Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia during the VTC of UN Security Council members on MONUSCO

Mr. President,

We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MONUSCO Ms. Leila Zerrougui for her detailed briefing. We are also thankful to Under Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix for the information and assessments provided.

Despite coronavirus, we have studied carefully the Secretary-General’s report about the work of UN peacekeepers in the DRC. The security situation in the eastern provinces of this country still raises serious concern. Despite the continued operations against the Allied democratic forces (ADF) conducted by the DRC armed forces (FARDC) since the end of October, the rebels carry out appalling acts of violence, including against civilians. The military situation is further complicated by continuing attacks by other armed groups, inter-communal clashes, degradation of humanitarian and epidemiological situation in the region.

Against this backdrop we welcome stabilization of the political situation in the DRC. We fully share the view that continued cooperation between members of the ruling coalition and their commitment to broad political dialogue are critical for further stabilization in the country. We believe that we all need to support the J.Kabila - F.Tshisekedi tandem for the sake of future of the DRC.    

We salute the results achieved by the FARDC and MONUSCO in the fight against certain armed groups. We urge the mission to further strengthen its coordination with Kinshasa in conducting joint targeted offensive operations and implementing its protection of civilians mandate, including by enhancing community outreach and early warning mechanisms. Reinforced military presence in Beni, establishment of a joint operations center at the field-office level, handing over of the Semuliki MONUSCO base to the FARDC are steps in the right direction. We call on MONUSCO to intensify efforts with the Congolese authorities to develop a comprehensive joint strategy against ADF and other armed groups.  We also expect the blue helmets to follow the provisions of resolution 2502.

We totally share the point that it is impossible to achieve long-term normalization in the country by military means only. More emphasis should be put on stimulating disarmament, demilitarization of ex-combatants and their return to peaceful civilian life, advancing security sector reform. We welcome the peace agreement reached by the government with the FRPI, we hope for continuation of the repatriation efforts to Rwanda of former fighters of CNRD. We call on Kinshasa and peacekeepers to intensify the work on developing a national DDR strategy.

We welcome President Tshisekedi’s continued efforts to improve the political climate in the region. The four quadripartite regional summits held contributed to achieving important decisions for normalization in the east of the DRC. We welcome the work launched by Special Envoy Huan Xia on the review of the regional strategy and hope that the process will be carried out in full transparency.

Mr. President,

We took note that MONUSCO has started consultations with the DRC Government on a joint strategy for a gradual transition and responsible exit from the country. We continue to believe that the future of the mission, including its Force Intervention Brigade, should be determined while taking into account the situation on the ground and after considering priorities of Kinshasa, regional states and in consultations with troop-contributing countries. We were somewhat surprised to hear from Ms. Leila Zerrougui that MONUSCO has already started to implement the Santos Cruz report. We are not yet at the stage when it can be implemented. Let’s not rush through things. We are expecting Secretary-General’s proposals on report’s recommendations. We look forward to further discussions of the recommendations of the report on adjustments to the military component of the mission. In that regard, we support the Press Elements that were proposed today, but we will have an amendment regarding the Cruz report and how it is warded in that particular Press Elements.

In conclusion, let me assure you that the Russian Federation, both as a permanent member of the Council and as a member of the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region, will continue contributing to the peace process in the DRC and stabilization of the overall situation in the Great Lakes Region.

Thank you.