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Statement on the situation in the DRC

Statement by Representative of Slovenia to the UN Security Council Ambassador Samuel Žbogar at the briefing on the situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Thank you very much, Madam President,

I also want to express my appreciation to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Keita and to Ms Jacquie-Anna for their briefings and for their presentations. I also want to welcome the representatives of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to today’s meeting.

Slovenia expresses deep concern over the escalation of violence in eastern DRC. The escalation is alarming and is adding to insecurity and destabilization in the wider Great lakes region. We condemn the M23 offensive in North Kivu, especially around Saké and Goma.

Let me emphasize three points.

First – No military action can resolve the conflict in eastern DRC. We call on M23 to immediately cease hostilities and withdraw from occupied territories, in line with the Luanda roadmap.

We emphasize that all states have an obligation to cease support to armed groups. We condemn all such support provided to the FDLR as well as the external support to M23 and the unauthorized military presence in DRC. We call on all countries in the region to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their neighbors and we call on Rwanda to withdraw its military presence from DRC.  

We have to strengthen the sustained and coordinated efforts to address the root causes of the conflict and regional instability. The Nairobi and Luanda processes remain central to these efforts. We call for enhanced commitment to regional diplomatic efforts, emphasizing the importance of dialogue between countries in the region.

Second – Given the escalating security situation specifically in North Kivu, the withdrawal of MONUSCO requires strategic planning. A safe, orderly, responsible, gradual, and sustainable withdrawal, that maintains the protective environment for civilians, must remain the focus of the ongoing partnership between the host country and the UN, including the Security Council.

Synchronizing the deployment of the Congolese national security forces with MONUSCO’s withdrawal is critical to ensure a seamless transition. Withdrawal should be based on the prevailing conditions on the ground and the ability of national forces to take up the responsibility of protecting civilians, especially women and children.

Establishing effective coordination between MONUSCO and other regional forces deployed in the same area remains important for the protection of civilians.

We condemn all attacks against MONUSCO personnel, UN staff and assets, including instances of harassment and restrictions of movement. We underscore the responsibility of the Congolese authorities to ensure the security of UN personnel, as well as of the personnel and assets of diplomatic missions.

Third – Amidst the relentless violence, it’s the civilian population that bears the heaviest burden. Human rights violations and abuses continue to be committed by all parties. Violations, including ethnically targeted hate speech and incitement to violence, must be investigated, accountability must be ensured.

We are alarmed by continued reports of high rates of gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence, directed in particular against women and girls, including in and around IDP camps. We strongly condemn the recruitment of children and other grave violations committed against them.

Slovenia reminds all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law and urges them to ensure swift, safe, and unhindered access for humanitarian aid. We also commend MONUSCO helping to ensure safe passages and humanitarian corridors.

In conclusion,

We urge all involved parties to show restraint and work towards de-escalating the current tensions. Confrontational and incendiary rhetoric must be avoided by all sides to facilitate a constructive dialogue.

Slovenia remains committed to supporting efforts to end this conflict and ensuring peace, security, and stability of the DRC and the Great Lakes region.

Thank you.

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