MIL-OSI United Nations: Urgent Action Needed to Defuse Violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, Senior Officials Tell Security Council, Urging Support for Ongoing Regional Efforts

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Source: United Nations 4

With a brutal history of violence now threatening to repeat itself in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, senior officials briefing the Security Council today urged members to lend their steadfast support to regional efforts aimed at curbing the resurgence of militia attacks in the country’s eastern provinces, while warning of dire humanitarian implications for the broader Great Lakes region.

The recent spate of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo includes a fresh round of attacks by the infamous March 23 Movement armed group, better known as M23, which was most active between 2012 and 2013.  The Council condemned an attack by the group on peacekeepers with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), on 22 May, in a recent Press Statement.

Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, in her briefing, stressed:  “It is imperative that this Council lend its full weight to ongoing regional efforts to defuse the situation and bring an end to the M23 insurgency, once and for all.”  Noting that the M23’s hostile actions against both MONUSCO and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo constitute serious threats to the region’s stability and security, she said the situation remains volatile.  The humanitarian impact of the recent attacks has been significant, with at least 75,000 people internally displaced and more than 11,000 having crossed the border into Uganda as of 30 May.

Against that backdrop, she said urgent action is needed to de-escalate the current crisis — especially in support of regional efforts spearheaded recently by the Heads of State Conclave, in Nairobi.  The two-track process launched there — which extends a hand to armed groups, while demanding that they lay down their arms — has provided fresh impetus to bring fighters into Kinshasa’s Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Programme.  In that vein, she reiterated calls on all local armed groups to participate in the process without preconditions, and on all foreign armed groups to immediately disarm and return to their home countries.

Huang Xia, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, briefing the 15-nation organ via video teleconference, recalled that a decade ago M23 caused a crisis in the Great Lakes region, which was exacerbated by reciprocal accusations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbours.  Warning that history seems to be repeating, he said everything possible must be done to avoid a new escalation with immeasurable humanitarian, security and political consequences.  Urging all armed groups to lay down their arms and resolutely engage in the Nairobi political dialogue, he said a military approach alone will not be enough to bring lasting peace.  Collective political commitments must also continue, and all available bilateral and regional mechanisms must be mobilized.  “The region does not need a new crisis — let us keep the channels of dialogue open at all levels […] and preserve the progress made in recent years,” he said.

In the ensuing discussion, Kenya’s representative, also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, said that the fate of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — bordering nine countries in the heart of Africa — will, in many ways, determine the future of the region.  Commending the Government for commencing an Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue, he welcomed the armed groups participating in the dialogue and spotlighted their courage and commitment to peace.  All parties must take ownership and protect that process, he emphasized, noting that poverty remains a root cause of instability in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, despite an abundance of natural resources.

The representative of Ireland was among those speakers who condemned the worrying recent violence being carried out by M23, the Allied Democratic Forces, the Cooperative for Development of the Congo and other armed groups.  Noting that some of those attacks have targeted the most vulnerable people in camps for internally displaced persons, she drew attention to the deteriorating humanitarian situation and heightened risks facing women and girls.  Despite MONUSCO’s good work, no single actor can tackle all those threats alone, she said, welcoming the recent meeting of the Heads of State Conclave and other regional mechanisms aimed at defusing the situation.

Mexico’s representative also voiced grave concern about the impact of recent violence on the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Echoing other speakers in stressing that regional cooperation remains key to addressing the forces that give rise to such instability, he said the international community must also do everything possible to curb the illegal flow of weapons into the region.

Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’apala, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, outlined his Government’s efforts to restore peace and security in the east of the country — as well as in the region more broadly — which include the two-track plan agreed at the Nairobi summit.  Pointing out that it extends a hand to local armed groups, while simultaneously designating those militias that fail to lay down their arms as “negative” actors to be targeted by military operations, he emphasized that the Congolese Government and people will no longer allow the violent patterns that characterized many decades to continue.  The Council must shoulder its responsibility in the Great Lakes region, including by actively supporting the Nairobi process, “before it is too late”, he warned.

Meanwhile, Rwanda’s delegate expressed concern over recent incidents in which Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo fired shells across the Rwandan border, causing several serious injuries.  Calling for de-escalation, he categorically rejected allegations by the Democratic Republic of the Congo that Rwanda supports M23, stressing that they are not Rwandan but instead Congolese nationals whose grievances should be resolved in that State.

Also speaking were representatives of France, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Norway, Albania, China, India, Russian Federation, Brazil, United States and Uganda.

The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 5:14 p.m.

