DR Congo

Crisis in eastern DRC: Joint Foreign Minister statement

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David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to seek a solution to the conflict in the eastern part of the region. They commented on the situation in the DRC and outlined why they are in the region and what they hope to achieve.They also commented on the long term solutions to the conflict. They said:

'Over the last 36 hours we have visited Kinshasa, Goma, Kigali and Dar es Salaam. The crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo commands our attention because of the history of the region, the scale of the human suffering, and the fact that all sides say that they agree that the Nairobi and Goma declarations provide the basis for progress. There is no excuse for turning away.

The immediate needs are obvious. We saw them yesterday. The ceasefire last Wednesday needs to be bolstered. The humanitarian needs for food, shelter, water and health care must be met through universal provision and secure routes for delivery. This requires local and international co-operation.

But the crisis, even if averted in the short term, will return without a new, vigorous and united political effort. This was the focus of our discussion this morning with President Kikwete.

First the Democratic Republic of Congo Government should take proper command of its forces, honour its obligations under the Nairobi accords, and establish channels of communication with all communities in the country and all its neighbours.

The Nairobi Agreement also requires active steps from the Government of Rwanda. And we look to the Government there to fulfil its responsibilities.

Regional states have a vital contribution to make. Promoting peace, developing humanitarian help, contributing to the political process.

Our meeting with President Kikwete, Chair of the African Union, demonstrated shared African Union and European Union commitment to work together for a regional meeting to give new and practical impetus to the implementation of the Nairobi and Goma Accords.

The international community must support humanitarian delivery, strengthen the United Nations force MONUC, and help promote and enforce agreements. We welcome the desire of the United Nations Secretary General to appoint a Special Envoy.

We commit to using our national influence at the United Nations to support this process.'