General Assembly Security Council

UNSC briefing, followed by closed consultations on MONUSCO

 

Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

30 March 2020

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Thank you, Madame President.

 

Let me begin by thanking SRSG Ms. Bintou Keita for her briefing on the developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the progress made in the implementation of the mandate of MONUSCO. I also welcome Ms. Sandrine Lusumba of Women’s Solidarity for Peace and Integral Development.

 

2. At the outset, we strongly condemn the killing of the Italian Ambassador and two other others, including from the World Food Programme, in an attack against a joint field mission of the World Food Programme (WFP) near Goma last month. We convey our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and to the Governments of Italy and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

3. The political situation in DRC has remained tenuous, though efforts to end the prolonged stalemate has seen positive progress. The formation of a new coalition, appointment of Prime Minister and election of Presidents of both Senate and National Assembly are welcome developments. However, the delay in formation of the cabinet reflects the challenges to the new coalition. We hope these challenges would be overcome with constructive engagement between all political actors in DRC, and thereby pave way for much needed reforms initiatives of President Felix Tshisekedi. India also welcomes the election of President Tshisekedi as the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) for the year 2021 and looks forward to working closely with him to enhance India-Africa cooperation.

 

4. The overall security situation in the eastern provinces of DRC remains a matter for concern, though there has been improvement in South Kivu, Maniema, and Tanganyika. Armed groups however continue to have a free run. We condemn the violence against civilians, particularly women and children, and targeting of UN personnel and humanitarian aid workers. The reports of extrajudicial and summary killings are disturbing, and all such acts must be condemned, and the perpetrators brought to justice.

 

5 India welcomes the encouraging initiatives towards active regional cooperation and dialogue on security issues. We believe that these initiatives are crucial to eliminate negative forces operating within the region, particularly in eastern DRC. As Chair of the African Union, President of DRC is well positioned to bring the wider region together to find solutions for lasting peace in the DRC and the region.

 

6. DRC authorities are facing multiple challenges on the humanitarian front which has been aggravated further by the Covid-19 pandemic. The increase in number of people in need of protection and humanitarian assistance is a result of the new surge in violence. The deteriorating situation in the CAR is also affecting the situation in the DRC. The international community must lend every support to the DRC in overcoming this challenge.

 

7. The illegal exploitation and extraction of natural resources is one of the major drivers of conflict in eastern DRC. Unless this challenge is dealt with, the violence will continue in one form or another. We must take measures to hold those who engage in such activities accountable, both in DRC and outside DRC. We believe that MONUSCO’s transition strategy will also depend on this key factor.

 

8. On MONUSCO’s mandate, tackling security situation in the eastern DRC and supporting the efforts of DRC security forces remain top priorities for the Mission. In this regard, we have taken note of Mission’s targeted and area-based strategies to enhance the core function of protection of civilians. The steps taken by the DRC with MONUSCO’s assistance on security sector and justice sector reforms, are encouraging. We hope the new national structure combining the mandates of all agencies responsible for demobilization, reinsertion, community reintegration, and stabilization will become a reality soon. This would allow FARDC and MONUSCO to narrow their focus areas in effectively dealing with armed groups. We encourage more participation of women’s organizations and women leaders in all processes, as this would be critical to bring peace and reconciliation.

 

​9. We appreciate the progress achieved in the first phase of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment System of MONUSCO. We look forward to the implementation of Integrated Performance Policy Framework to systematically assess all Mission components equally since in the SG’s report we have performance evaluation in percentage terms only for Formed Police Units.

 

10. India has close and cordial relations with DRC. Indian peacekeepers had played an important role in protecting the territorial integrity of newly independent DRC in 1961. Currently, Indian peacekeepers, including a female engagement team, are playing an important role in MONUSCO. During the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, at the request from the UN Secretary-General, India upgraded its hospital at the MONUSCO Command and Control Center in Goma, operational since January 2005, from a “Level-3” facility to a Level-3 Plus facility. India has also handed over last week 200,000 ‘Made-in-India’ Covid-19 vaccines to UN for all peacekeepers.

 

11. India has been supporting DRC government through developmental partnership and capacity building programmes as well, including in critical infrastructure projects. In the context of the pandemic, earlier this month, India provided COVID-19 vaccines as grant assistance to the DRC. We have also facilitated supply of more than 1.7 million doses of Made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines to the DRC under the COVAX facility. India remains committed to assist DRC on the path towards lasting peace, stability, and prosperity.

 

I thank you Madam President.