‘Negative forces’ at work in DR Congo threaten ‘largely peaceful’ relations across Great Lakes region, says outgoing UN envoy
The UN’s outgoing Special Envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region on Tuesday said countries there had made “important steps towards durable peace and stability” in the last 20 years, resulting in a region that is now “largely peaceful”.
Said Djinnit, told the Security Council that “this progress notwithstanding, the continue presence of negative forces in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), perpetuates insecurity and mistrust between some countries.”
He noted that allegations that some neighbouring countries had given support to some of the armed groups that operate with relative impunity in restive eastern DRC and across its borders, “continue to threaten cordial relations and stability”.
“They are compounded by the continuing illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources”, across the mineral-rich countryside of DRC, which has funded so much of the militia violence, said the envoy, and “the re-emergence of tensions between some countries of the region have further hampered efforts to yield the full potential of cooperation”, he warned.
Mr. Djinnit said that ending the chronic instability and violence resulting from armed militia activity, required the “sustained attention” of Council members, noting that “greater regional cooperation will be necessary to effectively neutralize the negative forces operating in eastern DRC, and transform natural resources into vehicles of shared prosperity.”
The Special Envoy – whose more than four-year term of office ends this month – said that there was a “continued need to strengthen existing confidence-building mechanisms” and “opportunities for dialogue” between the 13 countries of the region, “to address differences where they exist, and strengthen the trust and cooperation between them.”