The Security Council today called on the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to “swiftly approve” plans to begin joint operations between the Congolese military and the United Nations peacekeeping force to “neutralize” a rebel group with a long history of heinous crimes in the eastern regions of the vast country.
With the deadline for the unconditional surrender of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) having passed on 2 January, and no significant additional surrenders of FDLR combatants registered since June, the Council today called, in a presidential statement, on DRC President Joseph Kabila to swiftly approve and implement a joint Congolese and UN plan “to neutralize the FDLR by commencing military operations immediately.”
The Congolese military (FARDC) and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC, known by the French acronym MONUSCO, have been preparing for joint action since the rebel group missed the deadline set by the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Council’s statement follows a 7 January telephone conversation between President Kabila and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which the UN chief called for decisive action against the armed group and welcomed Mr. Kabila’s assurance that the DRC was ready to take action, with the available assistance of MONUSCO.
For its part, the Security Council reiterated the need to “put into sustained action the plans of the FARDC and MONUSCO through its Force Intervention Brigade…to neutralize the FDLR by commencing military operations immediately.”
Reiterating support for MONUSCO, the Council called on all parties, including troop-contributing countries, “to remain committed to the full and objective implementation of the mission’s mandate, including military operations to neutralize the FDLR.”
Also, the 15-member Council stressed that ending the threat of the FDLR, “including through robust military action” by the FARDC and MONUSCO, “is a critical and necessary component of civilian protection, and expresses its intention to take into account progress made in ending the threat of the FDLR in assessing next steps in the Great Lakes.”