Central Africa: U.S. Ambassador Rice On Signing of Peace Agreement for DRC

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Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN
Fleeing conflict (file photo).

USUN PRESS RELEASE

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.

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