DRC: MONUC Press Statement 22 November 1999 [19991126]

DRC: MONUC Press Statement 22 November 1999 [19991126]

Source: MONUC, Kinshasa




The goodwill and close co-operation which was generated by the recent
meetings between the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General,
M. Mustapha Niasse of Senegal and President Laurent Desire Kabila have
culminated positive action over the past week. The successful completion on
Fri 19 November of the first leg of the UN's Technical Survey Team's (TST)
work. The team visited 5 locations across the sovereign territory of the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), starting with Gbadolite and then moving
on to Goma, Kisangani, Bukavu and Kananga. At each location, the local
authorities and representatives of UN agencies and NGOs warmly welcomed the

The TST flew from Kinshasa to Kananga early on the morning of Friday 19
November. They were met by a large delegation headed by M. Claudel Andre
Lubaya, the Governor of the Province of Kasai-Occidental. On the journey
from the airport into the town, the team was welcomed enthusiastically by
large crowds who made clear their collective support for the Lusaka Accord.
The UN team received a clear message from all levels of society who
expressed their determination to turn their efforts to reconstruction
projects, to regularising food supplies and to alleviating the suffering of
Displaced Persons and other victims of war. A particularly constructive
meeting was held at the Kananga Military Headquarters where arrangements
were made for close co-operation with MONUC through the medium of the UN
Military Liaison (MLO) Team who will be based in Kananga within a few days.

In each location, the TST explained the aim of MONUC's mission, emphasising
the role the UN is mandated to play as "facilitators" assisting the work of
the Organisation of African Unity's (OAU) Joint Military Committee (JMC) and
Political Committee. They stressed that the primary responsibility for
successful implementation of the Lusaka Accords lies with the signatory
parties and emphasised how the UN is committed to providing its good offices
and active support to achieve this end.

The TST explained the role that the MLOs will play at locations such as
Kananga, Goma, Kisangani, Gbabadolite and elsewhere, and outlined how they
will operate. Their "main effort" will be to "create the right conditions
for peace" by building mutual trust and by encouraging and bearing witness
to the faithful implementation of the Lusaka Accords by all parties. It is
intended that this should give the Congolese people the opportunity to
concentrate on their efforts towards national reconciliation and
reconstruction, in a climate of growing confidence which will offer the best
chance to recover from the wasteful ravages of war.

Next week, the UN TST will continue visiting locations where Rear Military
Headquarters of all parties are based. This will provide a full and detailed
understanding of what is logistically possible within the DRC. This is an
essential component of the planning to position and sustain teams of MLOs.
The findings of the TST will make this possible and more significantly will
provide the essential practical information from which options for Stage 2
of the UN's peacekeeping mission will be planned. These will be presented to
the UN Security Council who will then consider the future size and form of
Stage 2 of the UN mission in the DRC and how it will continue to help the
OAU to implement the Lusaka Accords.

In addition to the progress made by the TST, thanks to the close
co-operation shown by all parties, there have been important developments
elsewhere. At the operational level, the OAU's JMC has successfully
positioned the first of 4 Regional JMCs, accompanied by a dozen OAU
Verifiers at Kabinda. This took place on Thursday 18 November. MONUC's JMC
Support team in Lusaka has assisted in the training of the OAU Verifiers,
provided by Malawi, Algeria and Senegal. The fact that the UN has provided
an aircraft (an Antonov 26), to transport the other 3 Regional JMCs and
their accompanying Verifiers to their destinations at Buende, Lisala and
Kabalo, is a further example of increasingly close UN/OAU co-operation in
evidence, geared towards implementation of the Lusaka Accords.

The establishment of the first OAU personnel on the ground in the DRC allows
the UN to proceed with the positioning of the first of the MONUC MLO teams.
This is in keeping with the Lusaka Accords, which stipulates that the OAU
should lead the way, with the UN following in support. Consequently MONUC
MLO teams will fly to Goma and Kisangani and begin their work in those two
locations during the course of the next few days. Two further teams will
then be sent subsequently to Gbadolite and Kananga respectively.

Progress has also been marked by the recent arrival of more UN MLOs,
bringing MONUC up to strength of about 70 out of a mandated total of 90
military personnel. MONUC now includes representatives from some 22
different nations including Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia,
Canada, Egypt, France, India, Kenya, Libya, Nepal, Pakistan, Poland,
Romania, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, UK, Uruguay, and Zambia.
The Russian Federation and Italy are sending officers and other nations are
being actively encouraged to provide personnel for Stage 2. The
multi-national nature of MONUC is reflected in microcosm with the
composition of the 4 man MLO teams. It shows the active engagement and
resolve of the International Community's efforts to help the OAU and all
signatory parties of the Lusaka Accords bring peace to the DRC.

On the wider international stage, it should be noted that detailed
discussions have been taking place in the UN Security Council in New York
where a resolution is being prepared in support of MONUC. Meetings have also
taken place in New York with representatives of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) who continue to support the Lusaka Pace
Process. There have also been encouraging statements of support for the
Lusaka Accords from the Commonwealth Conference in Durban and it is hoped
that these will be translated into further active support soon.

Of great significance has been the appointment of Mr. Kamel Morjane, of
Tunisia as the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for the
Democratic Republic of Congo. This has been widely welcomed and his presence
will do much to maintain the present momentum of the Lusaka Accords. It is
the culmination of a series of recent positive developments. This is clearly
in the interests of all parties and those of the entire population in
implementing a durable peace in the sovereign territory of the Democratic
Republic of Congo. MONUC intends to continue to make every effort to ensure
that this continues.


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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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