Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
We thank Asisstant Secretary-General Martha Pobee and Special Envoy Huang Xia for their briefings. We welcome Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo H.E. Mr. Christophe Lutundula to this meeting, as well as representatives of Uganda and Rwanda.
Like other Security Council members, we are gravely concerned over an outbreak of armed confrontation in eastern DR Congo. We do hope that armed forces of the DRC in collaboration with UN peacekeepers and international partners will be able to regain control of the security situation swiftly and prevent further escalation.
On a separate note, DRC armed forces and MONUSCO Blue Helmets are truly committed to fulfilling their duty. They daily risk their lives for the sake of maintaining peace in the east of the DRC.
Today, putting an end to hostilities and starting a dialogue are the two urgent priorities, because reliable stabilization in the DRC cannot be achieved through military measures alone. We call on all illegal armed formations to stop their attacks, abandon violent methods, and embark on talks with the Congolese government.
Ceasefire needs to be followed by steps that would trigger a real change of the situation. We believe that frank and constructive interaction of regional states should play the key role in promoting lasting settlement and reconciliation. There must be no place for confrontational rhetoric. The sides need to overcome mutual distrust and contradictions, and promote processes that were first launched at the Nairobi platform. Neighbors of the DR Congo are committed to dialogue, and we must do our best to translate this commitment to a practical stabilization-oriented engagement. This surely meets the interests of all countries of the region and the global community. Deadly events of the past must not repeat, and the DRC must not fall back to large-scale hostilities that would hit the entire region and expose us and people of the DRC in the first place to such aftereffects that would take decades to surmount.
In practical terms, we believe it crucial to fully engage the toolkit of the regional oversight mechanism for the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework. Apart from that, we need to focus on elaboration and implementation of such programs for disarmament, demobilization, and social reintegration of former combatants that would make a maximum number of people want to quit armed formations for good.
The population of the DRC have been suffering from violence and armed conflicts for far too long. People should be given a hope for peace and a normal life. We trust that with the help of the United Nations, the global community, and regional stakeholders, Kinshasa will be able to remove the acute threats and ultimately focus on state-building tasks and socio-economic development. This appears especially important in light of the presidential elections that are scheduled to take place at the end of 2023 and that will mark a key stage of stabilization on the DRC.