The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today welcomed a tripartite agreement signed by the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda and designed to promote security in the conflict-wracked Great Lakes region of Africa.
The accord, endorsed yesterday in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, was the result of talks among the foreign ministers of the three countries, organized by the United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Don Yamamoto, which followed from an earlier meeting in Washington, DC.
The UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) attended as an observer, along with representatives of the European Union (EU) and Burundi.
At UN Headquarters in New York, meanwhile, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, Ibrahima Fall, briefed the Security Council on progress towards an international conference scheduled to start with a 19 to 20 November summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Two regional preparatory conferences have been held.
The conference is designed to sharpen the region's focus on peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development and regional integration, as well as on humanitarian and social issues.
"Members of the Council took note of the conference's principle of partnership and commended the role being played by the donors, including the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region. They reiterated their appeal to the international community to continue to provide sustained political and diplomatic, as well as adequate technical and financial assistance," British Ambassador Adam Thomson said in a press statement.
Britain holds the rotating Council presidency for October.
MONUC spokesman Mamadou Bah told reporters in DRC's capital, Kinshasa, that, contrary to Security Council resolutions, the Mission has suffered abuses at the hands of the DRC Special Presidential Guard in Kisangani. In addition to outright brutality, Mission staff had undergone searches of homes and vehicles, arbitrary detention, sequestering and confiscation of office materials.
Representatives of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in Lubumbashi on Tuesday to investigate why a uranium mine in Shinkolobwe collapsed in July, killing several people, he added.
The experts would also assess the level of radiation possibly emitted and the health and environmental effects of any contamination.
MONUC's chief of demobilization, Peter Swarbrick, told reporters that so far 11,185 people had been repatriated to neighbouring countries from the DRC.
Video of Council meeting [17mins]