Statement by representative of the Russian Federation Alexander Repkin at the “Arria-formula” VTC of the UNSC members on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region
We thank the invited speakers for the informative briefings. We are specifically grateful to Special Envoy Huang Xia for participation in person in our VTC and for the useful statement delivered.
We share the idea that illegal exploitation of natural resources has been one of the factors of instability in the Great Lakes Region. The armed groups operating in the DRC eastern provinces rely on natural resources in their activity. The returns thus received allow such groups to acquire new weapons and ammunition, keep under control artisanal miners, buying-up centers, extractive industry companies and entire districts. The atmosphere of insecurity prevailing in the Congolese eastern provinces and the absence of efficient border control also contribute to the illegal mining of natural raw materials.
Addressing the issue of illegal exploitation of regional natural resources is impossible without additional confidence-building measures and participation of all states signatories to the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the DRC and the region. We therefore welcome the measures being taken by the DRC and other regional states with a view of stabilization of the eastern provinces and normalization of the political climate in the region as a whole. We also take note of the steps being taken by regional states to strengthen legislative control of the mining and transportation of raw materials.
In general, we believe that regional states are able to sort out the issue of illegal exploitation of natural resources on their own. The Russian Federation has consistently advocated for the importance of strict respect for States’ sovereign right to manage their natural resources. Any partnerships for their development should be mutually beneficial and based on unquestioning respect for the sovereignty of the host State. Those companies coming to the countries as peacemakers and friend should have no hidden agendas or desire to take advantage of others’ problems for their own self-serving interests. Regretfully, such dishonest companies are present in the Great Lakes too.
We note the attention paid to the discussed topic in the context of a new United Nations regional strategy being prepared by the Office of Special Envoy Xia. We hope for the due reflection of our approaches in this document.