Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : The DRC must assume MONUSCO’s responsibilities to protect civilians – UK statement at the UN Security Council [December 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 11 December 2023.

Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on the DRC.

Thank you, President. Let me begin by thanking SRSG Keita and Ms Lusamba for briefing us today. I welcome the participation of the representatives of the DRC and Rwanda at this meeting.  President, the United Kingdom reiterates its full support for the work carried out by MONUSCO and SRSG Keita in challenging circumstances. I would like to make three points in response to what we have heard today.

First, the UK commends the Government of the DRC and MONUSCO for their collaboration on the Force disengagement plan, which includes, where appropriate, the transfer of tasks to the UN Country Team and other international partners. We welcome the Government’s commitment to a gradual, responsive, responsible and sustainable withdrawal process.

Second,  with the departure of MONUSCO, the DRC must assume its responsibilities to protect the civilian population. We urge the Government to step up preparations in this regard, and we encourage MONUSCO to continue its capacity-building efforts with the government to ensure a smooth transition. Intensifying violence, changing movements of regional forces on the ground, soaring numbers of victims of conflict-related sexual violence, particularly in IDP camps in eastern DRC, and a deteriorating humanitarian situation highlight the urgency of getting this process right.

Third, we continue to urge restraint and dialogue from all parties given the very real risk of miscalculation and the horrendous cost of further escalation. In particular, we urge all parties to recommit to the Nairobi and Luanda regional peacebuilding processes which are the best roadmaps towards a peaceful DRC. We commend the contribution of the East African Community and the East African Community Regional Force.

Dialogue, not violence, is the way to achieve lasting peace. We urge all parties and countries in the region to fulfil commitments to revitalise these political processes and deliver tangible action to address shared security challenges, improve humanitarian access and reduce violence.

Finally, President, we look forward to peaceful, credible and inclusive elections on 20 December, which will provide a chance to anchor democracy in the DRC. The UK looks forward to working with the new Government.