Official speeches and statements - July 8, 2021
=Translation from French=
I thank Ms. Keita for her briefing and I would also like to commend the commitment of Ritha Kibambe and all the women who are on the front lines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I will highlight three points.
Firstly, the urgency of ending the violence.
The use of improvised bombs in Beni is a disturbing development that France condemns. In view of the increase in attacks by armed groups, it is imperative to refocus MONUSCO on the eastern provinces. The means to protect civilians must be fully mobilized by the Mission, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The intervention brigade of the Force, which has just been reinforced, must play a full part in this.
France welcomes the commitment of several political leaders and members of civil society to fight against hate speech that stirs up inter-community violence. Such violence cannot be directed against Congolese institutions or against the international presence. As President Tshisekedi said recently in Beni: "MONUSCO is here to help us stabilize the country".
This brings me to my second point - the rights and health of the population must remain the focus of our attention.
Human rights must be respected and civic space guaranteed, especially in areas under state of siege. The fight against impunity must continue and France welcomes the conviction of 21 CODECO fighters by the Ituri Military Tribunal for crimes against humanity.
The humanitarian situation is deteriorating. Dr. Kibambe recalled the magnitude of the needs in the face of the COVID-19. As the country is hit by a third wave, France and the DRC have just signed a 9 million euro agreement to strengthen the health system in North Kivu.
The attacks on hospitals are unacceptable. Since the renewal of the sanctions regime concerning the DRC, those who carry out attacks against medical or humanitarian personnel, as well as those who plan, support or participate in such attacks, may be designated and placed under sanctions by the Security Council.
Finally - and this is my third point - reforms must accompany the transition of MONUSCO.
Stabilizing the east of the country must remain a priority for the new government. This means implementing the disarmament-demobilization-reintegration strategy, which must prevent a new cycle of violence. The reform of the police and the army must continue. A transparent and credible framework must also be developed for the 2023 elections. These efforts will only bear fruit with the firm commitment of the countries in the region. It is time to give an operational translation to the consultation undertaken between the stakeholders within the new contact and coordination group. France welcomes this initiative, which is in keeping with the spirit of the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement.
The withdrawal of MONUSCO from the Kasais and then Tanganyika requires an increased presence of UN agencies, funds and programs. The involvement of international financial institutions and regional organizations will be essential. The Peacebuilding Fund must continue its work, in coordination with the Stabilization Coherence Fund.
The future of the Congolese people depends on our continued commitment. A future that we hope will be marked by stability, development and peace./.