Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council Meeting on the Great Lakes Region
At the outset let me join the words of appreciation addressed to Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region (GLR) Mr. Huang Xia for the substantial briefing.
The situation with security in the region is still defined by the state of affairs in eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which remains rather complicated. The Congolese army and its supporting peacekeepers have not achieved a qualitative change in the fight against illegal armed formations. A number of border incidents and the spread of COVID-19 pandemic have additionally aggravated the situation in the region over the recent six months.
Against this backdrop, we highly welcome the commitment of the regional states to enhance cooperation in order to overcome the emerging challenges. We note successful settlement of the border conflict between the DRC and Zambia facilitated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We specifically welcome the quadripartite summits aimed at normalizing relations between Uganda and Rwanda that are convened under the leadership of the presidents of the DRC and Angola. The most recent of them was held in a virtual format on 7 October. We also find it very positive that at the August summit of the SADC this regional organization reiterated commitment to continue lending support to the DRC as the country takes efforts to stabilize its eastern provinces, i.a. by sending contingents to the Force Intervention Brigade of the UN peacekeeping mission. We cannot fail to notice the productive efforts of the regionals in responding to the effects of the pandemic.
We believe all these efforts deserve strong support of the global community. We welcome the work of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General at this track, in particular in terms of overcoming deficit of trust by enhancing cooperation of heads of intelligence and security bodies of the regional states.
We proceed from the assumption that it is imperative to have all countries fully and unconditionally comply with the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Great Lakes Region that is the fundamental document and the key tool for achieving stabilization in the region. We welcome the growing attention of regional players to the importance of upholding the PSC Framework. We believe its complete implementation will be able to strongly influence the situation in the GLR.
We expect that the regional strategy for prevention of armed conflicts that the Office of the Special Envoy is currently working at will give a new impetus to implementing the provisions of the PSC Framework.
We share the concern expressed in the UNSG report over the humanitarian situation in the GLR that deteriorated during the pandemic. Against this background, it is positive that the process of repatriation of Burundian refugees from the neighboring states continues. We believe this proves that the situation in Burundi is undergoing a qualitative evolution that no longer poses a threat to the international peace and security. We hope soon the Security Council will be able to make a decision to take this country off its agenda.
In conclusion, we would like to reaffirm that Russia as a member of the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region will continue to actively facilitate the peace process in the DRC and stabilization in the region at large.