DR Congo

High-level international delegation in Goma seeking a solution for the crisis in eastern DR Congo

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Kinshasa - October 31, 2008 - the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Alan Doss, accompanied by the UN Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, as well as by his conflict resolution advisor, Tim Shortley, along with a sizeable delegation of international community representatives visited Goma, this Friday 31 October 2008, to assess security conditions and humanitarian needs on the ground, and also to express their solidarity towards the democratically elected authorities and to populations affected by the new bouts of violence in North Kivu.

The international delegation comprised also the Ambassadors of France, the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Belgium, the Special Representative of Sweden in the Great Lakes region, as well as representatives from the embassies of the United States, the African Union and South Africa. Also accompanying Alan Doss were MONUC's Acting Force Commander General Ishmeel Ben Quartey, and his Deputy Ross Mountain, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the DRC.

In Goma, the delegation met with the civilian and military authorities, including Governor Julien Paluku and the military commander in North Kivu, General Vainqueur Malaya, as well as with General John Numbi, the General Inspector of the Congolese National Police Force. The delegation members also met with the humanitarian community and together they reviewed the situation on the ground and discussed ways of overcoming the obstacles to humanitarian workers' access to vulnerable populations in the province.

The international delegation and the Congolese authorities agreed that the top priority is addressing the dramatic humanitarian crisis plaguing North Kivu, a province which alone currently houses as many as 1.2 million internally displaced persons.

The delegation cited the various diplomatic initiatives undertaken with the aim of bringing a sustainable peace to eastern DRC and the broader Great Lakes region of central Africa, specifically referring to the current mediation efforts between the Governments of the DRC and Rwanda.

Alan Doss and MONUC's Acting Force Commander together with General Numbi and the Commander of the FARDC 8th Military Region afterwards discussed the urgent measures required to consolidate the fragile ceasefire which has been holding in the province over the last 24 hours, as well as to reinforce security arrangements for the town of Goma and its surroundings and prevent any further breakout of violence. For that purpose, it was agreed that that the security of Goma would henceforth be provided jointly by the Congolese National Police and MONUC Police forces, with the support of the military police, in order to prevent any threat to law and order, including any act of indiscipline by elements of the national army.

At a press conference he held after these meetings, Mr Doss stressed in particular that MONUC would redouble its efforts to ensure the consolidation of the ceasefire, and that measures would be undertaken to reinforce the verification mechanism for the ceasefire. For this ceasefire to hold, he insisted, "it must be quickly followed by tangible steps to move forward the current diplomatic and political efforts". "Its consolidation and the success of the ongoing peace process depend above all on the sincerity and good will of the parties to the conflict".

In the evening, Mr Doss, who was continuing his visit in North Kivu, participated in a joint MONUC-Congolese National Police patrol in Goma in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the new reinforced security arrangements in the provincial capital of North Kivu.