Voicing concern about recent military developments
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), members of the Security
Council today warned the parties that the planned deployment of a 5,500-strong
United Nations mission could not proceed amid renewed fighting.
"Council members expressed their dismay at the new offensive launched in the province of Kasai, which resulted in the seizure of the town of Idume," Ambassador Anwar Karim Chowdhury of Bangladesh, who holds the Council's rotating presidency, said in a press statement after the 15-member body discussed the matter behind closed doors.
The statement also noted Council members' deep concern about the continued fighting in the DRC provinces of Equator, Katanga and Kivu, and reports of "widespread preparations being made for further military action, including training and significant rearmament."
Demanding that all parties put an immediate stop to fighting and respect their commitment to the Lusaka ceasefire agreement, Council members emphasized that the deployment of MONUC, the UN mission in the country, could not be completed in the midst of hostilities.
The Council is expected to hear a more detailed briefing on the DRC next Tuesday, when UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bernard Miyet returns to New York after his visit to the region.