Thank you, President, and thank you to the Special Envoy for his briefing. Thank you also to Mr. Caholo and Ms. Malimukono for their contributions.
The United Kingdom is deeply concerned by the intensifying violence and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Great Lakes region and the recent escalation in fighting between armed groups in North Kivu. We also remain concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation in the Great Lakes region, including large-scale displacement of people from their homes and high levels of sexual violence, including in IDP camps.
The UK fully supports the work carried out by MONUSCO, especially in protecting civilians. We acknowledge the DRC government’s request to bring forward MONUSCO’s withdrawal and we encourage it to engage constructively with MONUSCO to ensure a responsible, conditions-based withdrawal. A rushed departure of MONUSCO would create a significant security vacuum in eastern DRC, putting hundreds of thousands of civilians at risk, and risk further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.
President, we welcome the reduction in incidents of cross-border violence between DRC and Rwanda, but we remain concerned by heightened confrontational rhetoric by both countries. We have engaged Kigali and Kinshasa to urge them to engage in dialogue and build trust, recognising the risk of miscalculation and the horrendous cost of further escalation.
The UK also welcomes the continued engagement of the Great Lakes region, in particular the leadership of Presidents Lourenço, Ndayishimiye, Geingob, and former President Kenyatta. We reiterate our support for the Nairobi and Luanda processes. We call upon countries in the region to revitalise these processes and turn commitments into tangible action to address the shared security challenges, improve humanitarian access, and to reduce violence.
President, the UK firmly believes that dialogue, not violence, is the only way to achieve lasting peace in the Great Lakes region. To this end, we will continue our regional diplomatic efforts and engage with all Council members to support peace and stability in the Great Lakes region.