Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the debate on UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)

Mr. President,

Let me, at the outset, thank Mr. Farid Zarif, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo for his comprehensive briefing, and for his continued leadership at the helm of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK). I welcome also thank H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Enver Hoxhaj of Kosovo for their respective statements.

Rwanda welcomes the commitment of new Government of Serbia to the European Union facilitated dialogue with Pristina and for the full implementation of the 19 April 2013 Agreement. We equally welcome the holding, on 8th June, of peaceful, transparent and well-organized elections of the Assembly of Kosovo, following the dissolution of the previous Assembly. We commend the Kosovo authorities, with the support of the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), for a smooth organization of these elections. We extend our appreciation to the Kosovo Police which, in coordination with the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), provided security for the elections.

We noted however that due to this electoral and political process on both sides, the EU-facilitated process slowed down, as no high level meeting was held during the reporting period. But we are confident that the parties will soon resume dialogue, to iron out the underlying differences. In this respect, we recognize the leadership of the European Union in facilitating the dialogue and we believe that this is one of the examples that highlight the critical role that regional and subregional organizations can play in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Mr. President,

We note that the security situation in Kosovo has remained generally calm and stable, despite various incidents such as the incidents near the villages of Orlovac and Kushtove/Kosutovo, as informed by the Special Representative. In Northern Kosovo, we deplore incidents occurred in June in the area of the main Mitrovica Bridge, which led to the rise in tensions and to protests during which 13 police officers and 12 civilians were injured. We are however encouraged by the establishment, by Belgrade and Pristina, of a Working Group, following a meeting held in July between both sides, under the auspices of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in Brussels, to discuss the matter. We hope that both sides will continue working together to avoid further security incidents.

Mr. President,

Rwanda takes note, with concern, of the findings of the European Union Specialized Task Force, as presented by its Chief Prosecutor on 29 July. We were alarmed by the reports of ethnic cleansing targeting minorities, organized by former senior officials of the Kosovo Liberation Army, as well as a climate of intimidation against the current and potential witnesses. In this regard, we welcome the ratification, by the Assembly of Kosovo, of the Agreement between Kosovo and EU establishing a specialist court to try cases arising from the findings of the Task Force. But it is important that the Government and Assembly of Kosovo, as well as the European Union, take additional measures to expedite the establishment of the court, in order to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable.

It is unfortunate, Mr. President, that the voluntary return of displaced persons to Kosovo remained low during the period under review. Nonetheless, we commend the Kosovo authorities for the implementation of the 2013-2014 confidence-building measures programme throughout the country, aimed at promoting genuine reconciliation among the communities. We believe that community-based initiatives and other projects, particularly those aimed at better integrating minorities in the education system and in the public service, including the Police, will eventually contribute to a higher number of returnees, thus fostering sustainable reconciliation.

In conclusion, Mr. President, Rwanda recognizes the commitment of Belgrade and Pristina to the EU-facilitated dialogue and we encourage both sides to remain engaged constructively, as we are convinced that this process will ultimately lead to a long-term stability, reconciliation and development on both sides.

I thank you.



Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the Wrap up session of the month of August

Mr President,

I thank you for organizing this wrap-up session, the sixth since the beginning of the year, and the second in a row under the format of a public briefing. The holding of these meetings, which provide an opportunity for the Security Council to assess its work and critically examine its progress and effectiveness, should be encouraged. I hope that more Council members, current and future, will continue this practice, and that non-Council members will continue to participate.

The delegation of Rwanda appreciates the way you, Mr President, presided over this Council during the month of August 2014, particularly your focus on an effective management of time. We extend our appreciation to the Deputy Permanent Representative, the Political Coordinator and his Alternate, as well as to the whole Security Council Team of the United Kingdom.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Samantha Power of the United States for assuming the presidency of the Council for the month of September. We note that the US had organized, during its last presidency in July 2013, an open debate on protection of journalists in armed conflicts, and that this September; the US has chosen foreign terrorist fighters as the main topic for its presidency. The barbaric killing of Jim Foley, a US journalist, by members of the Islamic State, including foreign terrorist fighters, is the tragic exemplification of the need for this Council to tackle this scourge, while reinforcing protection of civilians, including journalists.

Talking about protection of civilians, we also thank the United Kingdom for organizing, on the occasion of the international humanitarian day on 19th August, a briefing on the protection of humanitarian workers, in memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary General to Iraq, and his colleagues, killed in the terrorist attack against the Canal Hotel in Baghdad eleven (11) years ago. And Rwanda supports the draft resolution that the UK presidency has introduced in this regard.

