6018th Meeting (AM)
The Security Council this morning authorized a temporary increase of the military strength of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) of up to 2,785 military personnel, and the strength of its formed police unit of up to 300 personnel.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1843 (2008), the Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and following the recommendations by the Secretary-General in his letter of 12 November (document S/2008/703), authorized the immediate deployment of those additional capacities until 31 December. It expressed its intention to extend that authorization on the occasion of MONUC's mandate renewal, underlining that the duration of stay of the additional forces would depend on the security situation in the Kivus.
The Council stressed that the temporary increase in personnel was aimed at enabling MONUC to reinforce its capacity to protect civilians, to reconfigure its structure and forces and to optimize their deployment. It underscored the importance of MONUC implementing its mandate in full, including through robust rules of engagement.
After the vote, the representative of South Africa said his delegation had supported the resolution because the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular around the city of Goma, was deteriorating very fast and the humanitarian situation was becoming dire. While pleased with the increase in the number of peacekeepers, he underlined the need for the political process to go forward. In that regard, he welcomed the appointment by the Secretary-General of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to assist in the process. He hoped the resolution would also serve to encourage the political process.
The meeting started at 10:20 a.m. and adjourned at 10:25 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1843 (2008) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its previous resolutions and statements of its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular resolutions 1794 (2007) and 1756 (2007) and the statement of its President dated 29 October 2008 (S/PRST/2008/40),
"Expressing its strong support to the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) in its efforts to restore peace in the Kivus and taking note of the letter addressed by the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council dated 31 October 2008 (S/2008/703) requesting additional capacities for MONUC in order to ensure the effective implementation of its mandate,
"Recalling that under resolution 1794 (2007) the mandate of MONUC expires on 31 December 2008 and looking forward to the report and recommendations of the Secretary-General regarding MONUC's mandate and reconfiguration,
"Reaffirming its commitment to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
"Reiterating its condemnation of the resurgence of violence in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and demanding all parties to immediately respect a ceasefire,
"Welcoming the appointment of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo by the Secretary-General as his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and calling on all parties to the conflict to cooperate with him in finding an urgent political solution to the crisis,
"Expressing its extreme concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and in particular the targeted attacks against the civilian population, sexual violence, recruitment of child soldiers and summary executions, considering that this situation should be addressed as a matter of urgency,
"Urging all parties to ensure timely, safe and unhindered access of all humanitarian actors and to comply fully with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law,
"Determining that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Decides to authorize, as recommended by the Secretary-General in his letter dated 31 October 2008 (S/2008/703), a temporary increase of MONUC's authorized military strength by up to 2,785 military personnel, and the strength of its formed police unit by up to 300 personnel;
"2. Authorizes the immediate deployment of those additional capacities until 31 December 2008 and expresses its intention to extend this authorization on the occasion of MONUC's mandate renewal, underlining that the duration of stay of the additional forces will depend on the security situation in the Kivus;
"3. Stresses that this temporary increase in personnel aims at enabling MONUC to reinforce its capacity to protect civilians, to reconfigure its structure and forces and to optimize their deployment;
"4. Underscores the importance of MONUC implementing its mandate in full, including through robust rules of engagement;
"5. Emphasizes that MONUC will be reviewed in view of the recent developments by 31 December 2008;
"6. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
The Council had before it a letter dated 31 October 2008 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council (document S/2008/703), the annex of which -- from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations -- discusses reinforcements requested for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) in light of the persistent crisis in the eastern part of that country. The requested surge reinforcements total 2,785 military personnel and 300 in additional formed police unit strength.
The letter notes that, since the adoption of the MONUC mandate resolutions 1756 and 1794 of 2007, giving highest priority to addressing the crisis in the eastern Kivu province in all its dimensions, developments on the ground had resulted in a significant increase in the number and complexity of tasks performed by the Mission. The current crisis, emanating from the recent offensive by the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP), clearly underscores that the resources available to the Mission are not commensurate with the security challenges it faces, putting into question the credibility of the United Nations and the international community, which has invested so much in bringing peace to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The need to protect Goma through reinforcement to a level of 1,500 MONUC troops has, in addition, significantly reduced the peacekeeping presence in other critical areas of the country, the note says. With the near total disintegration of the country's Armed Forces in the face of advancing CNDP troops, MONUC is the only organized defence for that city. Two companies are also deployed as part of the forward defence line north of the city towards Rutshuru, and a special forces company from the Ituri brigade, as well as a South African company deployed in Ngungu are also being redeployed to the area. Those and other redeployments have dovetailed into the rebalancing of the force that is already under way.
In order for MONUC to fulfil its mandate in those conditions for the coming months, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations requests the following additional capabilities:
-- Two infantry battalions of 850 troops each to help stabilize the situation in North Kivu province, along with two special forces companies of 150 each to allow the Mission to rapidly respond to crises;
-- Additional air assets, including 18 utility helicopters with 260 personnel, two C-130 Hercules aircraft with 50 personnel, to be based in North and South Kivu;
-- A rapid/reaction force providing the surge needed by the Mission until the first phase of the disengagement plan is completed;
-- Additional information analysis capability based in Goma, including external imagery/electronic equipment and associated analysis structure, requiring approximately 50 personnel;
-- One engineering company of 175 personnel, to provide support to the above surge assets;
-- A total of 200 military training instructors/advisers, to enhance Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) effectiveness; and
-- Two additional formed police units of 150 each to be deployed in North Kivu.
If the armed groups and the FARDC comply with the disengagement plan and return to the implementation of peace agreements in good faith, it is envisaged that the above surge capacity would be required for approximately nine months.
For information media - not an official record