Friday, 18 July 2003

Kinshasa (Fides Service) – Pax Christi International PCI has launched an appeal for the extension of operations of the United Nations and the European Union to Ituri, in the north east of Democratic Congo. In a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations dated 17 July, the vice president of PCI Archbishop Monsengwo Pasinya of Kisangani and PCI International Secretary Etienne De Jonghe, ask for the prolongation of mandates and active involvement in order to guarantee peace for the entire region.
The mandate of the UN Mission in Congo MONUC expires at the end of July whereas the European Union mission ARTEMIS is due to withdraw in 1 September.
In the letter the Pax Christi International leaders say “the necessity of a forceful UN presence to prevent genocide is evident in Bunia but interventions such as ATREMIS must be part of broader efforts for peace. The UN Security Council is due to discuss the renewal of the MONUC mandate at the end of the month. We hope that the present mission in Bunia will be the basis for a wider MONUC mission in north east Democratic Congo”.
They call in particular for “a UN and EU operation in Ituri region and the whole country which must be inserted in a context which foresees: process of disarmament of child soldiers, militia and other groups involved in the conflict; strengthen civil society and initiatives of reconciliation among different groups and peoples; necessity to develop of a more general peace process to include all the African countries in the Great Lakes region; need to develop new tools of international law able to contrast the economic and structural causes of the war (war economy); that is stop the vicious circle of exploitation of resources and importing of arms; necessary political pressure on governments of Rwanda and Uganda; aid for development must be urgently directed to the reconstruction of basic infrastructures of society (health centres, schools, homes); stop impunity; war lords and other irresponsible leaders must be brought before national and/or international Courts.”.
On July 17 Fides Service published an appeal on the situation:
The difficult situation in the north east will be one of the priorities which the new national unity government installed yesterday in Kinshasa will have to face. The executive is led by President Joseph Kabila flanked by four vice-presidents Jean-Pierre Bemba head of the Congo Liberation Movement (MLC), Azarias Ruberwa, leader Congo Union for Democracy (RCD); Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, former foreign minister of previous government and Arthur Z'ahidi Ngoma, representing the unarmed political Opposition
The national unity government was formed on the basis of an agreement reached in Sun City (South Africa) in April, which also foresees political and presidential elections within two years. (L.M.) (Fides Service 18/7/2003 lines 44 words 536)