We are expecting a clear condemnation by the Security Council of the military operations of CNDP and Laurent Nkunda. Of course, we have noted the cease-fire that he has announced. We hope that it will last and we hope that tomorrow Mr Nkunda will announce that he stops his offensive.
The situation on the humanitarian side is very alarming. More than 50 000 people are on the roads. The city of Goma is almost empty of any Congolese forces, except of MONUC that is still there to protect the refugees, IDPs and humanitarian workers.
So, first of all, once again, we call the Council to condemn the offensive and to call for an immediate stop to the offensive.
Then we want the Security Council to restate our full support to the action of MONUC. MONUC is fighting, MONUC is protecting the city, MONUC is protecting the people. The soldiers are courageous and we want to pay tribute to their courage and their action. hey need our support and we hope they will get it by the Security Council unanimously.
Of course, we will support the political track. We support the initiative taken by the Secretary General to try to facilitate the dialogue between Rwanda and Congo. We hope that the Secretary General will be in a position to send, as soon as possible, a high level envoy to formalize these talks.
We hope also that all the countries in the region ; particularly neighbouring states do not interfere and ensure that there is no support provided to the CNDP and the people who are fighting.
Could you tell us today, where things stand in terms of a possible EU force or troops getting in there or any possible voluntary troop reinforcement ?
We are taking note of course of demands and probably Mr Le Roy will emphasize the request by the MONUC to be reinforced. We will look into all options.
We will call for a meeting as soon as possible, tomorrow if possible, of DPKO with all the military attachés of the Security Council and troops providers, to understand fully what is exactly needed by MONUC.
At the same time, as I told you yesterday, the European countries are talking to each other. They are looking to all options possible. There will be, as you are aware of, a council of ministers for Foreign affairs, next Monday in Brussels.
So we intend to use this time to study all options and see what is the best way of answering to the request of MONUC.
Is France prepared to consider committing troops ?
Once again, as I told you, all European countries are talking together. We will be meeting. The ministers will make the final decisions.
We are looking for the most efficient, effective and fastest way of helping MONUC to which, once again, we want to pay tribute.
Bernard Kouchner said today that 1500 troops could be sent ?
That is not exactly what he said. He just recalled the fact that there is an existing mechanism within the European Union which is called the GT 1500, which is a mechanism by which the Europeans can decide to send troops relatively fast, if needed.
But the decision to use it has not been taken. This is precisely why the ministers will be meeting next Monday.
What about Rwanda’s role ?
The only thing we can say is that we are waiting for the details that Mr Le Roy will bring. We have heard about heavy fighting and shooting by artillery at the border between DRC and Rwanda.
We are waiting to have a full knowledge and information about what happened. But of course, we are calling on every country in the region, especially neighbouring states to use restraint and not to interfere.
Will the PRST mention the role of the FDLR ?
It is a consistent position of the Security Council. You know that. We passed a special resolution last summer against FDLR, to recall the fact that they have to comply, they have to go back to Rwanda, and we are calling on the government in Kinshasa to use all the means necessary to ensure that they disarm and that they go back to Rwanda.So the problem is still there.
But the last days, the problem was not only the FDLR, the problem was CNDP offensive. Of course we have to deal with the FDLR, which is one part of the problem in the region.
Has your president or foreign minister been in touch with the Rwandans, and don’t you think that it’s time that we see the Rwanda delegation and perhaps the Congolese delegation here taking part in this ?
First of all, between France and Rwanda, as you know, our two presidents met when they were here in New York one month ago in the margins of the General Assembly. So the contact and the dialogue are still going on between Rwanda and France.
Regarding your direct question, you know that there was a delegation from Kinshasa in Kigali today and we understand that there will be a delegation from Kigali in Kinshasa tomorrow. So we are of course urging those two countries to speak at the highest level as possible and we encourage all the people who can ease that process.
Mr. Louis Michel is in Kinshasa today, Mr. Solana probably will go there and the Secretary General is keeping in touch with all the players in the region to ensure that. The Europeans are of course very supportive of this direct dialogue between the two countries.
US official Ms Frazer has been quoted saying that there is evidence of Rwandan territory being used to support the CNDP. Meanwhile Rwanda has said that some Congolese bombs have landed in their territory.
You should ask the American ambassador.
What is the realistic timetable if you are going to send reinforcements for MONUC.. how soon can they really go ?
I don’t know. We are looking into all the possible options. We will see what is the fastest, and more than that, what is the most efficient in regard with the request by the MONUC for reinforcements. We have to work on that.
Everybody is talking and working on that, and the work is carried on in Brussels, in New York, in Paris, in all the capitals. I can tell you that everybody has already started to work on that.
Do you think that tensions between Rwanda and France, i.e. Rwanda has started using English instead of French, there is all the back and forth about the responsibility in the Genocide, does it complicate your role taking the lead on writing this PRST ?
Once again, the two Presidents met. Minister Bernard Kouchner met with President Kagame also. There are some bilateral issues.
It is the responsibility of the authorities of Rwanda to decide in which language they want to teach their students. For the moment Rwanda is part of the francophonie. The prime minister of Rwanda was in Quebec last week for the summit of the francophonie and it is a very important partner for France and francophonie. We are very happy to work with them./.