Let me start by thanking SRSG Keita for her informative briefing and Ms. Julienne Lusenge for her presentation. We also welcome the Representatives of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda – thank you for your participation.
Today I will address two points – regional and internal dynamics:
First, we closely took note of the outcomes of the third Heads of State Conclave held on 20 June in Nairobi, including the constitution of the East African Community Force. Any new actor deployed on the ground to fight armed militant groups, should operate in close cooperation with MONUSCO to achieve lasting results.
A sole military solution would be ineffective in eliminating the root causes of conflict, whereas the dual-track approach set out in Nairobi provides a more comprehensive response. We thus urge all armed groups to lay down their arms and take part unconditionally in the ongoing negotiations to advance the Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Reintegration and Stabilization program. We also call on the DRC Government to redouble its efforts in pursuing the inclusiveness of this process, and we recognize the contribution of MONUSCO in this regard.
We are concerned that relations between DRC and Rwanda may affect the enhanced diplomatic outreach between countries of the region. We encourage both Countries to prevent any actions which could provoke further tensions.
We echo the Secretary-General’s call for both countries to engage in a sincere dialogue to de-escalate tensions and resolve their persistent differences peacefully, bilaterally and through existing regional mechanisms. In this vein, we commend the mediation efforts of President João Lourenço of Angola to resolve bilateral disputes.
Second, the positive election preparations for 2023 were overshadowed by the deteriorating security situation. Albania recalls the importance of the meaningful participation of women and the inclusion of youth in the electoral process. It is discouraging to witness the shrinking of the democratic space.
We are deeply concerned about the numerous foreign groups operating in the country, and the allegations that several states and actors are, in some way, behind this. Efforts for peace in the region and for stability in DRC are threatened by armed groups, and specially by M23 that has been able to seize control of a vast area in a very short time. We are also witnessing a dangerous rise in hate speech, which we strongly condemn. This must stop.
Another cause for alarm is the devastating impact on civilians, with an alarming growth of IDPs, caused by armed groups. There can be no prospect of peace or reconciliation if the perpetrators of crimes and abuses on all sides are not brought to justice. Unfortunately, the SG’s report highlighted, once again, the disheartening numbers of grave violations against children, their recruitment, and cases of conflict-related sexual violence. This is unacceptable.
In concluding, Albania reiterates its support for the SRSG’s work with DRC Authorities and for MONUSCO, which needs to be fully equipped to be able to effectively face the multiple challenges on the ground. We call on its neighbors and partners to continue to engage with a genuine political will to stabilize the Country and, with it, the rest of the region.