DRC is at a pivotal moment in its history [fr]
Security Council mission to DRC
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 11 October 2018
I should like at the outset, on behalf of us all, to warmly thank all the Secretariat staff who worked, in New York and in the field, to organize and successfully carry out our visit. I would refer first, of course, to the personnel of the Security Council Affairs Division, with a special word of thanks to Claudia Banz and her team, in particular Kerstin Bihlmaier. I am also thinking of the teams deployed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) — with special gratitude to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Leila Zerrougui — the Resident Coordinator, the interpreters and the security officers. The work of all these teams was exemplary and played a critical role in ensuring the success of the visit from 5 to 7 October. We are deeply grateful to them all. We wish to continue working with the Secretariat to draw every possible lesson from the mission.
I would also like to sincerely thank Bolivia and Equatorial Guinea, with which we have formed a close team to lead the visit, as well as all the rest of my colleagues. The following statement is a joint statement from the co-organizers of the visit. We will each report on a particular component of the mission.
The Security Council went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to discuss the current political situation with the political stakeholders of the nation, in the context of electoral preparations, as well as humanitarian and security issues, in particular the protection of civilians and the reform of MONUSCO. I will focus my remarks on the political aspect.
In Kinshasa, the Security Council met with a large number of actors, including the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, representatives of the Majorité présidentielle and the opposition, and a group of women candidates. We were also able to talk with the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Conférence épiscopale nationale du Congo (CENCO), and representatives of human rights movements and humanitarian associations. In addition, we had very useful and deep discussions with the MONUSCO leadership, which I again warmly thank.
With respect to the political aspect, on which I shall focus, the mission allowed us to send a key message. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is at a pivotal moment in its history. For the first time, a peaceful transmission of power following elections is possible, paving the way for the consolidation of stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the establishment of conditions conducive to its development. That is a real cause for hope, but its achievement requires all the political forces of the country to come together to meet the wishes of the Congolese people.
The Security Council came to Kinshasa to accompany the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the road to peace, stability and prosperity through the elections of 23 December. The holding of free, credible, transparent and peaceful elections on that date is expected by all. Dialogue remains the only way to overcome the remaining differences. The Security Council was reassured by the commitment of all its interlocutors to participate in the elections of 23 December. They all indicated their readiness to pursue the discussions.
The Security Council welcomed the progress made in the preparations for the elections. At the same time, the visit allowed us to convey the importance of taking additional steps to create confidence and establish conditions conducive to the widest possible consensus on the political and technical organization of elections. It is now up to all the political forces to ensure that the country remains on the path to peace and the strengthening of its democratic institutions.
The Security Council also encouraged the parties to fully implement the agreement of 31 December 2016, in particular the de-escalation measures. The Council called for the process to be accompanied by a free and constructive political debate in which freedom of opinion and assembly and equitable access to the media are guaranteed and fundamental freedoms respected. The Security Council welcomed the successful holding of the opposition meeting on 29 September and in that regard called on the Congolese authorities to lift the ban on demonstrations forthwith.
The Security Council met with women representatives of civil society and women candidates in the presidential and legislative elections. Discussions focused on both the security and the humanitarian situation and on the elections, in particular the issue of women’s participation at all levels of the peace and security decision-making process, including security, economic and social structures, which, in their current state, prevent many women from participating in elections. The Council encouraged the Government and other parties to redouble their efforts to strengthen women’s political participation in electoral and political processes and in civil society.
Lastly, the Security Council announced, in full respect for the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in a constructive spirit of support for the country, the readiness of MONUSCO to provide logistical and technical assistance to the elections, if the need should arise.
That is the message that all 15 Council members shared with all the political actors we met. Compromises will be needed on both sides, and we hope that the political leaders’ spirit of responsibility will prevail.