posted on Mon 25 Jun 2012 3:53 PM
Consultations on DRC Sanctions Committee and Report

Tomorrow (26 June), the Council will hold consultations on sanctions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following receipt of the interim report of the Group of Experts (GoE) on the DRC (S/2012/348). Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev (Azerbaijan) will brief the Council in his capacity as chair of the DRC Sanctions Committee (1533 Committee) on its recent activities, including on the 13 June briefing by the GoE on its report. It appears that no Council action will follow the consultations.

Although the report does not discuss regional issues, Rwanda’s possible involvement in the recent mutiny by ex-Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP) members—led by Bosco Ntaganda—and the newly formed group called the 23 March Movement (M23), might be raised. It seems that when the 1533 Committee met the GoE on 13 June, the GoE orally addressed Rwanda’s alleged involvement, claiming that they had strong and reliable evidence that links Rwanda to the recent fighting in the DRC.

The GoE also told the Committee that they have prepared an addendum to the interim report on this issue with the intent of submitting it to the Committee for publication. It seems the US expressed the wish to postpone the circulation of the addendum and its eventual publication so as to assess the information and engage directly with the government of Rwanda beforehand. At press time, the addendum had not yet been circulated. Further discussion on the addendum concerning Rwanda’s involvement is expected at the next panel of experts meeting on Wednesday (27 June).

Rwandan Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, at a press conference in New York today (25 June), denied that Rwanda was supporting any armed groups in the region and stressed that it was important to look at the facts. She also emphasised that media reports alleging Rwandan involvement in recent clashes are impacting the lives of the people in eastern DRC, particularly Rwandans.

Last week the Foreign Minister of the DRC, Raymond Tshibanda, wrote to the Council informing it that there was evidence of Rwandan involvement in the recent crisis in the east and that this could affect relations between the two countries. The letter also asked for the Council to remind Rwanda of its international obligations.

On 15 June, the Council released a press statement (SC/10675) expressing concern about developments in North and South Kivu (“the Kivus”). The statement strongly condemned the recent mutiny and called upon the countries in the region to actively cooperate with the authorities of the DRC in demobilising the M23 and all other armed groups as well as preventing them from receiving outside support in contravention of the sanctions regime. The Council also urged the full investigation of credible reports of outside support to the armed groups, though no specific country was named.

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