Briefings

MARTHA AMA AKYAA POBEE, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, giving an update on recent events in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, noted that violence by armed groups continues and a heavy price is being paid by the civilian population.  The recent resurgence of the March 23 Movement — known as the M23 militia — and its hostile actions against both the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and peacekeepers from the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) constitute serious threats to the region’s stability and security.  As of 30 May, the armed forces had secured Route Nationale 2, which remains open to traffic.  The situation is reportedly calm in the territories of Nyiragongo and Rutshuru, including Tchanzu and Runyoni hills, as the Armed Forces and M23 continue to hold their positions.

Two MONUSCO peacekeepers sustained minor injuries during the recent operations, while overall 16 Armed Forces troops have been killed and 22 injured, she continued.  The humanitarian impact of the M23 attacks has been significant, with at least 75,000 people internally displaced and more than 11,000 having crossed the border into Uganda as of 30 May.  Describing the situation as fluid and highly volatile, she said MONUSCO and humanitarian actors are closely monitoring the situation, while the United Nations and its humanitarian partners have started distributing assistance to some 35,000 affected people.  “Urgent action is required to de-escalate the current situation,” she stressed, noting the broad international condemnation of M23’s recent actions.  All partners have been unanimous in demanding that the group immediately lay down its arms and enter the negotiation process.

“It is imperative that this Council lend its full weight to ongoing regional efforts to defuse the situation and bring an end to the M23 insurgency, once and for all,” she stressed.  She welcomed Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s decision to refer to the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, to investigate reported instances of human and material damage caused by explosive ordinance originating from across their respective borders on 23 May.  She also praised the recent calls by the President of the African Union to the Presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda for calm and for the peaceful resolution of all disagreements.  Continued dialogue remains indispensable to de-escalate tensions and avoid a larger crisis, she emphasized, urging the Council not to lose sight of the widespread violence that continues throughout the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Noting that the two-track process launched in Nairobi on 21 April has provided fresh impetus to bring armed groups into the Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Programme, she reiterated the Secretary-General’s calls upon local armed groups to participate in the political process without preconditions and on all foreign armed groups to immediately disarm and return to their home countries.  MONUSCO and the Office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region are providing logistical support and expert advice, but the Council’s support is also critical as the political process unfolds over the coming months, she said.

HUANG XIA, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, via video-teleconference, said a decade ago the March 23 Movement caused a crisis in the Great Lakes region, which was exacerbated by reciprocal accusations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbours.  “Today, history seems to be sadly repeating itself,” he said, stressing that everything possible must be done to avoid a new escalation with immeasurable humanitarian, security and political consequences.  Against that backdrop, he called on all armed groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to renounce violence, immediately lay down their arms and resolutely engage in political dialogue now taking place in Nairobi.

Stressing that the eradication of armed groups requires a comprehensive approach, he said military operations alone will not be enough to bring lasting peace.  He therefore reiterated the relevance of non-military measures promoted by his office, adding that its recently developed strategy for engaging foreign armed groups and local communities offers a complement to efforts already aimed at ensuring the surrender of armed group elements.  Beyond the security dimension, collective political commitments must also continue.  Regional leaders should continue their high-level dialogue on ways to deal with the threat posed by armed groups and to avoid an escalation of tensions between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbours.  All available bilateral and regional mechanisms must be mobilized — including the Nairobi Conclave process, the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region and the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement.

In that vein, he commended the engagement of the African Union and other regional partners in supporting the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbours as they try to find ways to tackle their long-standing problems together.  For his part, he said he planned to begin a new regional tour on 1 June to engage with the various interlocutors.  “The region does not need a new crisis — let us keep the channels of dialogue open at all levels, including community, and preserve the progress made in recent years,” he said, reiterating the United Nations commitment to helping the relevant countries address the root causes of instability.

Acknowledging that the Council has many major crises on its agenda, he welcomed its continued attention to the Great Lakes region, declaring:  “The recent rise in tensions carries a real risk of reversing the progress made in recent years.”  The most vulnerable — who have already borne the brunt of decades of violence — are likely to suffer most, he emphasized, adding:  “This must be avoided at all costs.”

Statements

MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya), also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, said that the fate of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, bordering nine countries in the heart of Africa, will, in many ways, determine the future of the region.  Its admission into the East African Community is a historic development, especially as the world transitions to green technology.  However, while peace and stability for the country will mean employment and security, the major roadblock remains the chronic and protracted insecurity in the east.  He therefore commended the Government for commencing the Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue, and welcomed the armed groups participating in the dialogue, spotlighting their courage and commitment to the course for peace.  The upcoming briefing by Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’apala, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will leave little doubt that the Inter-Congolese Peace Dialogue shows great potential.  All parties must take ownership and protect it, as well as other mechanisms such as Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the African Union and the United Nations.

