I would like to wholeheartedly thank the representatives of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo for having accepted our invitation. I would also like to thank the UN Secretary-General, the World Bank, the UNDP and the European Union for their participation in this debate.
I would like to focus my speech on three messages:
Firstly, the importance of a strategic dialogue between the DRC and the United Nations
— At a time when the DRC is entering a phase of gradual stabilization, this debate provides a particular opportunity to jointly assess the actions carried out until now and to examine the challenges ahead.
— In this respect, today’s debate is part of a dialogue process that must continue, both in New York as well as on the ground. I pay tribute to the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Mr. Roger Meece, in this direction.
Secondly, this dialogue is all the more necessary because the Congolese authorities are preparing for elections at all levels, a milestone that will be essential to the country’s democratic process.
— As several members of the Security Council had the opportunity to say this morning, the organization of an electoral process is a major challenge that must be given special attention if we want to ensure that these elections will consolidate peace in the country.
— France will pay careful attention to the conditions under which the elections are organized; the elections should be free, transparent, and conducted in a credible and peaceful manner. We would like the United Nations and MONUSCO to lend their full support to this process. This means supporting INEC’s efforts to that end: the most urgent challenge is voter registration.
— Minister Tshibanda presented us with a timetable for the organization of the elections, which we welcome. We will take care to ensure that these deadlines are met.
— France stands ready to lend its full support to this process. Furthermore, we pledged, alongside the United Nations and the Congolese authorities, to train two rapid intervention police battalions to that end. We urge other partners to contribute to the training of the Congolese police.
Lastly, we are aware that the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains fragile. Four challenges are particularly urgent:
— Neutralizing the activities of the armed groups in the east of the country
— Establishing effective security forces
— Rehabilitating the sector relating to the exploitation and trade of natural resources
— Protecting civilians, in particular against sexual violence, and strengthening the fight against impunity.
In conclusion, the international community, which has long been committed to achieving peace and security in the region, stands ready to support you. To that end we need your clear commitment and direction regarding the continuation of the democratic transition. So we can all build a trust-based partnership.