Senior UN peacekeeping official meets SADC Executive Secretary

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While in Africa, United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary General for peace operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix met Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary Elias Magosi with the ongoing volatile situation in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly the country’s east, on the agenda.

They, according to an SADC statement, discussed possible options for UN support to DRC peace processes “where the resurgence of armed groups, including M23, is causing untold misery to the people of the eastern DRC”. Over three million people mostly women, girls and children are reportedly displaced.

Ahead of meeting Magosi, at an undisclosed venue, but probably SADC headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana, Lacroix met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Both were in the east African country for the 30th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi earlier in April. A UN tweet has it “co-ordination of efforts in support of peace and security in DRC” were discussed.

On 15 December the SADC Mission in DRC – SAMIDRC – was deployed to support the DRC government in restoring peace and security in eastern DRC. This part of the central African country continues to witness an increase in conflicts and instability caused by the resurgence of armed groups the SADC statement reads. Deployment of the regional bloc mission, Lacroix heard, is in accordance with the principle of collective self-defence and collective action outlined in the 2003 SADC Mutual Defence Pact. It emphasises “any armed attack perpetrated against one of the State Parties shall be considered a threat to regional peace and security and shall be met with immediate collective action”.

Four days later the UN Security Council (SC) adopted Resolution 2717 on DRC. It extends the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUSCO) until 20 December this year, with a strategic priority to contribute to protection of civilians. It further stresses the MONUSCO withdrawal should be accompanied by a simultaneous strengthening of the State’s [government’s] capabilities and authority, in particular the defence and security forces to avoid what are termed “security gaps”.