Mr President,

While appreciating the successful holding of a Security Council trip to Belgium, The Netherlands, South Sudan and Somalia, we noted that the maintenance of International peace and security has continued to be gravely challenged during the month of August 2014. From Ukraine to the Central African Republic (CAR), through Syria, Iraq, Libya and South Sudan, conflicts around the world continued unabated, many of them without any perspective for a peaceful resolution. More concerning is that terrorist organizations have moved beyond committing terrorist acts, as the Islamic State, Boko Haram and others, have acquired a military might to conquer territories, with a view to create Islamic caliphates. Althought Rwanda usually advocates for peaceful resolution of conflicts, we believe that when the world is facing terrorist and genocidal organizations, the only solution is to fight them and to defeat them. We cannot afford containing or appeasing those violent groups. And cooperation and coordination of regional countries, world’s powers and the Security Council are critical to achieve this goal.

However, in this dark picture of international peace and security, we noted a glimmer of hope for the conflict in Gaza. The open-ended ceasefire, brokered early this week by Egypt, could provide a fresh start for a political solution to the long-standing conflict in the Middle East. Nonetheless, the Security Council should follow closely this situation and be ready to take appropriate measures to help parties reaching sustainable peace and stability. On Eastern Ukraine, considered just before this meeting, we welcomed the regional Summit held in Minsk, Belarus on Monday; but we continue to be concerned at the dangerous escalation of the situation of the ground. We call again on the concerned parties to exercise restraint, in the respect of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and continue dialogue for a political and diplomatic solution to the crisis.

The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was also discussed in August, during a high-level debate focused on the neutralization of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR). Recalling the press statement adopted on Tuesday 26 August, Rwanda welcomes the clear and unreserved support by the Security Council to the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), which have clearly stated that the six-month period granted to the FDLR for its disarmament must be followed by a military action, should that genocidal organization continues its delaying tactics.

Mr President,

We all know that the dramatic increase and worsening of conflicts around the world has increased the agenda of the Security Council. Unfortunately, this situation has also worsened our methods of work. I will not dwell too much on the need to shift our approach from a culture of management of conflicts to a spirit of prevention of conflict. We have appreciated the thematic open debate convened by the United Kingdom last week and the briefing provided by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) this week, but we believe that an effective prevention of conflict should be oriented towards regular country-specific scannings, based on actual threats to international peace and security.

Beyond that, Rwanda noted, over the past weeks and months, not only the increase of emergency meetings but also the emergence of a practice whereby a Council member request a meeting on an aspect of a particular crisis, while another one requests a meeting to discuss another aspect of the same crisis within the same period of time! We believe that this practice undermines the ability of the Security Council to effectively address conflicts in a comprehensive manner. This Council should have a serious conversation on how to be more flexible, more efficient and better manage its agenda. We believe that the frequency of our meetings should depend on the evolution of crises on our agenda, which should be addressed in a holistic manner, including sanctions. While some situations should be considered on a biannual or quarterly basis, other situations deserve monthly or even semi-monthly meetings, with a clear strategy of the Security Council.

To conclude, Mr. President, I wish to thank the Secretary General for his usual availability to interact with members of this Council and I extend our appreciation to members of his administration, as well as to members of the Security Council Affairs Division, for their usual assistance to Council members.

I thank you.


Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the UN Security Council briefing on Ukraine

Mr. President,

I thank you for convening this emergency meeting of the Security Council to address recent developments in eastern Ukraine. I thank Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, for his comprehensive briefing. We recognize the Secretary General’s good offices and your own efforts, Mr Feltman, in finding a solution to this crisis.

Rwanda, as all members of the Security Council, is extremely alarmed at the rapidly deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine. The regional Summit held on 26 August in Minsk, Belarus, where President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation met for the first time since the election of the former in May this year, had raised hope for a ceasefire and a diplomatic solution to this conflict. Unfortunately, the last few days was marked by renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine, particularly in Donetsk Region, where the town of Novoazovsk has fallen in the hands of armed separatists, who now threaten to take over the strategic port city of Marisupol.

In this regard, we were troubled by the information provided by one of the leaders of armed separatists that 3,000 to 4,000 Russian nationals have joined their ranks, fighting in eastern Ukraine; and we are also concerned at accusations of border crossings by Russian elements into Ukraine. It is clear that the rise of tension and rhetoric between Ukraine and the Russian Federation could, if not properly addressed, lead to a full-blown conflict between the two countries, thus further threatening the international peace and security and worsening an already dire human rights and humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine.

Mr. President,

The situation in Ukraine has been on the agenda of the Security Council since end of February this year. We have been constantly meeting on this crisis (24 meetings, as reminded by Ambassador Power of the United States) but unfortunately we were unable to take any meaningful decision, except the resolution 2166 (2014) we adopted on 18th July on the downing of Malaysia Flight MH17. In any case, given the division in this Council, it is unlikely that the solution will come from New York. Only a genuine dialogue among Ukrainians coupled with diplomatic talks between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, with the support of the United Nations and regional organizations, can provide a sustainable solution to this crisis. And we believe that President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan and the Minsk process can be a viable framework to achieve this goal.

