Secretary-General lauds DR Congo-Rwanda agreement on threats to peace

12 November 2007

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today commended the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda for reaching agreement on a common approach to end threats to peace and stability in the two countries and the region.

“The agreement between them on a common approach and immediate, concrete steps to carry it out marks a significant breakthrough,” Mr. Ban said through his spokesperson.

“This approach offers an opportunity for the comprehensive resolution of the fundamental problems posed by irregular armed groups in the eastern DRC,” added the spokesperson, referring to a region where some 800,000 people have been displaced by fighting.

The Secretary-General reiterated his calls on all irregular groups operating in the DRC to lay down their arms, and “seize the opportunity for a normal life.”

The Joint Communiqué signed by both governments on 10 November includes measures to fight impunity.

Mr. Ban’s statement urged both Governments to act urgently to carry out all the agreed measures while calling on international partners to support these efforts and to increase humanitarian assistance to respond to the “dire situation on the ground.”

For its part, the UN is committed to supporting Rwanda and the DRC in their common approach, and to help ensure the protection of civilians, the Secretary-General pledged.

At the end of last month, Mr. Ban reacted to ongoing violence in the eastern DRC by sending his aide, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios, to the region with a mandate to “find ways to resolve the immediate crisis and to address its underlying causes.”

Mr. Menkerios held meetings with local authorities as well as representatives of the civil society groups, communities and other concerned players in the DRC before heading to Kigali earlier this month.

 

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