Ethiopia: Violence, lack of commitment to peace in DRC keep PSC anxious

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Emphasising the importance of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) in stabilising the country, protecting civilians and promoting observance of human rights, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) has affirmed its desire for the renewal of MONUSCO’s mandate by the UN Security Council.

The PSC has also hailed efforts by MONUSCO to neutralise negative forces and called for the stepping up of efforts in this regard, according to a communique issued in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday following the 671st meeting of the Council this week.

"Council also welcomes the good cooperation between the MONUSCO forces and the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC), in order to effectively address the security challenges and provide appropriate responses to the humanitarian situation," said the communique in which the PSC expressed its deep concern over the increase in violence and the spread of insecurity in the DRC.

Decrying repeated violations of human rights which have contributed to the worsening of the humanitarian situation, the Council strongly condemned the killing of 39 Congolese police officers in Kasai Province, as well as other acts of violence committed by armed groups and negative forces against civilians and the destruction of property including churches.

On 10 March 2017, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recommended to the Security Council extension of the mandate of MONUSCO for a period of one year, until 31 March 2018, so that the peacekeeping force could support the DRC electoral process. Elections are tentatively scheduled for the end of 2017.

The PSC, however, has expressed concern over the slow progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Political Agreement of 31 December 2016 and called upon all the Congolese stakeholders to show commitment, political will and take up their responsibilities, in order to reach an agreement on the position of the Prime Minister and power sharing arrangements without further delay.

Council stressed the need and urgency of making the necessary resources available to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the completion of the electoral process, in conformity with the timelines of 31 December 2017.

Noting with satisfaction the efforts of INEC in voter registration, the PSC also welcomed the mediation efforts deployed by the Congolese National Episcopal Conference (CENCO) in search for a viable solution  to political crisis in the DRC and encourages it to continue its efforts in this regard.

According to the UN Secretary-General's report to the UNSC, 2017 is crucial for the DRC and the presence of MONUSCO in the country remains essential to help keep the political process on track, preserve the gains made and shore up the prospects for stability in the country.

On this account, the PSC has called upon the INEC to enhance efforts in finalising voter registration in the remaining areas and registration of internally displaced persons in order to advance the electoral process.

In addition, the PSC has urged the AU Member States and the partners of the DRC to contribute to the efforts to mobilize the necessary resources for the organisation of the elections, and requested the AU Commission Chairperson to dispatch an evaluation mission to the DRC to assess the ways and means in which the AU could support the electoral process.
-0- PANA AR/MA 31March2017

31 march 2017 10:47:58

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