However, he expressed concern about the dire security situation in the eastern provinces.  Armed groups, including a resurgent M23, continue to exact a heavy toll on civilians and civilian objects.  Terrorist groups regard the area as a fertile ground for recruitment and generating wealth.  In light of the progressive drawdown and withdrawal of MONUSCO, he stressed it is imperative that the Council take stock of the transfer of responsibilities to the Government.  By strengthening its weapons and ammunition management system in cooperation with MONUSCO, the Government has shown commitment on that issue.  The Council should respond favourably to Congolese authorities’ request to waive notification requirement for acquiring weapons and reinforce its support to address the illicit proliferation of weapons via trans-border criminal networks.  Poverty is a root cause of instability and the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo languish in poverty despite the abundance of natural resources.  To that end, regional countries should implement their commitments, including activating internal systems of control, monitoring and verification to eliminate illicit mineral trade.

NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) called on international partners, in particular the World Bank, to support implementation of the new disarmament-demobilization-reintegration programme.  At the same time, efforts must be made to combat the re-emergence of hate speech, with a potential regional force acting in a coherent and coordinated manner with MONUSCO.  As requested by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region must make it possible to shed full light on the recent cross-border bombardments.  Cooperation must prevail in the fight against the pillaging of natural resources, as only a fair and sustainable exploitation of the country’s wealth will benefit its people.  He also called for development of a regional framework for judicial cooperation to fight against the criminal groups that fuel instability.  More than a year after the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, the humanitarian emergency persists, with the needs of the population aggravated by insecurity, he noted.  By 2025, the French Development Agency will mobilize €500 million for the health of Congolese people, their agriculture and the empowerment of women.  In addition, the European Union will also provide €400 million in support between 2021 and 2024.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland), calling for a consistent response to the conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, condemned worrying violence being carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces, Cooperative for Development of the Congo and the remerging M23 militia.  Noting that some attacks have targeted the most vulnerable people in camps for internally displaced persons, she called for urgent efforts to bring an end to those actions.  She also voiced deep concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation, which can lead to heightened risks for women and girls.  Despite MONUSCO’s good work, no single actor can tackle all those threats alone.  She therefore welcomed enhanced regional efforts to facilitate peace, including the recent meeting of the Heads of State Conclave on the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has set in motion necessary discussions between the Government and armed groups.  Those groups now must participate unconditionally in the political process and refrain from all acts of violence, she stressed, adding that the Government will require adequate support from partners to maintain progress.  In that regard, she cautioned that violence can rapidly erode strides already made, adding:  “Politicization of instability must not deepen the current crisis.”

AMIERA ALHEFITI (United Arab Emirates) reiterated the Security Council’s call to all stakeholders to constructively engage in the political process.  Condemning the attacks perpetrated by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in the eastern part of the country, she stressed the need to hold accountable the perpetrators of such attacks that target civilians and United Nations peacekeeping missions and to ensure the safety and security of peacekeeping forces.  Affirming her country’s full commitment to support MONUSCO, she stressed the importance of preserving and building on the gains achieved on regional diplomacy.  She also stressed that continued efforts to empower women and youth, as well as maintaining a regional, political, and security environment conducive to achieving stability and contributing to building resilient societies will be critical.

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom), noting the deep — and understandable — anger of countries in the region in relation to alleged cross-border attacks, said the Council “cannot become hardened” to the displacement of over 5 million people and the serious and sustained violations of human rights and international law taking place in the region.  He therefore welcomed the recent enhanced diplomatic outreach and dialogue between countries in the region, calling on them to redouble those efforts.  He also urged all armed groups to immediately cease violence and participate unconditionally in the political process in Nairobi.  Meanwhile, the Government must take concrete action against criminality against the backdrop of high levels of violence and insecurity — perpetuated in particular by the Allied Democratic Forces, the Cooperative for Development of the Congo and M23 — which are hampering humanitarian access and risking the lives of vulnerable people.

