Democratic Republic of the Congo
Expected Council Action
The Council will be following developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) closely. A Council statement, particularly in the event of further violence following the 29 October election, is likely.
The mandate of the EU mission in the DRC (EUFOR RD Congo) expires on 30 November. Renewal is not likely to be sought. But a serious deterioration of security conditions may lead to reconsideration.
Work on targeted sanctions under resolutions 1649 (against foreign and Congolese militia leaders) and 1698 (against individuals that recruit, use or target children in armed conflict) is likely to resume. (Separately, the Secretary-General has been asked for recommendations on sanctions against individuals obstructing the action of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) or the Group of Experts, but it is unclear whether this will emerge in November.)
MONUC’s current mandate expires on 15 February 2007.
Key Recent Developments
High-level efforts to increase confidence between presidential candidates Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba have continued and included an agreement prohibiting the movement of armed troops in Kinshasa to be monitored by MONUC and Congolese police.
The situation nonetheless remains tense, particularly in the countryside, where clashes have been reported. There are concerns with extremist, xenophobic rhetoric and the divide between eastern and western provinces.
In a briefing to the Council on 17 October, the Secretariat noted the fragility of the present situation and the role of MONUC and EUFOR RD Congo in deterring further clashes. Observers note that, should there be a massive breakdown in law and order international forces could have difficulty restoring stability.
Kabila seems to have gained key support from many previous presidential contenders and the leading coalition in the national assembly, inaugurated on 22 September. Kabila’s coalition has won 224 seats, followed by Bemba’s coalition with 116 seats. No party, however, achieved an absolute majority.
At the time of writing, the second round of presidential elections was scheduled for 29 October, and results are expected by mid- to late-November. The new president is expected to be sworn in by 10 December.
There is still uncertainty surrounding the formation of the new government, since it would require the appointment of the prime minister, who will then appoint the cabinet. Constitutional provisions are unclear as to whether the national assembly alone or the full parliament-including the senate-is competent to appoint the prime minister. The senate will only be elected by provincial assemblies on 29 December.
The Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict forwarded to the Sanctions Committee a list of individuals for targeted measures under resolution 1698. The list is still pending consideration.
Options also include:
working on a list of individual sanctions perhaps using the Working Group’s suggestions;
discussing guidance to the Secretariat on MONUC’s concept of operations for the period immediately after the conclusion of the electoral period. This could include key areas such as security sector reform and disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration, resettlement and repatriation; and
continuing to discuss the longer term, post-election role for MONUC, including a more integrated, forward-looking strategy, and what role the Council could play.
The key issue is how best to ensure that the electoral process is finalised so as to bring to a conclusion the transitional process. A consequential issue is how best to deal with the potential for violence in November and December.
Members are conscious of the difficult timing of EUFOR RD Congo’s withdrawal vis-à-vis the release of election results, and there are some differences of interpretation, some contributors seeming to understand that 30 November is the start date of the repatriation of troops, while, for others, the date is the deadline on which all troops should have been repatriated.
There is also awareness of the potential need for reinforcements and related financial questions if EUFOR RD Congo does not stay. In this regard, a further issue is the future of the troops loaned to MONUC from the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB). The ONUB mandate expires on 31 December at the Burundian government’s request. Previously, there has been resistance in the Council to permanently augmenting MONUC by incorporating the borrowed contingents. This issue needs to be addressed either in November or in December.
Other key issues in the minds of Council members include:
how to encourage political accommodation between Congolese stakeholders after the elections;
the constitutional issues regarding the prime minister’s nomination and the new government’s position vis-à-vis MONUC;
MONUC’s future concept of operations; and
achieving progress with the sanctions list.
Council and Wider Dynamics
There is unity within the Council on the need to keep the situation under close review as the electoral process unfolds. There is also consensus that the primary responsibility for maintaining a peaceful environment lies with the candidates and Congolese security forces.
Members are aware of the concerns of some EUFOR RD Congo contributors with prolonging the deployment. The EU currently seems intent on withdrawing EUFOR RD Congo, but this could change if the situation deteriorates.
Wider divisions in the Council on MONUC’s size and cost over the medium-term are likely to persist.
Regarding sanctions, most members seem supportive of moving forward with targeted measures under resolutions 1649 and 1698.
The Secretary-General has indicated that MONUC’s role over the long-term should include inter alia supporting government institutions and building an adequate security environment. Key areas include governance, security sector reform and natural resource management. The Secretary-General has also indicated that he would consult with the new government on the proposed MONUC role, including its strategy, objectives and benchmarks prior to reporting by the end of January. Given the likely delays in installing the government, it will be difficult to complete the tasks in the brief time available.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Presidential Statement|
|Selected Secretary-General’s Reports|
23 Sep 2006
|The candidates agreed to make Kinshasa a weapons-free zone and to the cantonment of their respective militias.|
|22 Sep 2006||The new national assembly was inaugurated.|
|8 Sep 2006||The results of the national assembly polls showed that no party won a majority of seats.|
|Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission|
|William Lacy Swing (US)|
|MONUC Force Commander|
|Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye (Senegal)|
|Size, Composition and Cost of Mission|
|30 November 1999 to present, mandate expires on 15 February 2007|