SPECIAL ENVOY XIA TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL ‘FRAGILE CEASEFIRE’ HOLDING IN EASTERN DR CONGO
Speaking at the 9307th meeting of the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Great Lakes region on Wednesday, 19 April, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Huang Xia, told the Council that the region is enjoying “a fragile lull” following months of fighting between the M23 rebel movement and the DR. Congo armed forces, a deteriorating humanitarian situation and rising diplomatic tensions between the DRC and Rwanda.
Special Envoy Xia underscored that the presence of armed groups that have continued to “sow terror” remains one of the greatest challenges to peace in the region. He also pointed out that escalation of diplomatic tensions between Rwanda and DRC earlier in the year, following the border incidents, and the charges of Rwanda’s backing of M23, a charge denied by Rwanda, had threatened the fragile peace in the region.
The Special Envoy told the Council that while the East of DRC was experiencing a fragile ceasefire, with diminished attacks between the M23 and the DRC army, it was imperative to ensure the full withdrawal of the M23, which he noted, remained partial.
Mr. Xia called for support for regional peace efforts. He highlighted the Luanda process led by President Lourenço of Angola which aims to restore a peaceful relationship between the DRC and Rwanda and the Nairobi Process led by the East African Community under the chairmanship of President Ndayishimiye of Burundi with the facilitation of former President Uhuru Kenyatta, which combines political consultations with military efforts. Special Envoy Xia noted that “a negotiated political solution, which is being called for by more and more voices, has been slow to materialize”. He highlighted that the risk of renewed fighting remains real.
Special Envoy Xia called on the Security Council to renew and strengthen the efforts of the Office of the Special Envoy and other actors to address these challenges. He also called for the full implementation of commitments made under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region. “We need to take advantage of the small window of opportunity that has opened right now. We must promote a real reduction in tensions. We must support the region's efforts to end the crisis.” Said Mr. Xia