William Swing, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for the DRC and five country ambassadors from the US, France, UK, Belgium and South Africa met DRC President Joseph Kabila in Goma, North Kivu province on Monday 15 October 2007.
On the meeting agenda was the security and humanitarian situation in North Kivu, the reform of the security sector (SSR), the process of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and the problems of the Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
Also in attendance at the meeting were DRC Minister for Defence Chikez Diemu, Interior Minister Denis Kalume Numbi, Humanitarian Minister Jean Claude Muyambo Kyassa, North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku and MONUC force commander General Babacar Gaye.
After the meeting Mr. Swing made a press statement in his capacity as UN Special Representative and on behalf of the five ambassadors, in which he reiterated the full support of MONUC and the ambassadors present to the democratically elected government of President Kabila, on their right and duty to protect and to ensure the safety of all the citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We launch an urgent call to all the dissidents so that they enter brassage without delay and without condition. The same goes for the FDLR, so that they can return home immediately. In addition, we ask all the actors of the area that they behave as good neighbors and support the rebuilding of the DRC,” he said.
In addition, Mr. Swing reiterated the concern of MONUC and the ambassadors vis-a-vis the humanitarian situation in Nord Kivu, and invited all the belligerents to ensure total unrestricted access for humanitarian actors to vulnerable civilians.
Lastly, he stressed the importance which the international community attaches to the respect and protection of all the communities of Congo, which are, he insisted, “essential for the introduction of a durable peace, national reconciliation and economic and social development of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
It should be noted that the visit of President Kabila and three members of his government, MONUC chief Mr. Swing and the five amabassadors in Goma comes as the disarmament deadline given three weeks ago by the Congolese authorities for North Kivu combatants expired.
At a press conference afterwards the DRC Defence Minister announced that taking into account the encouraging numbers (nearly 1,200) which had surrendered in the last three weeks, the Congolese authorities had decided to continue to give peace a chance, and had prolonged the deadline.
The Minister however did not specify the exact deadline extension, but launched an urgent call to all actors concerned, including those of the civil society of the province, so that they can contribute to the intensification of sensitization of children within the troops of ex General Laurent Nkunda, in order to convince them to join the disarmament process.
William Swing, General Gaye and the ambassadors returned to Kinshasa on Monday evening. President Kabila and his ministerial delegation continued their visit to North Kivu, and returned to Kinshasa on Tuesday 16 October.