“The Security Council reiterates its support for the implementation of the commitments under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the region (PSC Framework), which is essential to achieving lasting peace and security in eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region,” said a presidential statement adopted by the Security Council on Thursday.
Meeting in the Mozambican capital Maputo on February 8, leaders from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) approved the deployment of a 4,000-strong special intervention force to Congo.
On March 28, the Security Council passed a resolution, which not only renewed the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo for one year, but also endorsed the special intervention brigade to neutralize armed groups, above all March 23 movement (M23) rebels in eastern Congo.
“The Security Council calls on the DRC and the countries of the region to implement promptly, fully, and in good faith, their respective commitments under the PSC Framework,” the statement said.
The statement also demanded that all armed groups “immediately and permanently” lay down their arms, and called for the restoration of the writ of the government in the eastern Congo.
“The Security Council calls on the DRC to continue and expand security sector reform, consolidate state authority, make progress on decentralization, and further the agenda of reconciliation, tolerance, and democratization. The Security Council calls on all countries of the region to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighboring countries, not to interfere in the internal affairs of neighboring countries, not to harbor persons accused of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law or persons listed by UN sanctions regimes, and promote accountability. The Security Council calls on all countries of the region neither to tolerate nor provide assistance or support of any kind to armed groups.”
The UN and Kinshasa have repeatedly accused Rwanda and Uganda of helping the rebels in Congo.
The M23 rebels and several other armed groups are active in the eastern Congo and are fighting for control of the country’s vast mineral resources, such as gold, the main tin ore cassiterite, and coltan (columbite-tantalite), which is used to make many electronic devices, including cell phones.
Since early May 2012, nearly three million people have fled their homes in the eastern Congo. About 2.5 million have resettled in Congo, but more than 500,000 have crossed into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.