Opening Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the meeting of the AU PSC of Heads of State and Government on the consideration of the situation in eastern DRC
Your Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Your Excellency António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Your Excellencies, Members of the Peace, and Security Council,
Your Excellency Felix Tshisikedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Your Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda,
Your Excellency Joao Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola,
Your Excellency, William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to you all to the 1140th Meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council, held at Heads of State and Government level.
Thank you to the AU Commission for facilitating this meeting.
The PSC is meeting to consider the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
This is in the broader context of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region signed on the 24th of February 2013.
The aspiration of the Framework was to usher in peace, security, stability and development in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region as a whole.
Ten years since it was signed the eastern DRC continues to experience periodic cycles of conflict and violence.
We agree that the volatile security situation in the eastern DRC has gone on for far too long and is untenable.
We cannot but be troubled by this humanitarian catastrophe.
We cannot but be horrified to see people being butchered, women and girls being violated and by the blatant violations of human rights and of the rules of rules of engagement in conflict.
The current cycle of violence is even more worrying and is being fuelled by the resurgence of the armed group M23 that was thought to have been dismantled in 2013/2014.
The AU Peace and Security Council is charged with the prevention, resolution, and management of conflicts in Africa. We must redouble our efforts to resolve this dire situation, working in close collaboration with regional processes.
In 2022 the Council held two meetings on the situation in the eastern DRC. The Council called for an evaluation of the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework to enhance its effectiveness.
The Council must take actionable decisions to address challenges emanating from lack of implementation of the Framework.
If it is not fully implemented in both letter and spirit, the security situation in the eastern DRC will continue to present challenges.
Political will from all parties to the Framework, from the government of the DRC, from the region, from the AU, and from the international community is key to the effective implementation of the Framework.
I wish to commend the efforts of H.E. President Lourenco in mediating between the DRC and the Republic of Rwanda, as mandated by the May 2022 Extraordinary Summit of the AU.
We also commend the East African Community for their efforts to assist, resulting in the deployment of the East African Community Regional Force.
This Council must encourage the parties to the Cooperation Framework particularly the governments of the DRC and the Republic of Rwanda to focus on the following:
- Honouring their commitments contained in the Cooperation Framework.
- Exercising total restraint and de-escalation
- Embarking on genuine dialogue
- Expeditiously implementing the outcomes of the Luanda and Nairobi processes
- The withdrawal from the Eastern DRC of foreign armed groups
- Urging all the signatories and guarantors of the Cooperation Framework to ensure full enhancement of the Regional Oversight and Ad Hoc Verification Mechanisms to deal with security concerns.
It is critical that we redouble our efforts to address the root causes of the conflict. This means combating the illegal exploitation of mineral resources, and fighting corruption, money laundering and organized crime. More needs to be done to build the institutional capacity of regional border management and control, as well as of regional justice and law enforcement agencies.
With regards to gender-based violence, we call on the UN system to continue to provide capacity and technical assistance for State institutions to maintain standards of accountability concerning sexual and gender-based violence, and to strengthen the legal framework for the fight against impunity.
We have set ourselves an ambitious goal to Silence the Guns across Africa. To achieve this goal, we must show zero-tolerance for current and emerging conflicts and redouble our efforts to resolve them.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency