Council Mission to Central Africa
Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania from November 04 to 11. A report on the visit is expected in November.
Annual missions to central Africa have become Council practice. They are opportunities for Council members to convey unified messages to key players, as well as underscore their concerns and support for peace in the region. These missions have helped to improve understanding of the pervasive regional implications and linkages arising from conflicts in central Africa, and have been important for information gathering and direct exchanges with political actors.
France has taken the lead in such missions since 2001. Draft Terms of Reference for the upcoming mission will be finalised before the end of October.
The mission is expected to meet with heads of government, government officials, civil society representatives and opposition leaders. Not all Council members will be represented at the ambassadorial level.
The crucial point for the upcoming mission will be to highlight to key players the importance of maintaining the transitional process in the DRC on track for the 30 June 2006 deadline. While the mission will want to welcome the positive steps that countries have taken, especially regarding the situation in Burundi, in the DRC it will underscore the critical significance of commitment to the timely completion of the transition process. Particular emphasis is likely to be put on the Council’s determination to resist any acts that may endanger the DRC transition. In Rwanda and Uganda, there is likely to be a clear message that those who oppose peace in the region should receive no support.
The Council’s resolve to enforce the DRC arms embargo will be stressed. Countries that have taken steps to support its implementation and monitoring will be encouraged. Council members will nonetheless remind all states of their obligations to respect the sanctions regime and to cooperate with the work of the DRC Group of Experts.
The issue of armed groups active in Congolese territory is likely to be raised in the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. The Council’s determination to continue to pressure foreign groups in eastern DRC will be signalled. The critical importance of participation and cooperation with disarmament and reintegration programmes (DDR and DDRRR) will be emphasized.
It is also expected that the mission will address the need to bring to justice those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in the DRC, as well as the issue of child soldiers and the zero-tolerance policy against any cases of sexual abuse from UN peace-?keepers.
Particularly in the DRC, the mission will underscore that the transition process culminating in elections in 2006 is the only acceptable solution. It intends to convey these points to President Joseph Kabila and possibly to the opposition leadership. Additional points will be the importance of the adoption of the Electoral Law, good governance, the integration of the national army and implementation of DDR programmes. The Council is also considering a visit to Katanga to see the progress made in building the DRC national army.
In Burundi, the mission will reaffirm the commitment to remain involved in the country, highlighting the need for completion of the DDR programme, integrating the rebel forces nationales de libération (FNL) in the process, and addressing impunity and reconciliation.
In Uganda specifically, the mission will stress the Council’s concerns with outside support given to rebels in Ituri (DRC) and the recent deterioration that occurred in the context of the intrusion of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters into the DRC. This could open the way for discussion on a range of issues relating to the LRA, and an exchange of views with authorities on solutions to the conflict in northern Uganda is expected.
In Tanzania, the mission will follow presidential elections scheduled for 30 October. It will commend Tanzania’s role as a stabilising factor in the region and underscore the need to review conditions and modalities for the return of Burundian and Congolese refugees in Tanzania.
The key issue for the Council’s mission is to find ways of making sure that the transitions in the DRC and Burundi stay on track, securing Rwandan and Ugandan support for the Congolese process, and helping to ensure a successful Great Lakes Summit in December.
|Reports of Security Council Missions to Central Africa/Great Lakes Region|
|S/2004/934 (30 November 2004)|
|S/2003/653 (17 June 2003)|
|S/2002/537 (13 May 2002) and Add.1 (14 May 2002)|
|S/2001/521 (29 May 2001) and Add.1 (30 May 2001)|
|S/2000/416 (11 May 2000)|
|Head of Mission|
|Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière (France)|
|04-11 November 2005|
|Tentative Schedule as of 20 October|
|05 November: Kinshasa (DRC)|
|07 November: Kasai-Oriental and Katanga provinces (DRC); Bujumbura (Burundi)|
|08 November: Entebbe (Uganda) or Kigali (Rwanda)|
|09 November: Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)|
|Prior Visits to the Region|
|21-25 November 2004|
|07-16 June 2003|
|27 April-07 May 2002|
|15-26 May 2001|
|04-08 May 2000|