On Thursday (3 May), Council members are to be briefed in consultations by the head of DPKO, Hervé Ladsous, on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The consultations have been called on France’s initiative, following confrontations and destabilising events in recent days in the east of the country. It seems that Council members are likely to agree to a press statement following the consultations expressing concern at the situation and calling for an end of hostilities. At press time, although Council members had not discussed a text in detail, it seemed there were expectations among some that reaching agreement on the language would be relatively straightforward.
Tomorrow’s consultations come soon after the announcement of the DRC’s new government on 30 April, following elections in November 2011, and this might be referenced in the press statement. It seems that the press statement will also likely express support for Congolese authorities’ attempts to tackle unsuccessful reintegration of elements within the military, the apprehension of wanted elements and security sector reform.
In his briefing, Ladsous is likely to update Council members on recent events in the DRC. In early April, several senior military and former members of the Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP) rebel group defected from the army and regrouped as a rebel force. According to media reports, those defectors attacked government troops in two separate raids on Sunday (29 April) and took control of areas in the North Kivu province. The Congolese army said on Monday that it had launched an operation to reclaim territory lost after weekend clashes. (Nearly 5,000 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, have been displaced because of the fighting in the North Kivu, according to a statement by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees released earlier today.)
The CNDP rebel group was formally integrated into the national army in 2009 as part of a peace agreement, yet its members continue to operate as a separate group. It is led by Jean-Bosco Ntaganda who has been wanted by the International Criminal Court since it issued a warrant of arrest against him in 2006. On 11 April, DRC President Joseph Kabila called for the arrest of Ntaganda, who has denied any involvement in the hostilities. (Kabila’s statement was a significant departure from his previous assertions that Ntaganda’s cooperation was essential in keeping the peace in the east of the country.)
Council members in the past have been relatively united on DRC issues and are likely to view tomorrow’s consultations as an opportunity to demonstrate that they are monitoring the situation closely.
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