Ambassador Susan E Rice – DRC Peace Framework

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Statement from Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Signing of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region, February 24, 2013

The United States welcomes today’s signing of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Region, a significant step toward promoting long-term peace in the Great Lakes. We applaud the leadership of Presidents Kabila, Kagame, and Museveni in advancing the peace process; the personal engagement of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his chef de cabinet, Susana Malcorra; and the constructive role played by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the African Union (AU), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
This agreement is only a beginning. States in the region must now work to elaborate detailed agreements that address the root causes of the cycle of violence. For decades, civilians in the Great Lakes region, particularly in eastern DRC, have been killed, raped, abused, displaced, and otherwise victimized on a horrific scale. They deserve the full commitment of regional governments and the international community to ending the violence once and for all.
The United States urges the DRC to seize the opportunity of renewed international engagement to uphold its commitments to an extension of state authority in the east, to security sector reform, and to improved governance. It is equally imperative that the DRC’s neighbors respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity by preventing external support to armed groups, which is a violation of international obligations. We also urge the parties to address collectively the egregious use of sexual violence as a tactic of war, impunity for human rights abusers, the illegal exploitation of minerals, the prevention of further population displacements, and land issues.
We further believe the crisis in eastern DRC is an opportunity for the UN Security Council to completely reassess MONUSCO’s mandate to enhance the Mission’s effectiveness.

Read more: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2013/02/20130225142971.html?CP.rss=true#ixzz2LwPPRkR1

The official statement follows:

Signature of Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region

Press Statement
Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 25, 2013
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The United States strongly supports the initiative of the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) and ten other African heads of state in signing the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the D.R.C. and the Region, witnessed by three African regional bodies and the United Nations.

The continuing security and humanitarian crisis in eastern D.R.C. highlights the urgent need for accelerated reforms within the D.R.C. and increased cooperation among key countries in the Great Lakes region, particularly the D.R.C., Rwanda, and Uganda. We commend all the signatories for acknowledging their essential responsibilities in promoting regional peace and security. We urge the D.R.C. to seize the opportunity to uphold its commitments to an extension of state authority in the east, to security sector reform, and to improved governance. It is equally imperative that the D.R.C.’s neighbors respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity by preventing external support to armed groups. We encourage all parties to live up to the spirit and letter of their joint framework agreement.

The framework needs to be a foundation, both within the D.R.C. and in the region, for a sustained and serious dialogue to ensure that the signatories hold each other accountable for their commitments. The United States urges the signatories to quickly establish concrete follow-up mechanisms for implementing the framework at the national and regional level, and with the participation of key stakeholders, including the international community, local communities, and civil society. We are prepared to support this process. In this regard, we look forward to the appointment of a high-level UN envoy to lead international support for the framework’s implementation. We also support a close and comprehensive review by the Security Council of the UN peacekeeping operation in the D.R.C., which will also have a critical role in supporting dialogue and security.

Both the region and the international community must support the Congolese people and the region in breaking the long cycle of conflict and violence. We urge all parties to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that the future of the D.R.C. and the region is more peaceful and prosperous than the past.

PRN: 2013/0207

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