(In English and in French)
The Security Council will go to the Democratic Republic of Congo from 17 April.
Given its workload, the Security Council has decided to shorten its mission and to focus its visit on its main goal: the discussions with the Congolese authorities and all the concerned actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo to prepare the reconfiguration of the mandate of the MONUC and to discuss the future of the United Nations presence in Congo.
The Council will remain in Kinshasa for two days and will be back in New York on Tuesday at the beginning of the afternoon. The program of this visit for the moment includes meetings with President Kabila and the Congolese authorities, Prime Minister, Ministers, Parliamentarians, discussions with MONUC, with the UN agencies which are present in Congo and meetings with the civil society.
The Security Council will go to Congo with an open mind to open a dialogue with the Congolese authorities so we can assist the Congolese authorities in the best way for the consolidation of its authorities on all its territory.
Le Conseil de sécurité se rend en République Démocratique du Congo à partir du 17 avril. Compte-tenu de sa charge de travail, le Conseil de sécurité a décidé d’écourter cette mission et de se concentrer sur son objectif principal : les discussions avec les autorités congolaises et les différents acteurs présents en République Démocratique du Congo en vue de préparer le renouvellement du mandat de la MONUC et d’envisager l’avenir de la présence des Nations unies dans ce pays.
Le Conseil se rendra à Kinshasa pour deux jours et sera de retour sur New York mardi en début d’après-midi. Le programme prévoit des rencontres avec le Président Kabila et des autorités congolaises (Premier Ministre, plusieurs ministres et des parlementaires), des discussions avec la MONUC et les agences des Nations unies présentes en RDC, ainsi que des entretiens avec la société civile congolaise.
Le Conseil de sécurité s’y rend dans un esprit ouvert, pour apporter son appui aux autorités congolaises et envisager la meilleure façon d’assister le Gouvernement dans le processus de consolidation de son autorité sur l’ensemble de son territoire.
Q. How dangerous do you consider the August 2011 deadline for withdrawal that the Congolese have proposed ?
First, we all know that the UN force won’t remain indefinitely in Congo. Our goal, of course, is to allow the Congolese authorities to exert their authority and their sovereignty on all their territory as quickly as possible. Significant progress has been made in this direction, so now we have to discuss with the Congolese authorities the transition which we need for the withdrawal of MONUC. But again, this moment has not to be decided in an artificial way. We have to discuss with the Congolese authorities the best way to have a Congolese police, army and justice taking over the State authorities in all the territories. For the moment, as you know, the situation remains extremely fragile. So we have to do it right rather than to do it quickly.
Q. Do you expect a breakthrough on Iran? The trip is shortened so you can been seen to be engaged with Iran rather than Africa.
It is not exactly to be engaged with Iran. It’s to work on a sanctions resolution. As you know, the agenda of the Security Council is extremely full because we have to think before the end of the month about the mandate of MINURSO, the force in South of Sudan; we have to think about the mandate of MINUSTAH and we have to think about the future of MINURCAT. We have also the Iranian topic on our agenda, so we have decided, considering all this workload, that it was necessary to shorten the visit.
Q. France does not seem to be bothered about MONUC leaving.
The problem is not about being bothered by MONUC leaving or not leaving. It is not the issue. The issue is that when it leaves, whether it is 2011 or later, it has to be done in the right way. All the members of the Security Council have expressed concerns about the date of 2011.
Q: Do you intend to work on the issue of the Lord’s Resistance Army?
Considering the horrendous atrocities committed by the LRA, it is a major topic of concern. We discussed that with Alan Doss who was showing that the area of activities of the LRA in Congo alone is larger than the territory of Spain. It is more than half million square kilometres, where there are only two million inhabitants. It is a terrible challenge for the UN force. It is not a question putting more soldiers, it is a question of working better and also to coordinate the activities against the LRA, not only in Congo but with the UN force that we have in Central African Republic but also in Soudan. We have to discuss about a wider strategy to fight the LRA. It is really a challenge and we are not sure how to address it, there are only a few hundred of these people for half million square kilometres. Some people are saying we should use UAVs [unmanned airbone vehicules] for instance. That is a real debate.
