The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 346th meeting held on 10 December 2012, adopted the following decision on the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


1. Takes note of the briefing by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for the Great Lakes Region on the evolution of the situation in the eastern part of the DRC and the implementation of the relevant provisions of communiqué PSC/PR/COMM (CCCXLIII) adopted at its 343rd meeting held on 26 November 2012. Council also takes note of the presentations made by the representatives of the DRC, the Republic of Uganda, as Chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Rwanda, Mozambique, as Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), as well as representatives of the AU Member States seating in the UN Security Council (UNSC) and permanent members of the UNSC;

2. Reaffirms AU’s commitment to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the DRC and its total rejection of the recourse to armed rebellion to further political claims. In this regard, Council, once again, condemns the M23 for having re-launched the armed rebellion in the eastern part of the DRC, causing a serious humanitarian crisis and threatening to destabilize the entire region;

3. Notes with satisfaction the progress made in the implementation of the Declaration adopted by the 5th Extraordinary Summit of the ICGLR, held in Kampala, on 24 November 2012, including the withdrawal of the M23 from locations it had occupied after the breakdown of the 15 November 2012 cease-fire, including Goma, bearing in mind that this armed group is yet to fully comply with the requirement to pull out its forces 20 km away from Goma, the return of the Congolese administration and police in the city, and the commencement, in Kampala, on 9 December 2012, of a direct dialogue between the DRC Government and the M23. Council urges the Congolese parties to negotiate in good faith and to extend all the necessary cooperation to the facilitation;

4. Commends the Chair of the ICGLR for his efforts and perseverance, and encourages him to pursue the action already initiated, notably the establishment of the security arrangements provided for in the relevant Declarations of the ICGLR, including the one of 24 November 2012, in particular the activation of the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) and the deployment of the Neutral International Force (NIF). Council reiterates its support to the envisaged deployment of the NIF, as expressed in its earlier relevant decisions, and calls on member States and the international community at large to extend the necessary support to the efforts being made to this end. Council welcomes the decision of the DRC Government to contribute an amount of USD 20 million to facilitate the early operationalization of the NIF;

5. Welcomes SADC’s efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in the eastern part of the DRC. In this regard, Council notes the decisions of the SADC Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government, held in Dar-es-Salaam, on 8 December 2012, in particular the deployment of SADC’s Standby Force in the eastern part of the DRC within the framework of the NIF;

6. Further welcomes the visit of the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission to the DRC and Rwanda, to assess the situation and determine modalities for a greater involvement of the AU in the management of the current crisis. Council requests the Commission to take necessary action, as appropriate, in support of the regional efforts;

7. Requests the Commission to take the necessary steps to facilitate the holding, under AU’s auspices, of consultations involving the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the ICGLR and SADC, as well as the EU, the UN and other bilateral partners, to facilitate the mobilization of the required support towards the establishment and deployment of the NIF and the full operationalization of the EJVM, in the light of the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) developed by the ICGLR, the SADC Dar-es-Salaam decisions and the necessary linkage and synergy between the envisaged security arrangements and the UN Mission for the Stabilization of the Congo (MONUSCO);

8. Requests the Commission to support the dialogue between the DRC Government and the M23, in close cooperation with the Chair of the ICGLR;

9. Recalls its previous decisions relating to the repeated pattern of targeted violence against civilians, in general, and women, in particular. In this respect, Council condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing use of sexual violence as a means of waging war in the eastern part of the DRC. Council demands that the perpetrators desist from their heinous acts. Council stresses that the perpetrators of these crimes shall be held accountable for their acts. Council requests the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights to seize itself, without delay, of this situation and to submit to it a report no later than 15 February 2013;

10. Reiterates its deep concern at the serious humanitarian situation caused by the resumption of armed rebellion in the eastern part of the DRC, and calls for the provision of a humanitarian support that is commensurate with the challenges at hand;

11. Expresses its readiness to consider, as early as possible, the CONOPS prepared within the framework of the ICGLR and, to this end, requests the Commission to submit to it a report containing its recommendations on the way forward, in the light of the planned consultations with all parties concerned, as well as the outcome of the Kampala negotiations between the DRC Government and the M23;

12. Decides to undertake as soon as possible a field mission to the DRC, including the eastern part of the country, and elsewhere in the region, with a view to assessing the situation, impressing upon all concerned on the need to swiftly bring the current crisis to an end and to facilitate the adoption by Council of further decisions on this matter;

13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Tchioffo Kodjo

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