift implementation of the Luanda Agreement and the establishment of the Ituri Pacification Committee without further delay," the Council President said.
The massacres and systematic violations of human rights perpetrated by the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) and the Congolese Rally for Democracy/National (RCD-N) troops in the Ituri area were also strongly condemned by the members of the Council.
"Jean-Pierre Bemba, as the leader of the MLC, bears the responsibility for the security of civilian populations in the territory under his control," said the Ambassador, and "members of the Council demanded that Mr. Bemba ensure that these massacres and human rights violations cease immediately and that perpetrators be held accountable." Taking note of Mr. Bemba's relevant commitments, Council members also expressed their intention to continue to monitor the situation in this regard, on the basis of continuing investigations by the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Council members further stressed that it was important for the Governments of both Rwanda and the DRC to fully implement their commitments under the Pretoria Accord. They encouraged further efforts by MONUC and the Third Party Verification Mechanism to continue to verify implementation of these commitments, in particular the full withdrawal of Rwandan forces and the absence of all forms of support to the foreign armed groups by the Government of the DRC.
The statement also expressed the Council member's concern at reports of continuing sponsorship of proxy groups in the DRC, and called on both sides to cooperate fully with the verification efforts of MONUC and the Third Party Verification Mechanism.