I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his reports and for developing the regional strategy on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as requested by the Security Council in its presidential statement of 14 November 2011.
I would also like to thank Mr. Abou Moussa, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, and Ambassador Francisco Caetano José Madeira, Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Lord’s Resistance Army Issues, for their briefings.
The initiatives implemented up to now by the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) show the vigor of that recently created Office. A number of political and security challenges remain in Central Africa and require a pooling of efforts by all stakeholders. We welcome the efforts made by UNOCA to that end.
The fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is also a source of concern for the Security Council. We welcome the upcoming summit of heads of State on piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, which is made possible by support from UNOCA. The holding of that summit, as requested by the Council in resolution 2039 (2012), will allow participants to develop a regional anti-piracy strategy.
Efforts to combat all forms of transnational organized crime must also be pursued and, in that regard, we welcome the signing between UNOCA and the Economic Community of West African States of a cooperation framework defining priority themes for partnerships, such as political governance and combating weapons proliferation.
With regard to supporting democracy in the region, we reiterate the need for the holding of free and transparent elections to establish lasting peace in Africa. We encourage UNOCA to continue to support national efforts on that issue.
Among the challenges of peace and security in Central Africa, the Lord’s Resistance Army remains a subject of major concern. We would like to thank UNOCA for developing the United Nations regional strategy, which complements the existing mechanisms through specific objectives and measures and will allow us to strengthen the coherence and coordination of United Nations activities and of other stakeholders.
Given the ongoing threats alluded to by a number of speakers, efforts made up to now must be pursued and consolidated in a coordinated fashion. In terms of security, our priority must be to ensure the protection of civilians. We support the numerous initiatives of partners on the ground to establish early warning mechanisms.
Once again, we reiterate our full support for the work done by the troops of our partners in Central Africa. We also encourage the defection of rebels. In that regard, the existing programmes of disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and resettlement or repatriation (DDRRR) must be extended to all affected areas. Particular focus should be put on reintegration with the establishment of appropriate welcoming structures. We support the strategy proposal whereby the offices and missions of the United Nations must develop a common approach for the DDRRR process and establish standard procedures for welcoming children who were previously enlisted.
At the same time, ongoing efforts to arrest and bring to justice the top leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), including Joseph Kony, must be pursued. We encourage States concerned to strengthen their cooperation with the International Criminal Court in that regard.
France supports all of those efforts through its contribution to the Peace Facility for Africa of the European Union, which approved granting €1.2 million to the African Union at the end of 2011. France also bilaterally supports the States affected by the LRA by, for example, contributing significantly on an ongoing basis with the Central African Republic on military matters. We support in particular the capacity-building of the Central African armed forces. We also provide humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the attacks and conduct socio-economic reintegration programmes for child soldiers in the four countries concerned.
In conclusion, we encourage States affected by the LRA that have a lead role to play to maintain their efforts with determination. We are at their side. We must not let up in our efforts to sustainably put an end to the threat of the LRA and comfort the civilian populations.
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