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Speeches

L.M. Omalanga: Address to World Summit 2013

Video in French

Prepared Text

For 16 years, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been experiencing a cycle of recurring wars in its eastern part. Since 1998, shortly after the fall of former president Mobutu and the break between the third Congolese president, Laurent Desire Kabila, and Rwanda, our country has no longer lived in peace.

Sedition, rebellions, civil wars, wars of external aggression and drones, and mutinies are happening at breakneck speed. They have destroyed the economic fabric and lowered the security and humanitarian situation to a humanly unacceptable level.

To put an end to the first wave of recurring conflicts that caused the deaths of more than 5 million men and women, according to the most serious studies, inter-Congolese dialogues have been organized through the interpersonal skills of South African authorities in Sun City (South Africa) in 2002. It was released in an original institutional arrangement known as 1+4, a broad national unity Government, with the participation of the main warlords. This scheme which had the merit to reunite the national territory and to silence the guns for a time but had the disadvantage of giving some sort of premium to the violence and stratified the influence of some foreign countries in the Great Lakes region on the sponsored warlords that had to co-lead the country by the 1+4 agreement.

Since then, several points of contention and controversy in DR Congo about the nationality of the Congolese of Kinya-Rwanda origin have been resolved by the constitution of February 28, 2006. Anyone whose parent was established in the Democratic Republic of Congo before independence on June 30, 1960 has the original Congolese nationality. Curiously, the same claim continues to be wielded by the new warlords of Kivu.

On the other hand, the question of the armed rebellion for the past 19 years against the Government of Rwanda, namely FDLR, who occupied a few mountains and forests of Kivu from where it threatens the Kigali regime, poisons the good neighborly relations between the DRC and Rwanda. The Congolese Government, accused by Kigali of supporting its armed opponents, made a substantial contribution to peace in the region by initiating in 2009 an offensive to dismantle FDLR by joint units of the Congolese and Rwandan armed forces on its territory, which raised a real uproar within the Congolese public. Anyway, this operation has very significantly reduced the capacity of FDLR, whose numbers were reduced from 12,000 fighters some five years ago to fewer than 1,500 now according to the report No. 738-2011-S of UN experts. Paradoxically, this report revealed the use by Rwandan officials of ex-combatants of the FDLR returnees in Rwanda to fight the Congolese Government forces.

The Congolese Government has bet on a dynamic of normalization of relations with Rwanda to give peace, security, and development a chance in this region, an effort that does not seem to have been followed across the border. Instead, a new anti-Congolese rebellion, the M23, has been instigated from across the border under the same conditions since April 2012 with a lot of death and destruction.

All the UN reports in this regard reveal that information, combatants, weapons, ammunition, and war equipment were provided to elements of the M23 by some Kigali officials who had pushed them to desert and mutiny.

It was also found that the last rebellion of the Kivu is based in mining areas, illustrating the trivial motivations of the Congolese war that appears in the end as a predation.

In his book Blood Minerals, French journalist Christophe Boltanski explains that Rwanda has so far drawn the bulk of its revenue from the exploitation of Congolese tin. He describes in detail the industry borrowed by the ore after removal. The report of the UN Experts Committee on the DRC has been even more explicit on this subject.

Complicities enjoyed by the real perpetrators of this aggression from some Congolese are often highlighted by their masters with the aim of abusing the international public opinion by emphasizing claims and mundane themes of internal democratic debate in DR Congo which is not seen why it cannot take place in a non-violent way.

The Government of the DR Congo will continue to assume its responsibilities to restore peace and security within its borders by all means. It appreciates the efforts of those countries which, following the publication of the report of the UN Experts, have imposed sanctions on Rwanda or exercised more or less timid political pressure on its leaders to cease all support to the negative forces in the DRC. We also welcome the initiative taken by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, to sign a framework Agreement for Peace in the Great Lakes Region on February 24 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), seat of the African Union, between 11 states of that region and the United Nations. The subsequent deployment of a Neutral International Force to secure the problematic Eastern border of the DRC, especially with Rwanda and Uganda, will certainly help to create the conditions for a lasting peace.

In this agreement, the Government of the DRC confirmed the continuation of the reform of the security sector and announced the acceleration of the implementation of decentralization, which is a constitutional principle, as well as an agenda of national reconciliation to remove any pretext to the troublemakers and warmongers who are on the lookout for the slightest pretext to set fire to the powder.

For their part, the countries of the region (Great Lakes, SADC, Central Africa) undertake to refrain from interfering in internal affairs of their neighbors, especially of the DRC, and to deny any support to any negative force and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their neighbors. It is a comprehensive approach, the first of this kind since the beginning of these recurrent wars in 1998. It insists on the strengthening of regional cooperation and regional economic integration in the respect for the legitimate interests of the neighbors. The States of the region are committed to no longer give lesser protection to the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide and aggression. Regional judicial cooperation is thus encouraged and will be supported by the international community (Security Council) and bilateral partners.

The mandate of Monusco, whose limits and weaknesses were found last November with the occupation by a foreign army of the town of Goma, will be reinvigorated to strengthen the ability of peacekeepers to help the Congolese Government to restore security and the authority of the State.

For the first time, the reading of the Congolese crisis by the international community takes into account external actors which are the main sources of disorder in our country.

Indeed, Congo-Kinshasa, as well as other countries, have problems of governance and lack of communication between some of the 400 ethnic communities who share its territory. We took the lead in creating within the Government structure a Ministry in charge of the New Citizenship which supports including Education for Peace and Ecocitizenship in the collective imagination of the Congolese republican and moral values that underpin what some call Global Spirituality, without which no harmonious coexistence within a nation or the world is possible. In this regard, the Government also strives to punish with readiness and deterrence all words, attitudes, and behaviors that are discriminatory or detrimental to the unity of the nation and the rights of persons guaranteed by the constitution. This was the case when the RTNC staff, the only public broadcasting channel in the country, were removed from broadcast duties on the transmitter of hate speech against certain communities of Kivu from which a large number of M23 rebels originate.

If those who, in Africa and elsewhere, have a liability in this humanly unacceptable drama were to act in the same way, peace, security, and human development would have already been realities in the Great Lakes region.

The DRC does not want more blood on its soil. It has a craving for peace both within its borders and in the Great Lakes region. The DRC has sufficiently demonstrated that it is ready to do anything to achieve this. What it expects from its neighbors is a sincere sharing of this desire for peace which must become a common commitment.

[Note: On February 25, 2013, regional African leaders signed a UN-brokered accord which aims to bring peace to the troubled eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.]

For more information about World Summit 2013, click here.