New York [US], March 30 (ANI): Concerned over the spread of terrorism in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's eastern provinces, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti highlighted major challenges in front of DRC authorities of providing security to civilians and supporting the stabilization and strengthening of State institutions.
"The established links of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) to terror groups and the potential spread of terrorism to the Central African region is a cause for concern. The DRC authorities have been raising the issue of the presence of terrorists operating under the cover of Forces democratiques de liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) and ADF in Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema. This needs to be taken seriously," he said.
The Islamic State Central Africa Province has also claimed responsibility for the December 25 IED attack in Beni, which had the bearings of a typical terror attack.
"We strongly condemn these attacks and offer our condolences to families of the victims," he added.
"India welcomed the enhanced regional efforts between the DRC, Uganda, and Rwanda to combat armed groups in the eastern DRC. We also underscore the critical need of regular tripartite coordination between MONUSCO, UPDF and FARDC during military operations, especially at the tactical level, " he said.
India as the second-largest troop contributor to (MONUSCO) United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with over 2,000 personnel, India takes a keen interest in the operations of MONUSCO as well as developments in the DRC.
"We take note of the ongoing preparations towards the withdrawal of MONUSCO from Tanganyika by June 2022. A successful drawdown from Tanganyika as per the timeline would further boost MONUSCO's own plans for rationalizing the resources and focusing on the three eastern provinces, " he added as the objective of the UN Mission in the country (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"I will therefore focus my remarks on the two main objectives concerning MONUSCO's mandate, i.e., protection of civilians, and support to the stabilization and strengthening of State institutions in the DRC and to key governance and security reforms," he added.
He also appreciated the regional efforts between the DRC, Uganda, and Rwanda to combat armed groups in eastern DRC.
He said, "We also underscore the critical need of regular tripartite coordination between MONUSCO, UPDF and FARDC during the military operations, especially at the tactical level."
Tirumurti noted the steps taken in the implementation of the Programme for Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Community Stabilization (P-DDRCS) ) against the benchmarks and the establishment of the provincial coordination mechanism. He further said that equal and meaningful participation of women in all the stages of the programme will be a crucial part and also hoped that this programme to be established in Eastern DRC.
"Regarding MONUSCO's operations on the ground, we believe greater clarity on the interpretation of the mandate, in respect of Force Intervention Brigade and other battalions, is important. This will help TCCs (The Carter Center) to have a clear understanding of operations to be undertaken and to equip appropriately. It is especially important from the point of view of safety and security of peacekeepers," he said
Tirumurti welcomed the progress made by DRC authorities towards holding of elections, by way of appointments to the National Independent Electoral Commission [CENI]; presentation of an electoral road map and requisite draft legislations.
He said, "We welcome these developments while noting the challenges in the roadmap. We encourage all stakeholders to keep up the positive momentum and create an enabling environment for the holding of peaceful, inclusive, and transparent elections."
"India also welcomes the DRC President assuming the role of Chairperson of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). We believe that this will help continue DRC's continued leadership and engagement with its neighbours and the wider Central African region. We also welcome the convening of the Tenth High-Level Meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism at Kinshasa on February 24," he added.
Tirumurti concluded his speech by lauding the development that DRC leadership has shown in addressing the existing challenges.
He said, "In conclusion, Madam President, a peaceful and stable DRC will contribute immensely to the overall development of the region. This potential is visible as we witness increased partnership and cooperation among the regional stakeholders. The DRC leadership has shown firm resolve to address existing challenges, and the international community needs to take cognizance of the same and continue supporting the DRC government. On our part, India will remain steadfast in supporting the people of DRC." (ANI)