I will conclude, Mr. President, by once again calling on all parties in Ukraine to respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Armed groups must cease hostilities; lay down their arms, in order to de-escalate the situation and give a chance to peace. In this respect, we urge all regional stakeholders to use their influence and work towards peace and stability in the region.

I thank you.







UN Security Council press statement on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

On 7 August 2014, the members of the Security Council heard briefings by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler, the outgoing Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, and the Minister of Defence of Angola, Mr. João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, in his capacity as representative of the Chair of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). The members of the Security Council welcomed the nomination of Said Djinnit as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the progress against armed groups, including the military defeat of the M23 movement, the signing of the Nairobi Declarations by the DRC government and the M23, and the significant weakening of the ADF-NALU but regretted that no significant progress was made towards the neutralization of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR). They noted the initial efforts made by the DRC government and the governments of the region toward fulfilling the commitments made under the PSC Framework, including the development of national and regional benchmarks. The members of the Security Council welcomed the efforts of regional organizations, in particular the role of the ICGLR, including that of President José Eduardo dos Santos as chair, as subsequently demonstrated by the holding of two Heads of State and Government Mini-Summits in Luanda (Angola) on 25 March and on 14 August 2014.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for the swift neutralization of the FDLR, as a top priority in bringing stability to the DRC and the Great Lakes region. They recalled that leaders and members of the FDLR were among the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, and recalled that the FDLR is a group under United Nations sanctions, operating in the DRC, and which has continued to promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the DRC. They expressed deep concern regarding the sustained domestic and regional threat posed by the FDLR, including recent reports of continued human rights abuses by members of the FDLR and continued recruiting and training of combatants, including children, and stressed the importance of disarming and ending the threat caused by this illegal armed group.

The members of the Security Council took note of ongoing ICGLR and SADC diplomatic efforts to harmonise views and approaches on the neutralisation and unconditional disarmament of the FDLR. They further took note of the six-month timeframe for the voluntary surrender of the FDLR from 2 July 2014 and the review of progress after three months, as set out by the joint ICGLR-SADC meeting of Ministers of Defence on 2 July 2014. They expressed concern about reports by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC that the FDLR has interpreted this six-month timeframe as a call to stall previously scheduled demobilizations. They noted that the disarmament process should be concluded swiftly, have a clearly defined end-state and be supported by credible military action. Meanwhile, they encouraged the DRC government, in coordination with MONUSCO, to actively pursue military action against those leaders and members of the FDLR who do not engage in the demobilization process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses. They underlined MONUSCO’s mandate to neutralise all armed groups, in line with resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2147 (2014), and further underlined their support for an effective DD/RRR program, paying a particular attention to women and children, as part of the demobilisation process.

The members of the Security Council took note of the technical missions carried out by the DRC government-led delegations to Uganda and Rwanda in April and July, respectively, to assess and process amnesty requests for former M23 combatants, in preparation for the repatriation of those eligible for reintegration, and underlined the need to fast-track and conclude their return to the DRC in accordance with an agreed timetable. In this regard, they encouraged the parties to speed up the implementation of the Kampala Dialogue/Nairobi Declarations in order to ensure the permanent demobilization of the M23.

The members of the Security Council called for the full and swift implementation of the DRC’s national commitments under the PSC Framework, including the restoration of state authority and the wider governance, economic, and security sector reforms needed in the DRC to consolidate the progress made so far. They noted in this context the particular importance of security sector reform, including the establishment of a Rapid Reaction Force. They stressed that the Government of the DRC bears primary responsibility for security, protection of civilians, national reconciliation, peacebuilding and development in the country.

The members of the Security Council commended the work of SRSG Kobler and outgoing SESG Robinson, and underlined the continuing crucial role of MONUSCO in protecting civilians and promoting peace and stability in the DRC. They stressed the importance of the troop contributing countries’ role in the implementation of the mission’s full mandate, including the neutralization of all armed groups through its Intervention Brigade, in support of the authorities of the DRC, either unilaterally or jointly with the FARDC, and in cooperation with the whole of MONUSCO. They further emphasized the importance for MONUSCO to support and work with the Government of the DRC to arrest and bring to justice those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. They also stressed the need to continue to increase the effectiveness of the Mission, and looked forward to the outcome of the forthcoming Strategic Review of MONUSCO and the wider UN presence in the DRC.

