Statement by representative of the Russian Federation Alexander Repkin at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
It was with deepest regret that we learned about the tragic events that killed President of Haiti J.Moise. We express our heartfelt condolences to the people and the government of Haiti, and to the bereaved family and friends.
We thank Special Representative of the Secretary- General and Head of MONUSCO Ms. Bintou Keita for a meaningful briefing. We listened carefully to remarks by Ms.Ritha Kibambe.
Russia closely follows the developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where unstopping attacks by armed groups in eastern provinces made the authorities declare a state of emergency. Despite the efforts of the government and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), illegal armed formations still retain a significant combat capacity. ‘Allied Democratic Forces’ are the main threat. We are greatly concerned over the increasing toll among civilians. According to UN data, from March to June over 500 people died at the hands of militants. It is also very disturbing that the DRC authorities have not been able to solve the problem of illegal exploitation and export of natural resources from the country, which the illegal armed formations use to finance their activity. At the same time, we note that thanks to the efforts of Kinshasa and MONUSCO the situation in Tanganyika is gradually stabilizing.
The humanitarian situation in the DRC is also rather alarming. COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession aggravated the state of affairs. Eruption of volcano Nyiragongo in North Kivu further exacerbated the situation, killing over 30 people, leaving about 20 000 homeless and making thousands flee to the neighboring areas. Robust response of the DRC government deserves a highest praise. Thanks to its action, the majority of people have been able to return home. We also commend the role of MONUSCO peacekeepers (including the Russian pilots, deployed there on a contractual basis) who rendered assistance to the refugees and victims of the volcano eruption.
We hope that the government will be able to reinstate control over the security situation, focus on improving the humanitarian status, promote socio-economic development, facilitate settlement of border disputes with the neighbors and intercommunal conflicts, implement the strategy for disarmament, demobilization and integration of former combatants. In this regard, we draw attention to the government-endorsed action plan for 2021-2023.
Efforts aimed at implementing the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the DRC and Great Lakes region must continue. One of its key tracks is expansion of cooperation in the area of security among the states of the region. We also hope that the adopted UN Strategy for peace, conflict prevention and settlement in the Great Lakes region will add to normalizing the situation.
We welcome the peacekeeping role played by the leaders of regional states, by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). We believe further efforts of regional stakeholders aimed at creating the spirit of cooperation in that part of the African continent are crucially important. Therefore we positively assess peace initiatives put forward by states of the region. In particular, we welcome President Tshisekedi’s commitment to provide “good offices” in settling disputes on the continent in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union. We also welcome him meeting with Presidents of Uganda and Rwanda and discussing with both these countries issues of bilateral economic cooperation and joint action to counter illegal armed formations. Russia, i.a. in its capacity as a member of the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region, intends to further support the peace process in the DRC and the region at large.
In conclusion, we would like to articulate our support for the efforts of MONUSCO in stabilizing the situation in the country. We were concerned over the reports that some protests against MONUSCO’s presence had taken place in early April this year in North Kivu, and that local population attacked the Mission’s contingent. We believe such acts threaten to undermine MONUSCO’s activity.