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The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 343rd meeting held in Addis Ababa, on 26 November 2012, adopted the following decision on the situation in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):

Council,

1.    Takes note of the presentation made by the Chairperson of the Commission and the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the situation in the East of the DRC and the evolution of regional and international efforts in this respect. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Uganda, Chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Mozambique, as Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the DRC and Rwanda, as well as by the representatives of South Africa, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union;

2.    Recalls its earlier communiqués and press statements on the situation in the East of the DRC;

3.    Reaffirms the commitment of the AU to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the DRC, as well as the need to ensure strict compliance with the principles of the AU, as enshrined in the Constitutive Act, on non-interference in the internal affairs of AU Member States, good neighborliness and regional cooperation and integration;

4.    Reiterates the deep concern of the AU about the serious and rapidly deteriorating situation in the East of the DRC, the implications thereof for peace, security and stability in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region as a whole, as well as for the civilian populations, including the most vulnerable groups.  Council urges that all stakeholders ensure unhindered humanitarian access and guarantee the security and safety of the staff of the humanitarian agencies and organizations, who are operating under very challenging conditions;

5.    Further reiterates the total rejection by the AU of armed rebellion as a means of furthering political claims, stresses the danger that this trend poses to peace, security and stability on the continent, as well as on the ongoing democratization processes, and accordingly condemns once again the armed rebellion launched by the M23. Council also condemns in the strongest terms the threats by the M23 to extend its military operations and topple the elected Government of the DRC;

6.    Reiterates its support to the efforts made by President Yoweri K. Museveni of Uganda, current Chairman of the ICGLR, and the countries of the region to find a lasting and sustainable solution to the crisis in the East of the DRC. In this regard, Council welcomes the convening in Kampala, on 24 November 2012, of the 5th Extraordinary Summit of the ICGLR on the security and humanitarian situation in the East of the DRC,  endorses the Declaration adopted on that occasion and requests its immediate and scrupulous implementation. In this regard, Council demands that the M23 take all the measures expected of it, particularly ending its military operations and withdrawing from the areas it recently occupied, including the town of Goma. Council expresses satisfaction at the commitment made by the Government of the DRC to listen, evaluate and address any legitimate concerns of the M23, and requests that this process be initiated without further delay and in good faith;

7.    Fully supports all security arrangements to be put in place in conformity with the Declaration of the ICGLR. In this regard, Council requests all the stakeholders concerned to cooperate fully with the United Nations Mission for Stabilization in the DRC (MONUSCO) and the planned neutral regional arrangements so as to facilitate the implementation of their mandates and stresses the obligation of the parties concerned to refrain from any action that can jeopardize the security and safety of the MONUSCO personnel, as well as those of all other envisaged neutral arrangements. Council expresses its intention to consider the draft Concept of Operations for the deployment of the International Neutral Force agreed to by the region and supported by the AU, as soon as it is submitted by the ICGLR, and to thus contribute to the updating of MONUSCO’s mandate;

8.    Calls upon all the countries of the region to fully support the ongoing efforts and contribute to the speedy resolution of the current crisis. Council also appeals to all the AU Member States to give political and material support to the regional efforts, noting, in this respect, the offer by South Africa to provide logistical support to the Neutral International Force and the offer by Tanzania to provide a Force Commander. Council urges all AU Member States to support the restructuring and the strengthening of the capacity of the DRC Defence and Security Forces;

9.    Stresses the crucial role of the United Nations and the Security Council, in particular, in support of the efforts made by the countries of the region and by the continent as a whole to put an end to the current crisis and endeavor to promote lasting peace, security and stability in the region. In this regard, Council welcomes the adoption by the UN Security Council, on 20 November 2012, of resolution 2076 (2012), and fully supports its implementation. Council urges the United Nations to provide all the necessary support for the successful implementation of the decisions adopted in Kampala;

10.    Expresses its support to the mission which the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for the Great Lakes Region plans to undertake in the countries of the region in order to facilitate the determination by the Commission of additional measures to be taken to enable the AU strengthen its support to the efforts of the ICGLR;

11.    Requests the Chairperson of the Commission immediately to transmit this communiqué to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and, through him, to the Security Council, for their action as appropriate;

12.    Requests the Chairperson of the Commission to report on the implementation of this decision, particularly its paragraphs 6, 7 and 10 within 15 days, to enable it evaluate the situation and take the required measures;

13.    Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Shiferaw Degefa
Last updated by Lulit Kebede

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