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19 May 2010 - Briefing by the Security Council mission to the DRC: Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

I should like at the outset to pay tribute to the members of the Council who shouldered their responsibilities in carrying out the mission with me. I also thank the Secretariat, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Alan Doss, and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) for having organized the mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I believe that all participants will agree with me that it was a very intense yet extremely useful mission for us all.

I recall that the mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was justified by the fact that we shall soon have to take important decisions regarding the future of MONUC. In that context, we wished to determine with the Congolese authorities — first and foremost President Kabila, who honoured us with a hearing, as well as members of the Government, the Congolese Parliament and local civil society — how best to achieve our common goal of restoring the sovereignty of the Congolese State over its entire territory by rebuilding a stable and peaceful country.We can do so only in the framework of a sustainable and trusting partnership with the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We were there not to negotiate but to hear the positions of the Congolese authorities and the various interlocutors with whom we met.

I believe that we can draw the following lessons from our meetings:

- First, the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has evolved over the past 10 years and progress has been made. At the same time, however, the situation remains fragile. The humanitarian and human rights situations in particular are worrisome. As a result, any change in the situation of the United Nations presence in the country will have to be undertaken cautiously on the basis of the situation on the ground and avoid creating new instability. I would stress that we cannot follow artificial time frames and must be guided only by the reality of the situation on the ground.

- Secondly, security sector reform is, of course, a key challenge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as it is in many post-conflict countries. The lack of an effective republican army is, according to President Kabila himself, the greatest failure of the international community and his own Government. The Congolese authorities confirmed their desire to professionalize their army through bilateral cooperation, while calling for MONUC’s support in training the police force and strengthening the capacities of the judicial system.

- Lastly and importantly, MONUC is expected to provide logistical support for the various elections scheduled for the coming months.

Naturally, my colleagues and I could elaborate further on all these issues on the basis of our detailed discussions with all our interlocutors, in which many extremely important questions, in particular the issue of logistical support for the elections, were raised. Members of the Council will no doubt recall the scale and cost of the support we provided to the 2006 elections. Hence, support for the upcoming elections will obviously have very significant consequences for the Organization. We shall return to this topic in detail.

What are the consequences for MONUC?

- I believe that, first, the members of the Security Council have expressed their readiness to work with the Congolese authorities to strengthen peace and stability in the country in order to ensure the protection of civilians and allow for the reconfiguration of MONUC. I believe that the message we conveyed to the Congolese authorities is clear. MONUC will not remain in the Democratic Republic of the Congo indefinitely. We must aim for a transition that would restore Congolese sovereignty over the entire country, but that transition will have to be prepared in cooperation with the Congolese authorities through dialogue and a common analysis of the situation before we can foresee the inevitable consequences.

- Secondly, we are ready to support the efforts of the Congolese authorities in security sector reform and the implementation of the zero-tolerance policy against impunity.

- Lastly, we discussed the need to continue our discussions. In that context, we are convinced that the decisions taken by the United Nations will benefit from an ongoing analysis of the situation on the ground.

Taking into account the outcome of these meetings, France is preparing a draft resolution, to be considered shortly, that will renew MONUC’s mandate before the end of the month.

In conclusion, I would say in my personal capacity that we found the Congolese authorities to be very open to dialogue with the Security Council. While the Congolese authorities are, quite legitimately, foreseeing the departure of MONUC, they at no time presented any ultimatums or demands. On the contrary, they offered us an appropriate framework, and I believe that we can rest assured that the foundations have been laid for a dialogue between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Security Council. Our draft resolution will seek to reflect the quality of those exchanges.

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