May 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 April 2007
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AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) by 15 May.

Key Recent Developments
Heavy fighting between supporters of President Joseph Kabila and opposition leader and Senator Jean-Pierre Bemba erupted in late March after a government ultimatum that Bemba’s supporters disarm. MONUC intervened and quelled the fighting. There were strong international calls for a negotiated solution. About 200 of Bemba’s fighters reportedly agreed to lay down arms and integrate into the army.

In mid-April, Bemba flew to Portugal and the Congolese public prosecutor reportedly requested the senate to lift Bemba’s immunity. This incident seems to have intensified concerns about the future of democratic institutions in the DRC. 

The security situation continues to be extremely volatile in the east. Fighting in April left about 65,000 displaced in the province of North Kivu alone, and is largely attributed to the activities of Congolese militia and the Forces démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR).
 
On sanctions, the Council on 29 March sanctioned two individuals and five entities found to have either violated the arms embargo or refused to disarm.

On 15 April, the Council rolled over MONUC’s mandate for one month. Members seem to have agreed that additional time was needed to finalise technical aspects of the draft, with no major differences of opinion on MONUC’s future size or mandate. The US also requested time to allow for congressional approval, a required step under US law.

The current draft extends MONUC’s mandate until 31 December 2007. Agreement has been secured on 17,030 troops, 760 observers, 391 police trainers and 750 police. MONUC’s future mandate is likely to maintain current key tasks, including deterring the use of force by armed groups, with some additions such as providing basic training for the Congolese armed forces. The mandate as envisaged in the draft includes:

  • protection of civilians, and humanitarian and UN personnel;
  • monitoring the implementation of the arms embargo and seizing arms found in the DRC in violation of the embargo;
  • deterring the use of force by  armed groups;
  • providing operational and logistical support, and  short-term basic training  to Congolese armed forces to forcibly disarm irregular armed groups and prevent support to militia including through illegal economic activities;
  • contributing to the implementation of the national programme for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration;
  • providing capacity-building for the police;
  • assisting with initial planning for security sector reform;
  • providing advice on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting the rule of law and human rights;
  • assisting Congolese authorities with preliminary arrangements for the local elections; and
  • assisting in establishing a peaceful environment for the elections.

The draft requests the government to develop a plan to ensure security in the east, particularly by carrying out disarmament, demobilisation and repatriation or resettlement of Congolese and foreign combatants. It also urges regional states to take appropriate steps to end the illicit trade in natural resources and, where necessary, to report to the Council. It calls upon international financial institutions to assist the government in establishing effective and transparent control over those resources.

The draft resolution requests the heads of UN Missions in the DRC, Sudan and Burundi to:

  • share military information;
  • pool logistic and administrative resources to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness; and
  • coordinate implementation of disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement programmes.

It requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council by 15 November on benchmarks and a timetable for MONUC’s gradual drawdown.

UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1751 (13 April 2007) renewed MONUC until 15 May.
  • S/RES/1698 (31 July 2006), 1649 (21 December 2005) and 1596 (3 May 2005) strengthened sanctions.
 Selected Presidential Statement
  • S/PRST/2007/9 (3 April 2007) deplored the March violence and called on the government to respect the role conferred on political parties by the Congolese constitution.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2007/156 (22 March 2007) was the latest MONUC report.

Other Relevant Facts

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission
 William Lacy Swing (US)
 Size, Composition and Cost of Mission
  • Authorised strength: about 18,000 military and 1,316 police
  • Strength as of 31 March 2007: 17,307 military and 1,029 police
  • Main troop contributors: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uruguay 
  • Cost: 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2007 US$ 1.138 billion
 Duration
 30 November 1999 to present, mandate expires on 15 May 2007

Full forecast