Right of reply from the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region
The Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region would like to refer to the article published by Jeune Afrique on 18 October 2021 and titled “Great Lakes: Felix Tshisekedi under pressure from the United Nations”. The article is about ongoing consultations between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Office of the Special Envoy regarding the preparations for the 10th Summit of the Regional Oversight Mechanism (ROM) of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework agreement for the DRC and the region. The ROM Summit brings together the Heads of State of the signatory countries of the Framework agreement to take stock of the implementation process of this important instrument signed in February 2013 in Addis Ababa.
The Office of the Special Envoy regrets that Jeune Afrique did not find it necessary to consult it before publishing this article in order to verify a number of statements and positions, which in this case are erroneous. Contrary to the insinuation in the article, there are no disagreements between the Office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region and the DRC Government regarding the date of the Summit and the Office of the Special Envoy is working closely with the Congolese authorities to ensure that the objectives set for this meeting are met. There has never been any question about withdrawing the organization of the Summit from the DRC in favor of Angola; the chairmanship of the ROM is decided according to a well-established protocol which involves consultation between Member States and as such, cannot be allocated unilaterally by any of the Guarantor institutions of the Framework agreement. The United Nations – as one of these Guarantor institutions – is, therefore, not in a position to exert any pressure on a signatory State regarding the holding of the ROM Summit.
In addition, it is encouraging that the Government of the DRC has kindly accepted to assume the chairmanship of the ROM at the next Summit and, to this end, is working closely with the Office of the Special Envoy and the African Union to prepare for this event. While the Summit, initially scheduled for 2020, had to be postponed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consultations between the Government of the DRC and the Office of the Special Envoy have advanced considerably. A new date for the 10th ROM Summit will be announced soon. The Office of the Special Envoy takes this opportunity to reiterate its full support to President Félix Tshisekedi and his Government for all the ongoing efforts to organize a successful Summit.
Finally, it should be noted that the Kinshasa Summit will be the 10th ROM Summit (and not the 9th, as indicated in the article) and that in February 2022, the Framework agreement will celebrate its 9th anniversary (and not the 11th).
Nairobi, 21 October 2021