Considering the cost of the UAV, is it worth the expenditure? We don’t have a clear answer to this problem.
Q: What message does the fact that some ambassadors are not going send to Kabila?
I am not going to discuss the commitment of my colleagues.
Q: How many ambassadors are going to this trip?
The delegation will include seven permanent representatives, six deputy permanent representatives and two advisers.
Q: and from the P5?
From the P5, there will be the British and the French ambassadors.
Q: The low turnout of the P5, the shortening of the trip, will that weaken your negotiating stance?
Of course we would have preferred to have more Permanent Representatives for this visit.
Q: On Iran, is there going to be a meeting tomorrow on Iran…
I am not going to discuss the schedule of the meetings we are going to hold on the coming weeks.
Q : What do you think of the meeting between the US President and the Chinese president? Does that signal a change of attitude on the part of China ?
I think there is a real commitment form the E3+3 members to work on a resolution of sanctions.
Q : You mentioned MINURCAT a moment ago. How optimistic are you on the extension of the mission’s mandate?
Again, that is one of the good examples: we have Chad, We have Congo, we have to discuss with the African authorities about the future of the UN forces. We are not there against the will of the host governments. As for the Chadian government which has signalled its will to shorten the UN mission, I remind you that according to its mandate the UN mission should have ended in June 2011: it’s a shortening only by a few months. We are discussing with the Chadian government the earlier ending of the mandate and so that this would be a win-win solution whereby we are not going simply to leave without allowing the Chadian authorities to take over the security of the eastern part of Chad. Mr. Youssef Mahmoud, the Special Representative of the Secretary General is in N’Djamena negotiating this transition with the government of Chad. France believes that we will reach a compromise acceptable for both parties for the end of the mandate of the MINURCAT.
Q : Le fait que les troupes vont commencer un retrait, quel message cela envoie à la population congolaise ?
Non, les troupes ne commencent pas de retrait.
Q : Mais il y a quand même des recommandations dans le rapport du Secrétaire général…
La question n’est pas le retrait. Vous avez une demande du gouvernement congolais d’un retrait de la force. Le message que nous voulons donner au gouvernement congolais, c’est de dire, oui, la force ne restera pas indéfiniment au Congo, mais cette transition, nous devons l’organiser ensemble de telle sorte que ce soit une " win-win situation ", c’est-à-dire que nous puissions la planifier, l’organiser ensemble, qu’elle ne soit pas décidée sur un calendrier artificiel, mais que nous puissions avoir le rétablissement de l’autorité congolaise dans l’est du pays ; si nous partons, que derrière nous l’armée, la police, la justice congolaise puissent prendre en main la sécurité de cette région, étant donné que la situation est très fragile. Le sentiment général du conseil serait qu’un retrait de la force en 2011 serait prématuré.
Q: What would be the consequences of a premature withdrawal ?
I think the situation remains extremely fragile in Eastern Congo. It has improved dramatically since 2008, but there is still sexual violence against women, there are still humanitarian problems, an outburst of violence between displaced persons coming back and the population. The FDLR has been partly defeated but is still there and they can come back. The LRA are also still there, so it’s a very difficult situation. MONUC won’t leave if we are not sure that the Congolese authorities are able to do the job. That’s the discussion we should have with the Congolese authorities.
Q: Sanctions committee on the Congo: Some have said that it is understaffed, and that there is some blockage in the Council on that issue.
I don’t have the answer.
Q: Sept ambassadeurs sur 15, est-ce que ça ne montre pas un désengagement du Conseil de sécurité ?
La France aurait préféré qu’il y ait plus d’ambassadeurs qui participent à cette mission. Parce que nous considérons que c’est un sujet capital, parce que c’est la mission des Nations Unies la plus importante, 20000 hommes, c’est dans une région où il y a eu des millions de morts, et nous considérons que c’est un des sujets les plus importants de l’activité du Conseil de sécurité.