The members of the Security Council encouraged the United Nations, the African Union, the ICGLR, SADC and other relevant international and regional organizations to continue to work together to support the government of the DRC and the governments of the region towards the full implementation of the national and regional commitments under the PSC Framework.



Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the UN Security Council debate on conflict prevention

Mr. President,

I thank you and your delegation for organizing this important debate on conflict prevention, and for the comprehensive concept note you circulated among UN member states. Let me first acknowledge the dedication of the United Kingdom for conflict prevention in this Council; I recall that during UK’s previous presidency in June 2013, the President had convened a meeting on conflict prevention, focused on effective management of natural resources. I take this opportunity to reiterate our support to the adopted resolution 2171, which was introduced by the United Kingdom and cosponsored by a large majority of Council members, including Rwanda.

I thank the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, for his briefing. His presence here today once again highlights his commitment to conflict prevention, as a core of the work of his office. I also thank High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay for her last briefing in this Council, under that capacity, and wish her well in her future endeavours.

Mr. President,

The concept note provided by the Presidency for this open debate pertinently highlighted the need for the Security Council to shift from a culture of reaction to that of prevention. Indeed, with the numerous tragic and pressing conflicts that persist in the world today, it is inevitable for the Security Council to improve its record in fully understanding early warning signs of conflict and responding through early action, if the Council has to remain relevant. Although conflict prevention has become the centerpiece in the work of the United Nations, in the wake of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, increasing intrastate conflicts, mainly on the African continent and in the Middle East, are a demonstration that the concept of “conflict prevention” has become more a theoretical concept than a practical reality. And that the activities of the Security Council in the past years have shown interest for crisis management than conflict prevention, as the latter is only considered as a thematic debate, once of twice a year.

This is not to suggest however that the UN has remained idle in efforts to prevent emergence of and relapse into conflict. Indeed, there has been a huge increase in the level of international preventive diplomacy, diplomatic peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations, for the most part by the United Nations, and more recently in partnership with regional organizations. I here wish to pay tribute to the Secretary-General, for his tireless efforts in conflict prevention, including by preparing important framework documents and exercising his good offices around the world. But as the Secretary-General stated, “good news is no news”, as most of his efforts are fruitful.

Mr. President,

The United Nations should be equipped to fully understand the different situations, be flexible, as circumstances change, and apply a range of possible measures, both long-term structural and short-term operational, that can be deployed to deal with indications of early warning signs that might lead to conflict. We believe that the primacy of prevention resides in understanding the root causes of conflicts, including the political, economic and cultural dimensions of each particular conflict, and take effective measures to address them. Early warning and response capability is a critical requirement for effective early prevention. And this is a conversation that Rwanda brought to the Security Council, when we organized, during our first presidency in April 2013, a briefing on prevention of conflicts in Africa by addressing its root causes, during which a presidential statement was adopted.

As you might be aware, one of the biggest challenges in the UN system has been the Secretariat capacity in conflict prevention, as pointed out by the recommendations of the 2000 Brahimi Panel on Peace Operations. The adoption of the 2005 World Summit, which embraced the concept of the responsibility to protect and called for the international community to support the United Nations to establish an early warning capability, was a positive step forward. Nonetheless, mechanisms of Early Warning are rarely used to respond to recurring crisis, let alone in preventing them. We therefore call upon the Security Council, especially its permanent members, to increasingly use and support the work of the Office of the Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide, and that of the Special Advisor for the Responsibility to Protect.

The Secretary General’s Rights Up Front Initiative should be supported and implemented, in order for this organization to respond effectively and correctively curb the escalation of crises. Indeed, protecting human rights is one of the most effective conflict prevention tools. Success in promoting and protecting rights, and in ensuring accountability for their violation, offer effective means to de-escalate conflict and to forestall the human and financial cost of humanitarian crises. That is why the international community, including the UN, should support member states in strengthening the rule of law and capacity building for accountability mechanisms, including judiciary institutions.

Mr. President,

The evolving role of regional and sub-regional organizations in conflict prevention should not be underestimated. We recognize the important role of the African Union and its sub-regional organizations in preventing and mitigating conflicts on our continent. We equally recognize the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and its configurations in addressing the recurring relapse into conflict. It is also important to acknowledge the role of other organizations in supporting and complementing the United Nations in peacekeeping, mediation, facilitation of humanitarian assistance’s delivery or in joint efforts in post-conflict reconstruction.

To conclude, I would appeal to this Council to explore ways to address conflict prevention, not as an annual thematic debate, which has little impact on the ground, but as country-specific debates. And we believe that a more frequent use of article 99 of the UN Charter, a more focused use of the “horizon scanning” sessions and country-specific meetings of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Prevention and Resolution of Conflict in Africa, can help us achieving this goal.

I thank you.