JB meets UN chief: SADC asks for enhanced UN intervention in the DRC

The SADC leader, Malawi President Dr Joyce Banda on 22nd September, 2013 told the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that SADC is very concerned about the conflict underway in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the deteriorating humanitarian situation there.

The SADC leader said what is more worrisome is that in the eastern part of the DRC, forces led by the rebel M23 group, are causing untold misery and suffering on women and children of the DRC in this part of the country.

President Banda who was accompanied during the meeting by Namibian President Hifikipinye Pohamba who is the chairperson for the SADC organ on politics, defence and security cooperation, acknowledged that the conflict in the DRC has been on the UN agenda for over a decade. But she worried that regrettably peace continued to elude the DRC and the region.

“SADC is of the view that the international community led by the UN, should continue to engage to assist the DRC to have peace and stability.

President Joyce Banda with UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon-pic by Lisa Vintulla
President Joyce Banda with UN General Secretary
Ban Ki-Moon-pic by Lisa Vintulla

“For as long as the DRC has no peace, the region and indeed the African continent, will have no meaningful peace. The UN has the responsibility to bring about peace across the world, including to the people of the DRC,” said President Banda.

She said with full cooperation of DRC’s neighbours and support of the UN family, peace is attainable in the DRC. To this end, she commended the UN, the role of International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and all cooperating partners to the peace process in the DRC. She also welcomed the recent robust response by the Intervention Brigade in support of MONUSCO and the FARDC in repelling the M23 from Goma.

Appealing to the UN Security Council for more troops into the DRC, the SADC leader said there is need to deal with the political angle to solve the problem. And so she called for political dialogue between the government and the rebel forces with the active participation of neighbours. The UN already has more than 200,000 uniformed soldiers, on a peace keeping mission against armed rebels in the country.

President Banda also said SADC is gravely concerned with the deployment of Rwandese troops at the common border with the DRC and requested the UN Secretary General’s office to ask the Government of the Republic of Rwanda to move their troops away from this region.

On Madagascar, President Banda reported about the political situation in that country saying the sticky issue of Messrs Ratsiraka and Rajeolina as well as Madam Ravalomanana was now water under the bridge. SADC, she said, would be deploying an Observer Mission during that country’s October polls in which all the three people will not stand as candidates.

The SADC chair, however, reported that Madagascar is threatened by a shortage of food following a locust invitation on the island.

“SADC further calls on the UN to continue mobilizing the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to Madagascar,” she said.

President Joyce Banda with UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon-pic by Lisa Vintulla
President Joyce Banda with UN General Secretary
Ban Ki-Moon-pic by Lisa Vintulla

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