The United Nations Security Council delegation on Saturday expressed its strong supports for the bid of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to disarm a key rebel group holed up in the east of the country, praising DRC President Joseph Kabila as having a “vision” for his country’s future.
The support came after the delegation, which has been on a peace mission visit to the African region, held an hour-long meeting in Kabila at the presidential palace.
During the meeting, Kabila said that the security situation in the east of the country has been improving as every day there were some militias who laid down arms.
The president also told the UN Security Council delegation that he had worked out a plan to get the rebel groups to disarm and leave the country, a move to support a relevant UN Security Council resolution which calls for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to disarm.
The FDLR, a primary anti-Rwanda rebel group, now operates mostly in the eastern region of DRC. It was accused of playing a major role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Rwanda chased militias out of the country and they fled to the remote forests in east DRC.
Fighting has almost become daily as the FDLR and the counter-militias clash over the forest area. The fighting has left many locals displaced and caused a humanitarian disaster there. It has further blocked the peace process and development of the country.
After the meeting, French Ambassador to the UN Jean-Maurice Ripert, who is the head of the UN Security Council delegation’s visit to DRC, welcomed Kabila’s plan to disarm rebel groups, saying ” I was struck by the fact that he (President Kabila) certainly is a politician who has a vision for his country.”
The ambassador also said President Kabila had agreed to hold talks with the FDLR, a key first step to disarm the rebels, adding that Kabila was putting all his weight behind a Security Council resolution on disarming the FDLR.
Echoing Ripert, South Africa Ambassador to the UN Dumisani Kumalo said he was amazed by the firm stance of the DRC leadership. The ambassador said the country was seriously addressing problems.
“It finally seems that the people of Congo are finding their way out of the past. There is light now at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
For his part, British Ambassador to the UN John Sawers termed the meeting with Kabila and other senior government officials as “very encouraging.”
The ambassador said the two sides shared exactly the same perspective.
The UN delegation also assured to refocus its peacekeeping mission in DRC on rebuilding the war-torn nation. It said the UN peacekeeping forces deployed in the country will continue its mission and would not simply pack their bags and leave.
“It will not happen very soon. There should be of course a transition, in which it is to pass from security re-establishment to the development of the country, and that the UN could do something else than only sending troops for security purpose,” French UN Ambassador Ripert said.