Delivered by: Ameirah AlHefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative
I would like to thank Special Representative Keita for her efforts as well as those of her team, and we appreciate her valuable briefing. I also thank Ambassador Biang for his comprehensive intervention. We also listened carefully to Ms. Modi. We also welcome the participation in this meeting of His Excellency Minister Lutundula Apalla and the representative of Rwanda.
The UAE values the Government of the DRC’s re-affirmation of its commitment to holding elections, as planned, by the end of this year. This includes the recent publication of the list of candidates by the National Independent Electoral Commission and the extension of invitations to regional and international electoral observers as well as the relevant United Nations bodies. We encourage MONUSCO, as a key partner in this process, to continue to provide the necessary support in that regard, in line with the priorities of the DRC and the Mission’s mandate.
Looking ahead, it is important that MONUSCO continues to facilitate inclusive political participation in the electoral process, including the promotion of women’s full and meaningful participation, to ensure the effectiveness of these efforts.
As the Secretary-General’s report indicates, the workshops organized by MONUSCO in recent months in Bunia and South Kivu have contributed to an increase in the number of women candidates for political office. We look forward to the Mission building on these important gains.
We also hope that the Mission will focus, within mandated tasks, on promoting tolerance and peaceful coexistence across communities and countering hate speech, in line with Security Council resolution 2686 on “Tolerance and international peace and security”. Such an approach is critical to long-term security and stability and to the prevention of conflicts.
Insecurity in the Eastern DRC remains concerning, given the continued activities of armed groups. We stress the need for the M23 to respect the ceasefire. We also reiterate our calls on the M23 and all other armed groups to lay down their arms and cease hostilities, which we condemn, and to do so permanently and unconditionally.
Going forward, we believe that a comprehensive approach is needed to address insecurity in the country in order to provide protection to communities. Particular attention must be paid to the situation of women and girls and their protection must be ensured. All armed groups must abide by international humanitarian law and cease all forms of violence against civilians.
Considering the regional ramifications of the conflict in the eastern DRC, we stress that resolving differences and de-escalating tensions in the region requires an inclusive, African-led peace process that relies at its core on dialogue and constructive engagement among local, regional, and international partners. Therefore, we believe that the current regional mediation efforts are commendable, and we hope that the recent summits and meetings held in the region will help build the momentum required to consolidate security and stability. To achieve this goal, all these initiatives will require integrated coordination and working closely with the DRC government.
With regards to the future of MONUSCO, we thank the Secretary-General for his recommendations, and we look forward to constructive discussions on this matter in the Council in the coming weeks. With regards to the request of the Government of the DRC to accelerate the withdrawal of MONUSCO, which was also addressed by the President Tshisekedi in the General Assembly last week, we stress the need to take into account the views of the host State in our deliberations and to ensure continued dialogue and communication between the Government and MONUSCO, while placing the aspirations and expectations of the Congolese people at the centre of discussions on the future of MONUSCO.
Finally, the UAE urges relevant UN agencies to continue working with national authorities to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the DRC. This is particularly critical for children, as nearly one million children suffer from acute malnutrition, in addition to the difficult conditions that children experience due to displacement. The closure of more than 1,000 schools is unacceptable. We must protect the future generation, who will one day lead the country.
We emphasize that addressing all these challenges in a sustainable manner requires tangible progress on the political and security tracks, so that stability and prosperity can prevail in the country.
Thank you, Madam President.