NEW YORK, JANUARY 4 – The Un Security Council adopted on Wednesday, a presidential statement welcoming the important 31 December 2016 Kinshasa agreement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government and opposition groups on the electoral process. The statement was adopted during the fist official meeting of the Council in 2017 in which Italy took part as one of the five new non-permanent members whose mandate began on January 1. Sitting at the Council table was the Italian PR Sebastiani Cardi accompanied by his Deputy Inigo Lambertini.
The statement welcomes the signing of the “comprehensive and inclusive political agreement”, commends the tireless efforts by the Conference Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) who assisted in the negotiations and stresses the importance of the inclusion of women in the follow up and implementation of the deal.
The agreement was a last-ditch effort to address the political crisis precipitated by President Joseph Kabila remaining in power beyond the conclusion of his second and – according to the Constitution—final term, which was supposed to end on 19 December 2016. The DRC elections had been scheduled for 27 November 2016, but delays in the electoral process led to deepening suspicion among large sectors of the general population that Kabila intended to stay in office beyond the end of his second term.
France circulated the draft presidential statement to Council members on Monday evening (2 January). Though some Council members questioned the timing of the statement at first hesitant as several details of the agreement reached remained unclear, in the end there was consensus that the Council should make a statement in support of the political breakthrough.
Praising “the spirit of flexibility and compromise demonstrated by Congolese political leaders”, the statement addresses the unresolved aspects of the agreement by calling on all actors to swiftly resolve all pending issues, especially the practical modalities for “inclusive management of the executive” during the electoral period. It further encourages the political parties which did not sign the agreement to do so.
Finally, the text expresses the Council’s commitment to support the implementation of the agreement in close cooperation with the AU, and its determination to continue to closely follow the situation in the DRC, in particular the respect of human rights, security conditions, and the efforts to successfully conclude the electoral process.
To read the statement in full, click here. (@OnuItalia)