In a UN Security Council briefing, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, expressed deep concerns over the security situation in the Great Lakes region, particularly between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. Thomas-Greenfield emphasized the urgency of international support for the EAC-led Nairobi Process and Luanda Process to address the dire situation. She underlined the importance of respecting human rights, condemning illicit activities such as unlawful mineral extraction.
Thomas-Greenfield highlighted the obstruction caused by M23, calling upon all parties to fulfill their commitments under the Luanda communiqué, including M23’s withdrawal, cantonment, and disarmament. While acknowledging the support of regional states, she expressed concern over M23’s blockage of pre-cantonment sites, hindering DDR efforts and impeding the crucial work of MONUSCO.
The ambassador stressed the need for Rwanda to immediately cease its support for the UN-sanctioned M23 and withdraw from DRC territory. She also urged the FARDC to sever ties with the UN-backed FDLR. Thomas-Greenfield called for coordination between regional troops in eastern DRC, whether bilaterally or through the East African Community, and MONUSCO.
Additionally, she cautioned against endorsing greater MONUSCO support to the EACRF without adequate safeguards aligned with UN policies on human rights, accountability, and command and control concerns. These safeguards are essential to prevent inadvertently worsening an already perilous security situation.
Thomas-Greenfield highlighted the alarming displacement of over half a million people in 2023 alone due to the conflict, noting the dire conditions in overcrowded camps deprived of sufficient food, water, and medical care.
Ultimately, the ambassador stressed the importance of credible and violence-free elections in the region, emphasizing the need for inclusiveness in the electoral process. She expressed appreciation for the efforts of stakeholders from both DRC and Rwanda.