MONA JUUL (Norway) joined other speakers in condemning recent attacks on peacekeepers and others trying to maintain stability in North Kivu.  All armed groups, including M23, should participate unconditionally in the latest political process spearheaded by the Heads of State Conclave on the Democratic Republic of Congo.  They must also lay down their weapons and participate in the country’s Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Programme.  To truly end the violence and protect the civilian population in the east, the root causes of conflict and mistrust must be addressed.  Challenges such as lack of security sector reform, impunity and the illicit trade in natural resources must be tackled.  She therefore welcomed efforts to strengthen regional cooperation, calling for the broadest regional engagement possible in those efforts.  She also voiced concern about recent tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, urging continued dialogue.  “For too long, the people of the conflict-affected areas […] have been suffering,” she said, adding her support for all efforts that can contribute to sustainable peace.

ARIAN SPASSE (Albania) said the expectations of the international community and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been foiled once again.  Recalling the 24 May Security Council press statement condemning the attack on MONUSCO, he expressed concern over heavy fighting between M23, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and MONUSCO, with 15,000 people internally displaced and more than 11,000 people driven across the border into Uganda.  Recent attacks could seriously undermine the already fragile situation, with devastating implications for the country and the entire region.  He also expressed concern over fighting along the border with Rwanda, calling on all parties to implement decisions made in Nairobi and step-up efforts to support regional diplomacy.  He called on all armed groups to lay down their weapons and urged the Government and international partners to provide adequate resources towards progress.  In addressing the root causes of conflict, the Government must redouble efforts to minimize revenues that armed groups derive from natural resources.

DAI BING (China) expressed concern over the security situation, including the attacks by groups on civilians with massive casualties and displacement, M23 exchanging fire with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the attacks on MONUSCO.  He called on all armed groups to immediately and unconditionally lay down their weapons and participate in the political process initiated by regional countries in Nairobi.  He welcomed communication between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as with other regional countries, which can effectively address security issues.  Welcoming the dual-track political process launched by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, he noted the Government has held two rounds of talks with armed groups.  There is no simple military solution to eliminating the root causes of conflict, he stressed, adding that the Government must implement reforms and disarmament programmes, thereby delivering results for its people.

T. S. TIRUMURTI (India) noted that the deteriorating situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — resulting from the increasing activities of armed groups — risks undermining the political process underway.  The solution to the complex nature of the problem in the region cannot be found only through military means, he said, welcoming commitment shown by the leadership of countries in the region to resolve outstanding issues through dialogue.  Further, it is imperative that the connection to sustenance of armed groups be broken at the source, he added, highlighting the link between illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources in the eastern provinces and armed groups activity.  Greater commitment by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region will be needed to ensure that the mines are protected, regulations are strengthened, and regional partnerships further bolstered, he emphasized.

JUAN GÓMEZ ROBLEDO VERDUZCO (Mexico) condemned attacks by M23 on MONUSCO peacekeepers, which may constitute war crimes.  The recent clashes between M23 and the Congolese Armed Forces are equally worrying, as are attacks by the Cooperative for Development of the Congo and the Allied Democratic Forces on civilians.  Voicing grave concern about the latter’s impacts on the humanitarian situation, he said regional cooperation remains key to addressing the forces that give rise to such instability.  In that regard, he praised the dialogue facilitated through various regional processes and welcomed the two-track strategy agreed during the recent Nairobi Conclave.  While the resurgence of the M23 underscores the need to implement the Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Programme, disarmament alone is not sufficient.  The international community must do everything possible to curb the illegal flow of weapons into the region.  He also expressed support for a comprehensive approach to help the Democratic Republic of the Congo transition to lasting peace.

ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) noted that MONUSCO troops are valiantly carrying out their duties and risking their lives every day to preserve peace in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Calling on the illegal armed groups present in the east of the country to cease their attacks and engage in dialogue with the Government, she said frank interactions between States of the region is another key element going forward.  Divergence of opinion must be overcome and everything possible must be done to ensure that dialogue is translated into practical actions in support of stabilization.  In that vein, she cautioned against allowing any backsliding into major hostilities, which will impact the region for decades.  She also expressed strong support for the Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Programme, which, if fully implemented, would significantly increase the number of people leaving armed groups for good.

JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil), recalling the recent violent events targeting internally displaced persons, United Nations peacekeepers and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that the situation in the country is deteriorating; there are indications that M23’s illegal armed group seemed to have resurfaced.  Stressing the importance of initiatives aimed at cooperation with neighbouring countries, he noted that the conflict in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has regional roots and therefore requires regional cooperation to address.  He also highlighted the need for fostering development and political participation of the population in the affected areas.  Stressing that cooperation with neighbouring States should be based on respecting for the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he also paid tribute to the military personnel from Nepal, Pakistan, Russia and Serbia who have paid the ultimate price this year.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States), President of the Council for May, speaking in her national capacity, acknowledged that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and security forces face enormous challenges to stability, particularly in North and South Kivu and Ituri provinces.  There is also the urgency of working to end the decades-long of suffering of the people in the east.  Citing the Nairobi peace talks, and the efforts of the African Union Chair, she also noted that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has joined the East Africa Community — which has been described as one of the world’s most extensive exercises in the integration of trade, investment and the free movement of peoples.  With heightened security challenges including M23 attacks and the influx of Congolese refugees into Uganda, she expressed support for collaboration between the armed forces with MONUSCO to contain armed groups terrorizing civilians in the east.  She urged the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to communicate to reduce tension and pursue a diplomatic solution.  The eastern part of the country needs effective regional coordination with demobilization, disarmament and community-based reintegration of eligible armed group members.  When the peoples’ needs are achieved, peace will be as well, she said.

CHRISTOPHE LUTUNDULA APALA PEN’APALA, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said his country stands committed to the values of civilization defended by the United Nations.  Thanking MONUSCO for its longstanding support, he outlined his Government’s efforts to restore peace and security in the east of the country — as well as in the region more broadly — recalling its accession to the East African Community on 8 April.  On 21 April, the Government participated in the Heads of State Conclave in Nairobi with the aim of addressing the security situation in the east of the country alongside regional neighbours.  A two-track plan was agreed, including a political track that extends a hand to local armed groups and simultaneously designates those militias that fail to lay down their arms as “negative” actors.  Noting that considerable progress has been made, he insisted that the political consultations referenced by some Council member “are not negotiations with the armed groups”.  Instead, they are a necessary process aimed at strengthening the country’s  Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Programme.

Noting that the current talks will be expanded in the coming weeks to include civil society groups — especially women’s organizations — he went on to point out that certain armed groups, including the Cooperative for Development of the Congo and M23, have already rejected the Nairobi process.  In the course of his work, he is often asked why M23 has returned and where it acquires its weapons and fighters, a question to which he sometimes responds by citing Rwanda’s own frequent reappearances.  The Government and people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will no longer allow the violent patterns of the last 28 years to continue.  As such, he urged the Council to shoulder its responsibility in the Great Lakes region and to act “before it is too late” — in particular by actively supporting the Nairobi process, condemning the actions of armed groups and any outside support provided to them, and becoming more involved in facilitating a frank dialogue between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.  On the latter, he also emphasized that “it takes two to tango” and called for more political will on the part of Kigali.

CLAVER GATETE (Rwanda) expressed regret that efforts to improve bilateral relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo are being undermined, noting that the evolving security situation in the Eastern part of the country posed a serious threat to regional security.  On 23 May, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo fired shells across the Rwandan border — the second shelling this year — which resulted in several serious injuries.  The resumption of hostilities between M23 and those forces were concerning, he said, adding that M23 members should not be labelled as Rwandans; they are Congolese nationals whose grievances should be resolved in that State.  He also warned of the resurgence of anti-Rwanda hate speech and calls for genocide, encouraged by some officials and politicians in the neighbouring State.  “There should never be silence on this issue by this Council and the international community in view of what happened in Rwanda in 1994,” he stressed.  Citing three decades of dangerous cooperation between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, he urged the United Nations through MONUSCO not to stand by and watch it continue.  He also categorically rejected allegations by the Democratic Republic of the Congo that Rwanda supports the M23, underscoring that his country has absolutely no interest in destabilizing Kinshasa.  Such allegations are a pretext by spoilers within that country to externalize conflict for domestic political gains, he said.

ADONIA AYEBARE (Uganda) said the state of bilateral relations has been on a positive trajectory since the signing of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region in February 2013, with a high-level Ugandan business and investment delegation in Kinshasa meeting and discussing how to improve trade ties between the countries.  Noting that improved bilateral relations are evidenced by joint operations against the Allied Democratic Forces, he thanked the Council for designating that group and other negative groups as terrorists.  However, those relations are being tested by the continued presence of that group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and Résistance pour un État de droit au Burundi (RED Tabara) in the East.  He affirmed that existing regional mechanisms — through the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Nairobi Peace Process — offer credible solutions to sustaining those relations, while forum-shopping and parallel initiatives will be counter-productive.  Condemning hate speech in all its forms — given the recent history of the region where over 1 million people perished in genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda — he called on the United Nations Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide to take interest in hate speech coming out of the area region of recent, and for the Council to include language against hate speech in the proposed presidential statement.

For information media. Not an official record.

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