News BlogCentral Southern Africa

Monusco must fulfill its mandate to protect civilians

(BRUSSELS2) The “Congo” item was not on the agenda of the meeting of foreign ministers today (November 19). And it was Belgium – supported by France – which insisted on having a debate between ministers. “ This point is of little interest (my colleagues). The central africa file disappears very quickly from the agenda when there are other concerns recognized D. Reynders, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, on leaving the Council, confiding in a few journalists (including B2).

Rwanda implicated without saying so

The European Union has therefore condemned the violence perpetrated by the M23 in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and called for a political solution to the conflict. The EU did not cite the Rwandan government by name but it was indirectly implicated by referring to the UN report of the 1533 committee. It thus generally condemned external support for the rebels. “All support for the M23, in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo, must stop » declared Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, specifying that the Union was ready, in the coming weeks, to follow its international partners and to study more precisely the establishment of sanctions. Note that only the M23 was expressly condemned while in the North Kivu region in particular, more than one group of rebels commit murders and atrocities. “ The M23 rebellion has revived other rebellions which are rising from their ashes and committing abuses. Putting down the M23 rebellion would also reduce the intensity of the other groups”.

Congo must speed up its reform

The 27 also pointed out the lack of will on the part of Kinshasa, asking the government to accelerate the reform of the defense and police sectors, in particular by reminding it of the importance of supporting European security missions ( EUSEC) and police (EUPOL).

And Monusco must be more efficient

The EU also asked the UN mission deployed in the country, MONUSCO, to “ play an active role in the region as permitted by its mandate”. Terminology friendly enough to ask the nearly 16.000 soldiers who make it up to do their job. Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders was clearer. " Monusco has a role in protecting civilian populations. If Goma falls, we can still ask ourselves the question of respect for his mandate. We must strengthen MONUSCO, change its status, its mandate he explained. " There is a capacity of 2000 men – which could be released. (But) this only makes sense if we give a more offensive capability against the rebels. » Il a also learned a lesson from the past. “Negotiations and reintegration into the army must be avoided. It is useless to go towards the integration of rebels who then come out »

It is up to the EU to develop a “Great Lakes” strategy

The 27 also asked the European diplomatic service (EEAS) and the Commission to set up a European strategic approach. A kind of global approach like the strategy implemented in the Sahel or in Somalia.

The ministers also formally support the appointment of a special envoy from the African Union and invite the United Nations to appoint its own special representative to facilitate regional dialogue.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).