H.E. MR. SHINICHI KITAOKA
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Public Meeting of the Security Council on the Security Council Mission to Central Africa
8 December 2004
We appreciate the decision to dispatch a Security Council Mission to the Central Africa region. The mission encouraged the ownership initiative of Africa for peace and security at a very critical moment for the region, when the first Summit Meeting of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Regions, which embodies such initiative, was taking place. The subsequent disturbance in the eastern part of the DRC, however, has seriously damaged prospects for achieving peace and stability in the region. I therefore wish to discuss three points which Japan considers important in this connection.
First, we are deeply concerned about the reported incursion of Rwandan troops across the border of the DRC. We must urgently seek to establish the facts, since the event, if it actually occurred, jeopardizes the efforts of the Security Council and the international community to bring about peace in the Great Lakes Region. The Government of Rwanda should first have recourse to such political means as the Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM) or the Tripartite Commission to address its security concerns. The immediate and active cooperation of that government to initiate JVM is absolutely required. At the same time, DDRRR of ex-FAR and Interahamwe in the DRC must be accelerated, and therefore we urge the Government of the DRC to make every possible effort to disarm and repatriate those soldiers as expeditiously as possible, in cooperation with MONUC, and with the newly deploying brigades, in particular.
Second, as to Burundi, we first of all commend and support the role played by the Regional Initiative and the African Union in promoting the peace process. It is important for all parties concerned to make further efforts to advance the process in accordance with the newly established schedule, so as to enable the indirect election for the new President to be held and thus complete the process next April. We condemn the FNL of Agathon Rwasa for continuing to reject the peace process and fighting against the FAB (Forces armees burundaises). We also strongly condemn the Gatumba massacre. Such a tragedy must never be repeated in this region. We welcome in this regard the intention of the Government of Burundi, after its national investigation, to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court. I expect that those efforts will lead to the identification of those responsible for the massacre and ensure that they are brought to justice.
Third, with regard to the activities of the PKO, it is important to note that the mission of the Security Council visited the UN peacekeepers in both the DRC and Burundi to make an assessment on the ground. Based on the experience gained through this mission, the Security Council should seek to conduct more in-depth discussion on how the PKOs can contribute to making the elections successful in these countries and then draw down in accordance with a clearly defined exit strategy. I must mention in this connection that the instances of sexual abuse alleged to have been committed by members of MONUC betray the trust and confidence of the local population and seriously undermine the credibility of the Security Council and the United Nations as a whole. The Secretariat must not suppress the facts in this case. All information should be disclosed, and strict disciplinary and recurrence prevention measures should be taken at once.
In closing, Mr. President, I cannot overstate the importance of a regional approach for the peace and stability of the Central African region. The Security Council should consider how to mobilize and optimize the military, political and socioeconomic tools available to the international community in order to promote overall peace in the region. Japan, for its part, has actively participated in the discussion, and as a non-permanent member of the Security Council from next year, now stands ready to discharge enhanced responsibilities in this regard.