Check against delivery.

I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Bintou Keita, for her comprehensive briefing and her work. I welcome the participation of the Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to this Council meeting, and congratulate his country on joining the East African community.

In the aftermath of the recent attacks in Ituri and North Kivu, I want to take this opportunity to join my colleagues in expressing our sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the government, and the people of the DRC.

These attacks underscore the need to further address the complex and inter-connected security challenges facing the DRC, particularly in the eastern region, to achieve sustainable peace. Key among these challenges is the persistence of inter-communal violence, the spread of hate speech, the rise of sexual and gender-based violence, the illicit trade of natural resources, and cross-border crime, which have all, unfortunately, exacerbated the already-fragile humanitarian situation.

The UAE emphasizes the importance of upholding international humanitarian law and mitigating the impact of violence on the most vulnerable. In addressing security challenges, the protection of civilians needs to remain front and center of all stakeholders’ considerations. We are also concerned about continued attacks against UN personnel, including those working to protect civilian, and believe there is a need to ensure their protection as well as the protection of humanitarian workers. Additionally, special attention must be paid to the situation of women in areas of heightened violence to ensure that they have access to adequate protection and support.

Furthermore, it is important to build on the existing cooperation between the DRC and its neighbors and regional partners, including the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Having an integrated regional approach is key to addressing common security challenges, strengthening diplomatic relations and economic cooperation. A combination of these factors could contribute to the security and stability of DRC and the entire region.

With regard to MONUSCO, we are encouraged by its continued cooperation with the government in the implementation of the 2021-2023 transitional plan. We join others in acknowledging the important role of MONUSCO in supporting the government’s efforts, including through the promotion of women’s full, meaningful, and equal participation in the political process as well as their continued empowerment.

In conclusion, as part of our presidency commitment to bring attention to the implementation of resolution 2565, I want to take this opportunity to highlight the ongoing challenge that COVID-19 still poses in the DRC. The most recent data shows that infections are on the rise and the number of people fully vaccinated is far less than 1% of the population. We call on the international community to intensify its efforts in supporting the DRC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to alleviate the burden on the country’s health system.

Thank you.