Statement by Ambassador Wittig on the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Security Council open debate

May 18, 2011

(as delivered)

M. le Président,

Tout d'abord je voudrai vous remercier d'avoir organzier ce debat important sur la Republique Democratique de Congo.

I thank the Secretary-General for this very informed and helpful briefing and I would like to welcome H.E. the Minister for International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The briefing we heard and the French concept paper have set the stage for our discussions: The situation in the DRC has evolved and progress has been achieved over the last decade, serious challenges remain, notably in Eastern Congo.

Taking into account the long-standing presence of the UN and the involvement
of the international community in the DRC, the following key questions remain:
First, how, and following what kind of division of labour and of responsibilities
between the different actors, to pursue our policies now that the DRC is
entering the phase of stabilization, preparing for an inclusive electoral cycle?
And, more specifically, how to define the Mission's role, to support and
complement the primary role of the Congolese government for peace
consolidation? This question will need to be discussed next month, when we will
tackle the extension of the mandate for MONUSCO.

The priorities for coordinated mid- and longer term strategies should centre
around the four basic pillars: security, human rights and governance, peaceful
democratic political processes, and socio-economic development. These pillars
are also reflected in the benchmarks set by resolution 1925 for future
reconfigurations of MONUSCO.

Mr. President,

Let me highlight some specific aspects of particular concern to us in these four

First, with regard to security:
The current political and military situation in eastern Congo does not live up to
what we would expect of a stabilization phase. Civilians suffer extreme violence,
including sexual violence, mostly affecting women and children.

The violence and potential insecurity arise from a number of sources.
One of them is the remaining presence of Congolese and foreign armed
groups, such as the FDLR and the LRA. We encourage all actors engaged in
the Demobilisation, Disarmament, Reintegration and related processes to
vigorously pursue their efforts .

Another paramount challenge is the reform of the security sector in all its components. Concerning the army, a real integration of the members of former armed groups, such as the ex-CNDP, into the Congolese Army is necessary. There will be little progress in the security sector reform if these processes are not effectively completed.

Mr. President,

How can we overcome the limited progress in this decisive field of stabilisation?

International support is needed and provided for example through the two EU
Missions, EUSEC and EUPOL, working among other things to secure the chain of payments of the Congolese armed forces. We need better coordination among interntional actors.  The international community should also play a bigger role in improving the capacity of the police and the justice system.

But the most important factor is however, the political will and determination by the Congolese actors to address the core security issues: DDR, security sector reform, fighting impunity, protection of civilians and control over natural resources by armed groups or armed forces. Taking into account the regional dimension of the security threats, the political will of regional actors is also imperative. The same holds true for the support by the AU and sub-regional organizations.

Let me come secondly to the field of governance and human rights.

A lack of government capacity is of particular importance when considering the issues of civilian protection and specifically the prevention of child soldiering.
Child exploitation is illegal under the Congolese constitution and forbidden under various other legal acts. Despite these provisions, child soldiering
remains a problem. I therefore want to appeal to the Congolese Government, also in my capacity as the Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict, to implement an action plan on the halt of recruitment and use of children.

And, looking at human rights from a broader perspective, we are convinced that the Congolese Government could benefit from the advice of an independent expert of
the Human Rights Council.

Thirdly, with regard to the electoral process:
The upcoming elections represent an important opportunity to make substantial progress in the political stabilization process. They are essential for the future legitimacy of the Congolese Government. They need to be conducted in a timely manner.  They must thus be conducted in a timely manner. They need to be inclusive, transparent, credible, peaceful and secure. A peaceful environment allowing for adequate democratic space is a prerequisite for the elections.

The primary responsibility for the electoral process lies with the Congolese Government. We appeal to the Government and all Congolese stakeholders to meet their
responsibilities in the electoral process.

And finally, Mr. President,

endemic poverty, lack of employment for demobilized combatants and the youth as well as the competition for economic resources are potential sources of tension and violence. It is therefore crucial to lay the foundation for long-term economic development in the peace-building and stabilization process.

The AU and relevant sub-regional organizations have an increasing role to play. We should  support the development of their capacities. Germany remains engaged in
this field. We consider regional cooperation and integration to be vital. We therefore like to encourage the Great Lakes countries and all relevant organizations to actively
engage in this process.

Furthermore, an effective legal mining industry in accordance with good governance principles is  key for the development of the DRC. The country’s natural wealth must benefit its people. Illicit exploitation and trade of natural resources fuelling the conflict, particularly in the Kivus, must be brought to an end. 

My country is engaged to fight illicit exploitation and trade of natural resources and supports the certification of minerals, strengthening the legal mining industry and thus the develpoment of the DRC.

Mr. President,

To come to susatainable solutions will require the will from the Congolese Government, targeted resources from donors and strategic cooperation from all relevant actors, notably also with the United Nations and MONUSCO.

Germany is willing to work with the Congolese Government and the UN to that end.

Finally, Mr. President,

let me express my gratitude to the French delegation for the leadership in organizing this debate and for preparing the draft presidential statement,
which we fully support.

Je vous remercier

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