Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at an open VTC of UNSC members on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
We welcome the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MONUSCO Ms. Bintou Keita, and thank her for the substantive briefing. We also closely followed the statement by Ms. Sandrine Lusumba.
The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains unstable. Despite the special operations, performed by the DRC armed forces, the illegal armed formations continue to seize territories, rich in natural resources, control smuggle flows.
The direst situation with security has developed in provinces Ituri and North Kivu – the areas where the “Allied Democratic Forces” and other groups have been active recently. We have grave concerns regarding the growing toll among civilians. In 2020, militants killed no less than a thousand people, and over 200 since December 2020. The number of IDPs is also growing. We condemn the blatant attack on a WFP humanitarian convoy that took place on 22 February and killed Italy’s Ambassador to the DRC L. Attanasio, a carabiniere and a driver.
Thanks to the efforts of Kinshasa and MONUSCO, the situation in South Kivu, Tanganyika, and Kasaï has slightly stabilized, though the situation remains volatile. We appreciate that the UN Mission contributes to the stabilization of eastern regions by providing flexible response to various threats to security. The problem of illegal armed formations is also addressed through non-military means, i.a. in the framework of the strategy for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former militants, which is based on reach-out activities with the local communes. At the same time, we are concerned over the fact that the authorities so far have been unable to solve the problem of illegal exploitation and export of natural resources from the DRC, that the illegal armed groups use to finance their activities.
We welcome measures to step-up the coordination between MONUSCO and the FARDC and to boost effectiveness of the “Blue Helmets”, including the Force Intervention Brigade. We note the ongoing consultations between MONUSCO and Kinshasa on establishing a joint working group to monitor the ste-by-step withdrawal of the peacekeepers.
We keep close track of internal political developments in the country. Speaker of the National Assembly and Chair of Senate have been elected. We welcome the appointment of Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde to the office of Prime Minister that took place on 15 February. We hope that the new government, which is to be formed soon, will be able to reinstate control of the security situation, solve border disputes and inter-communal conflicts.
Among the positive moments, thanks to the efforts of the DRC authorities, including the ongoing vaccination campaign, the country was able to suppress an outbreak of Ebola. Even though the overall humanitarian situation is far not easy, effective measures are being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
We support the efforts of President Tshisekedi, aimed at engaging the neighboring states in solving the region's problems. Recently, there have been consultations between the representatives of the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda on the issues of cooperation in the area of security. We believe that Chairmanship of the DRC in the African Union in 2021 will let attract extra attention to the problems of the Great Lakes Region. We believe the regional organizations, in particular the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) play an important mediator role in the peace process.
Russia (i.a. as part of Group of Friends of GLR) pledges its further support for the peace process in the DRC and stabilization in the Great Lakes Region in general.