posted on TUE 27 NOV 2012 12:14 PM
DRC Consultations

Following the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) debate this afternoon (27 November), the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, will brief the Council following her attendance at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) summit in Kampala, Uganda on 23-24 November. A representative from DPKO will also brief in accordance with resolution 2076 of 20 November. (The resolution asked the Secretary-General to report “in the coming days” on the situation on the ground, on allegations of external support to the March 23 [M23] rebel group and on possible modifications in the deployment of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the DRC [MONUSCO] to address the issue.) No immediate outcome is anticipated.

The consultations will provide Council members with a timely update from the region and an opportunity to discuss next steps after it adopted resolution 2076, following the M23’s seizure of Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu. In the resolution the Council condemned the M23’s actions and external support given to the group and expressed its intention to consider additional targeted sanctions against the leadership of the M23 and those providing it with external support (Col. Sultani Makenga of the M23 leadership was added to the sanctions list on 12 November). According to the latest report (S/2012/843) of the Group of Experts assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee, both Rwandan and Ugandan officials have been assisting the rebels to varying degrees. Both countries deny the allegations.

On 26 November, following the summit in Kampala, the Heads of State of ICGLR members - which is currently chaired by Uganda and includes the DRC and Rwanda - issued a declaration calling on the M23 to withdraw to at least 20 kilometres from Goma (but did not call on the M23 to disarm), and for MONUSCO to stand as a buffer between the M23 and the DRC army. The declaration also calls on the DRC government to negotiate with the M23 and “resolve the legitimate grievances of M23.” Council members will be interested in hearing more on the envisaged role for MONUSCO and its needs in this delicate situation.

Tomorrow, on a related DRC issue, the Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution renewing the DRC sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts. (On 19 November, Council members met at the expert level to begin negotiations of a draft text and no more meetings are expected as negotiations continued in writing without much disagreement.)

The current draft resolution extends the sanctions regime for 14 months, until 1 February 2014. While it expresses full support for the work of the experts, it only “takes note” of their abovementioned report (as opposed to “welcoming” it). As in resolution 2076, it expresses the intention of the Council to consider further sanctions related to M23 activities. One adjustment that, at the request of the troop contributing countries, might be made to the sanctions regime is the addition of targeting MONUSCO peacekeepers as a criterion for listing.

Though no outcome is expected after today’s briefing, depending on the situation on the ground and the information provided (particularly on MONUSCO’s role), the Council may need to take action in the next days or weeks to address the situation.

As an incoming elected Council member, Rwanda may attend today’s consultations.

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