The Security Council went on a mission to the DRC last week because important decisions have to be taken before the end of the month. We are going to renew the mandate of MONUC and of course, since the situation has changed on the ground, it was necessary to hold a dialogue with the Congolese authorities, the civil society, MONUC and the Congolese political forces, about the future of MONUC. We were there on a listening mode. It was not a negotiation. The Security Council doesn’t negotiate. We simply went there, listened to President Kabila, the Congolese political forces and on the basis of this mission we will decide on the future of MONUC. The situation has improved, it remains fragile and there is some logic to try to shift part of the activities of MONUC from the military side to the civilian side, to go from peacekeeping to state building, because it’s obvious that MONUC won’t stay indefinitely in DRC.
However, it does not mean that we have to be led by an artificial calendar. There is no artificial calendar. When we leave, we will do it on the basis of the situation on the ground. What we want is that when we leave the Congolese authorities are able to ensure law and order in DRC. We do not forget some precedents, when the forces have left in a premature way, in Haiti or Timor, and we were obliged to come back. It would be a smooth transition, without any calendar, on the basis of the situation on the ground.
Of course, we have to assess the situation on the ground through a permanent dialogue with the authorities of DRC. The motto of the mission was " partnership ", a partnership between the DRC and the Security Council.
Q : It is said that the idea is to limit the protection of civilians to only where the peacekeepers are, to rename MONUC MONUSCO, and to replace Alan Doss with Jean-Maurice Ripert. Can you respond to any of these three ?
Alan Doss has officially announced that he will leave his functions, as for his replacement it is a decision of the Secretary-General of the UN. As far as I know, this decision has not been taken. Several names are floating, one of them is the one you have quoted but it is not the only one. As for the reconfiguration, there are some ideas. Again, the Security Council has to discuss these issues. The name of the force and the format of the force are questions which will be on the table of the Security Council. It has to discuss it, we have not taken any decision.
Q : Can you imagine scaling back the protection of civilians mandate ?
No. It is already a fact that nearly 90 % of MONUC is in the East of Congo. Now, since the situation has improved, most of the force is already in the Eastern part of Congo and we have a small contingent in Kinshasa itself. It is already a fact. It could be a solution to limit the mandate of MONUC to the Eastern part of Congo, but it wouldn’t mean that MONUC couldn’t intervene in the rest of Congo if there is a request by DRC authorities. Again, these decisions have not been taken and will be the result of the negotiations. There are different views among the members of the Security Council, which is legitimate, and we have to find, we will find a compromise at the end of the day.
Q : Two francophone battalions, from Senegal and Benin, might be the ones that will lead…
I really do not know the planning.
Q : On a different topic : yesterday the ambassador of Brazil said they would not engage in the discussions after you and your colleagues presented the draft for Iran. What kind of feedback have you got back ?
The Ambassador of Brazil told that to the Security Council.
Q : Does this mean they are not going to negotiate ?
You have to ask them. The negotiations have started. Brazil can take part or not take part, this is the decision of Brazil. The negotiations have started already yesterday evening between experts and will go on in the coming days or weeks. That is the choice of Brazil, if they do not want to negotiate ; it is their right to do so. The negotiations will go on with or without them.
Q : Was the Brazilian expert present during these meetings ?
The Brazilian expert was there but did not engage in the discussion.
Q : You want to get a consensus on this resolution ?
No. We want a resolution.