Press Releases

    SC/7394
    AFR/408
    8 May 2002

    Security Council Concludes Mission to Great Lakes Region

    NEW YORK, 7 May (UN Headquarters) -- The following communiqué was issued today by the Security Council mission to the Great Lakes region on 6 May:

    The delegation of the Security Council of the United Nations concluded on 6 May 2002 in Kigali, Rwanda, its mission to the Great Lakes region, which started on 28 April in Pretoria, South Africa, and which included visits to eight countries.

    Led by the Permanent Representative of France, Jean-David Levitte, the delegation was composed of the representatives of Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Guinea, Ireland, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Russian Federation, Singapore, Syria, United Kingdom and the United States.

    During a two-hour meeting with President Paul Kagame at the Presidential Palace, the delegation of the Security Council explained the aims of its third mission to the Great Lakes region and the results of its meetings with the heads of State of seven other countries where it carried out visits since 28 April: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Burundi.

    As he had done with all the interlocutors during this mission, Mr. Levitte underlined in Kigali the Security Council's attachment to the respect by all the parties of the provisions of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. He recalled, in particular, that the Security Council had demanded the immediate pursuit of an inter-Congolese dialogue in order to conclude the Agreement which was initiated in Sun City, South Africa, last month.

    The head of the delegation had also requested that the different parties "demonstrate flexibility and openness and not to leave anybody on the road". He called, on the Security Council's behalf, for the "conclusion of an inclusive agreement" which would include the RCD-Goma. This was the only possible way to achieve the establishment of a transitional government which was capable of guaranteeing unity for the country and assuring its sovereignty over the entire territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    "We are determined to maintain our long-term engagement in favour of peace in the Great Lakes region", the head of the delegation of the Security Council said in Kigali, assuring President Kagame that the 15 members of the Council understood his concerns about the security of Rwanda and the necessity to take those concerns into account in the search for solutions to bring about a lasting peace.

    On behalf of the Council, Mr. Levitte presented to President Kagame the idea of a "curtain of troops" which would permit a military presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo along its borders with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to ensure -- in a limited portion of the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and for a limited period -- better monitoring of its borders and to facilitate, with the support of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Launched in Luanda on 2 May at the meeting of the Political Committee for the implementation of the ceasefire agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this idea has received the support of all the States concerned. They have also accepted to study mechanisms to facilitate the implementation of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    The delegation of the Security Council said it was "encouraged by the discussions with President Kagame" and welcomed the positive progress which had been made.

    "We, President Kagame and the Security Council, want -- as do the other actors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba -- to encourage a formula which would enable the Congolese people to find a way to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of their country and which would lead to democratic elections", Mr. Levitte said at the end of the meeting.

    The Security Council delegation also recalled in Kigali the obligations of the signatories of the Lusaka Agreement, in particular, the total respect of the ceasefire, the necessity of the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, finally, the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration of the fighters.

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