What's In Blue

Consultations on the DRC

Tomorrow (5 February), the Security Council will be briefed in consultations by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hervé Ladsous and the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra. The meeting was scheduled after the two returned from their visit to the Great Lakes region and after the AU Summit in Addis Ababa. Ladsous will brief on developments on the ground and the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) while Malcorra will brief on the Secretary-General’s diplomatic efforts to obtain a political framework agreement. No outcome is anticipated following tomorrow’s meeting.

On 28 January, during the AU Summit, the Secretary-General was scheduled to sign, along with eight countries in the region (Angola, Burundi, the DRC, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda), a political framework agreement in which the DRC would commit to enhancing the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process and countries in the region would agree not to assist rebel groups operating in the DRC. The agreement was also to refer to the establishment of a peace enforcement force in the eastern DRC. (The force is a neutral international force first suggested by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region to monitor the DRC-Rwanda border area.) It seems the Southern African Development Community countries are ready to deploy their troops as part of this initiative. Apparently, the signing of the agreement was abruptly cancelled at very short notice and at press time had been postponed indefinitely.

Council members who are not familiar with the Secretary-General’s attempts to broker an agreement, are likely to be interested in more details on the lead up to the signing of the framework agreement and an explanation of what went wrong. Members will also likely want to be updated on where the negotiations for an agreement stand at this point.

There is also likely to be interest in information regarding an anticipated report from the Secretary-General on options for improving MONUSCO’s ability to implement its mandate, especially in light of recent activities of the March 23 (M23) rebel movement. Although the Council asked for such a report in its 19 October 2012 presidential statement (S/PRST/2012/22) and in resolution 2076 of 20 November 2012, so far there has been no sign of a written report from the Secretariat. (Later this month the Council is also expecting to discuss the periodic Secretary-General’s reports on MONUSCO’s progress during a briefing by Roger Meece, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative.)

The work of the Group of Experts (GoE), assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee, has been on Council member’s minds in recent days and may be a topic of discussion at tomorrow’s consultations. On 1 February, the Committee met with members of the newly appointed GoE before their deployment to the region. The GoE conveyed to the Council its methodology on how to cover the issues laid out in resolution 2078 of 28 November 2012. While most Council members expressed their support for the work of the experts, it seems Rwanda had reservations because of the reports produced by the GoE in 2012, which accused Rwanda of assisting the M23 and which Rwanda believes were based on unverified and fabricated evidence. It is unclear at this stage whether Rwanda’s current reservations will affect the work of the Sanctions Committee, which operates by consensus.

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