Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at the UNSC meeting on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

We thank SRSG Ms. Bintou Keita for her briefing. We welcome the participation of the representatives of the DRC and Rwanda in this meeting.

We are deeply concerned about the escalation of the situation in eastern DRC in connection with the resumption of offensive by the M23 militia, as well as by the related intensification of activities by other armed groups.

We have to reiterate that the ongoing military conflict in North Kivu is a core driver of the deterioration of the humanitarian situation. The number of internally displaced persons in the DRC is currently approaching 7.5 million. The use and deployment of heavy weapons near civilian objects has led to greater suffering of civilians and a significant increase in the number of killed and wounded. The shelling of settlements and camps for internally displaced persons must cease. The use of advanced weapons systems in the area of hostilities is also of serious concern to us.

It is necessary to prevent further deterioration of the situation, which could lead to serious repercussions for the entire Great Lakes Region. The problems in eastern DRC are deep-seated and require balanced and long-standing responses that would account for the fundamental interests of all parties concerned. We are convinced that only political solutions can lead to the establishment of conditions for lasting stabilization. We call for a cessation of hostilities and the full implementation of the agreements under the Luanda process. This should be facilitated by the expanded regional diplomatic efforts and mediation between Kinshasa and Kigali. It is clear that no progress on this track will be achieved unless the engagement of state bodies with the militias ceases.

 We often hear in the Security Council that a conflict may become "forgotten" due to escalation in other parts of the world. The crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the world’s oldest, with a bloodiest history and unprecedented casualties. Unfortunately, ongoing diplomatic efforts have yielded very limited results. We urge the countries who have political and economic interests in the region and can leverage the main protagonists to put the interests of the people of the DRC first. External destructive interference in the affairs of the DRC affairs is unacceptable. We are also confident that much depends on Kinshasa's effective efforts to stabilize the country, to strengthen the accountability of the security sector and State control throughout all regions, as well as its efforts to resolve inter-communal conflicts by launching an inclusive inter-ethnic dialogue.

We support the actions of MONUSCO and its leadership. The Mission's presence in the conflict zone is an important stabilizing factor. We recognize, however, that there exist some natural historical and political constraints on its work. We call for lessons to be drawn from its successes and failures as soon as possible, and in the most impartial manner. We unequivocally condemn attacks and violence against the Blue Helmets.

We note the completion of MONUSCO's withdrawal from South Kivu. This is an extremely important milestone for the Mission and for many years of peacekeeping efforts in the DRC under the auspices of the United Nations. The experience gained in the implementation of this phase should prove useful for subsequent phases.

While determining the next steps to take in organizing MONUSCO's withdrawal from the country, it is important to take into consideration the evolution of the situation on the ground, and to act in a flexible, incremental and responsible manner. It’s crucial to prevent the emergence of a security vacuum. At the same time, it is necessary to remain committed to implementing the fundamental decisions adopted by the United Nations Security Council.

We welcome the practical support that the Southern African Development Community is providing to Kinshasa to address the crisis. It is important to ensure the necessary level of coordination with MONUSCO and to identify effective modalities for joint efforts. We thank the United Nations Secretariat for preparing proposals on the parameters for possible assistance to regional forces by the Mission. We encourage our colleagues to consider the option of expanded support for the SADC contingent as part of region-wide efforts to stabilize the situation.

Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, will continue to assist in resolving the crisis in eastern DRC. We support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country.

I thank you for your attention.

Video of the statement