posted on Mon 30 Jul 2012 1:33 PM
DRC Briefing and Consultations

Council members will meet this afternoon (Monday, 30 July) to discuss recent developments in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), Roger Meece, is scheduled to brief by video-link. Although a draft text has not been circulated to Council members, a press statement addressing the situation is a possibility following the meeting.

Council members last held consultations on the DRC on 10 July, in light of the ongoing activities of the M23 rebel group in Eastern DRC. (M23 is comprised of recent defectors from the Congolese army allegedly dissatisfied with the implementation of the March 23 agreements signed between the government of the DRC and the armed groups operating in the eastern Kivu provinces.). The Group of Experts of the DRC Sanctions Committee has asserted that the M23 rebels are being supported by Rwandan officials (S/2012/348/Add.1). Rwanda has denied the accusations. Media reports indicate that Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US have cut financial support to Rwanda.

On 16 July Council members released a press statement (SC/10709), condemning all outside support to all armed groups in the DRC and demanding that all forms of support to them cease immediately. They further called upon all countries in the region to cooperate actively with the government of the DRC in demobilising the M23. Several Council members are supportive of a press statement encouraging regional efforts and condemning Rwanda’s support for the M23. But others oppose strong language on this issue and it seems those keen to have a statement may prefer no statement to a weak one.

Rwanda and the DRC agreed earlier this month to the deployment of an international force to fight rebels in the eastern Congo and to patrol their border. On 15 July, the heads of state of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) – which includes the DRC and Rwanda -declared their support for the establishment of a neutral international force to fight the M23 group. The Peace and Security Council of the AU has stated its support for the initiative. The heads of state of ICGLR countries will meet again in Kampala from 7-8 August to discuss the security situation in the DRC, including the proposal for an international force.

Media reports suggest that the DRC is interested in having MONUSCO’s mandate- which was recently renewed for a year on 27 June in resolution 2053 – amended to play a role if an international force is established. At present, Council members have more questions than answers on the expectations of the affected countries regarding the Council’s role in assisting this new initiative. It seems that there is little appetite among Council members to increase MONUSCO’s troop levels to fulfill a task that is not a peacekeeping one by nature. At the moment amending the mandate is not being considered by the Council, nor has it been formally asked to do so.