The Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and neighbouring Rwanda have agreed to a joint mechanism to address border security issues, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced today.
The new technical body, first discussed in June at a summit convened by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, will be launched in October and be known as the Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM). It will comprise experts from the Governments of both countries as well as the UN and the African Union.
A statement issued by a spokesman for Mr. Annan said the Secretary-General "believes that the JVM will be an effective instrument of confidence building" and looks forward to the active engagement of the Regional Support Group in future efforts to help the DRC and Rwanda to normalize their bilateral relations.
In his latest report on the DRC, the Secretary-General said a regional support group composed of African personalities "could be envisaged to increase confidence-building, at the political level, between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbours."
Mr. Annan's announcement today followed a working lunch he hosted for DRC President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan Prime Minister Bernard Makuza as well as members of the Regional Support Group.
In a related development, Mr. Annan also welcomed the statement adopted today by the International Committee in Support of the Transition (known by its French acronym CIAT) that endorsed the "critical path" of the DRC transition, called for a mechanism for sustained dialogue between the Committee and the country's transitional institutions, and urged the international community to provide the assistance in military integration and police training.
The Secretary-General welcomed CIAT's call on the international community to harmonize its political and economic strategies by carefully calibrating its political goals and financial and material assistance as a means of encouraging the DRC's authorities to move the transitional process forward.
"He stresses that at this critical juncture of the peace process in the DRC, the international community must increase its involvement to ensure that the progress achieved to date is consolidated, and that many outstanding tasks of the transition are completed," the statement by Mr. Annan's spokesman said.