Expressing its concern that foreign armed groups remain in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Security Council today deplored the failure of a Rwandan rebel group to disarm and repatriate, as it had pledged to do in March, and welcomed the DRC's plans to disarm an incoming Ugandan rebel group.
The Security Council deplored "the failure of the Forces démocratiques pour la liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) to proceed with the disarmament and repatriation of their combatants and exhorts them to do so without further delay and in accordance with the declaration they signed in Rome on 31 March," according to a statement read by the Council president for October, Ambassador Mihnea Ioan Motoc of Romania.
The Council recognized the decision taken in New York on 16 September at a joint ministerial meeting of the DRC, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, all members of the "Tripartite Plus Joint Commission" which includes the United States, to set a deadline of 30 September for the FDLR to disarm, or face measures compelling them to do so.
Taking note of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special report of 26 September on the peacekeeping United Nations Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), the Council said the FDLR could no longer remain as an armed group in the country.
The Council demanded that the FDLR seize the opportunity to disarm voluntarily and "return to Rwanda without any delay or preconditions." It commended the DRC Government and MONUC for the political and military pressure they had placed on the FDLR and welcomed the steps taken by the Rwandan Government, with the international community's support, to peacefully repatriate FDLR members returning home.
The Council also demanded FDLR's full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on the arrest and transfer of those who have been indicted in connection with the 1994 genocide but who remain at large.
The Council noted with concern the incursion of members of the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army into the DRC and welcomed the intention of the DRC Armed Forces, in cooperation with MONUC, to disarm the group.
Calling on all armed groups in the Great Lakes region to lay down their arms and join the political transition processes under way in the region, the Council urged the States in the region to deepen their cooperation aimed at ending the activities of illegal armed groups.