By Vision Reporter
As the UN General Assembly prepares to discuss the DR Congo crisis on Thursday, the African Union last week adopted a resolution authorising the deployment of peacekeeping troops to the restless country.
Below, we reproduce the 335th Peace and Security Council of the AU communiqué on the crisis.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 20, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 335th meeting held on 19 September 2012, adopted the following decision on the security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the deployment of a Neutral International Force in this region:
1. Takes note of the briefing provided by the Commission, as well as of the statements by the representatives of Uganda, on behalf of the Chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the DRC and Rwanda. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of the European Union (EU) and the United States of America;
2. Recalls press statement PSC/PR/COMM (CCCXXIV), adopted at its 324th meeting, held on 21 June 2012, and paragraph 8 of decision Assembly/AU/Dec.432 (XIX) on the situation in eastern DRC, adopted by the 19th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Addis Ababa, on 15 and 16 July 2012;
3. Reiterates AU's concern at the security and humanitarian situation prevailing in eastern DRC, its commitment to the respect of the unity and territorial integrity of the DRC, as well as its rejection of the recourse to armed rebellion, which poses a serious threat to peace, security and stability in the DRC and the region, while, at the same time, undermining the viability of the ongoing democratization process in the country. In this regard, Council reiterates its strong condemnation of the action of the M23 and all other negative forces located in eastern DRC;
4. Stresses the need for sustained efforts to eradicate the presence of the negative forces in eastern DRC, effectively restore State authority, and promote lasting peace, security and stability in the region, including through the effective implementation of the Goma Agreement of 23 March 2009 between the Government of the DRC and the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), on the basis of a comprehensive assessment of progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the former Joint Special Envoys of the ICGLR, the AU and the UN, former Presidents Benjamin Mkapa and Olusegun Obasanjo, with the view to enabling the countries of the region to determine the best way forward;
5. Welcomes the efforts of the Member States and the Executive Secretariat of the ICGLR, in order to find a lasting solution to the situation in eastern DRC and, in particular, expresses its appreciation to President Yoweri K. Museveni, Chairperson of the ICGLR, for his role and initiatives that led to a suspension of the armed confrontation between the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and the M23. In this regard, Council fully supports all the measures set out in the Declaration adopted by the 3rd Extraordinary Summit of the ICGLR, held in Kampala, Uganda, on 8 September 2012, namely: (i) the cessation of hostilities and the diplomatic efforts; (ii) the Neutral International Force; (iii) the expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM) and the Joint Intelligence Fusion Center (JIFC); and (iv) the Humanitarian Trust Fund. Council also welcomes the cooperation between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the countries of the region towards the search for a lasting solution;
6. Stresses in particular the importance of the effective operationalization of the JVM, as well as the establishment and deployment of the envisaged Neutral International Force, welcomes the steps underway to dispatch a military assessment team to eastern DRC comprising representatives of the member countries of the ICGLR and the AU Commission, and to which international partners, including the UN and the EU, have been invited to participate. Council welcomes the elaboration of the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the assessment team by the Committee of Ministers Defense of the member countries of the ICRGL, held in Goma, DRC, on 15 September 2012. Council calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Executive Secretariat of the ICGLR and with the support of the UN and other international partners, to develop, on the basis of the findings of the assessment team, a strategic document articulating in a holistic manner the political, military and security measures that need to be taken, as well as the synergies and complementarities with existing mechanisms and arrangements in the region, including the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), in order to facilitate the success of the ongoing efforts;
7. Notes with satisfaction the measures already taken by the Commission to support the efforts of the ICGLR, including its participation in the various meetings organized by the countries of the region, the support to the envisaged military assessment team, and its contribution to the strengthening of the capacity of the ICGLR Executive Secretariat. Council calls on the Commission to pursue its efforts and to contribute to the mobilization of the international support required for the effective implementation of the Kampala Summit decisions;
8. Appeals to all AU Member States to contribute to the ongoing efforts of the ICGLR aimed at achieving a lasting solution, including the operationalization of the Neutral International Force and the expanded JVM, as well as to humanitarian assistance to affected populations;
9. Requests the United Nations to provide the necessary support to the efforts of countries of the region, particularly with regard to the operationalization of the Neutral International Force and the expanded JVM. In this context, Council stresses the vital role of the Security Council, bearing in mind its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Council calls upon all other members of the international community, in particular AU's bilateral and multilateral partners, to extend the necessary support to the efforts of the ICGLR. Council welcomes the high‐level meeting on the situation in the DRC, scheduled to be held in New York, on 27 September 2012, at the initiative of the UN Secretary‐ General;
10. Looks forward to the conclusions of the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State of the ICGLR scheduled to take place in Kampala, on 8 October 2012, to review the status of implementation of the decisions taken on 8 September 2012, to enable it pronounce itself on the evolution of the situation and take all appropriate decisions on the matter;
11. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter