DR of Congo: Security Council lauds European Union international force in Bunia

3 September 2003

The United Nations Security Council today praised the European Union for deploying the French-led emergency force, which "helped avoid a humanitarian tragedy" in the troubled northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and was instrumental in stabilizing the flashpoint town of Bunia.

Current Council President Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom told reporters that the 15-nation body had been briefed on the completion of the mandate of the Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF), policing war-ravaged Bunia since June, and on Monday's transfer of security responsibility to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC).

Ambassador Jones Parry said the Council expressed its concern regarding the continuing hostilities in the region, in particular in Ituri and in the Kivus, and “members warned all parties against supplying arms, and not to engage in further violence.”

The Council authorized the deployment of the IEMF in late May to help stabilize the situation in the resource-rich Ituri province, and particularly in the flashpoint town of Bunia, where ethnic clashes between Lendu and Hema clans had killed more than 400 people. In mid-July, fighting in remote areas of the northeast, particularly in the Kivus, continued, even as the international community was welcoming the installation of a new power-sharing transitional government in the capital Kinshasa.

The Council followed that move in late July by approving a one-year extension of MONUC's mandate, as well as increasing its military strength to 10,800 troops up from 8,700, and instituting an arms embargo against all foreign and Congolese armed groups in the east of the country.

Today, the President said the Council members reaffirmed their support for MONUC and its chief, the Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, William Lacy Swing, and called on all Congolese and foreign parties to facilitate the fulfilment of their mandate.

“The members of the Security Council noted that MONUC has a Chapter VII mandate [which permits the use of force] on the basis of which it operates and continues to operate,” Ambassador Jones Parry added.

 

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