The Republic of Congo-Zaïre (at present the ** Democratic Republic of the Congo**) is today a country invaded and occupied by its neighbours to the North-East (Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda), in flagrant breach of the relevant rules of international law, including Article 2 § 4 of the Charter of the United Nations Organisation (UN), which forbids the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any other country. For these countries’ presence on the soil of Congo-Zaïre is indeed a real and undeniable act of aggression, in the terms of Resolution 3314 of the UN General Assembly, and a prima facie violation of the rules of peaceful coexistence and the maintenance of friendly relations between States, not to mention the principle of uti possidetis that guarantees the inviolability of internationally recognised borders.
In addition to the armed forces of invasion and occupation, we should also emphasise that other African states are still present in Congo-Zaïre, having been called in by the ruling Kinshasa regime to assist it. No fewer than six foreign states in all have established an illegal presence, directly or indirectly, on our national territory (Angola, Burundi, Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda and Zimbabwe).
The continued presence of these foreign forces, military and paramilitary, is a serious menace to the peace, security, stability and development of the Great Lakes Region and, indeed, of the whole of East and Central Africa. Furthermore, their presence is prejudicial to the effective exercise of the sovereignty of the Republic of Congo-Zaïre.
The international community has been very ready to consider this issue : a number of resolutions have been adopted by the UN Security Council, and an agreement for a ceasefire in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was signed on 10 July 1999 – the so- called “Lusaka Agreement”.
However, despite the efforts made by the international community, the present state of affairs in Congo-Zaïre gives grounds for serious concern. The territory of the Republic has become a proving-ground for the armed forces of foreign African powers, and is liable to remain so.
The war of aggression which began in late October 1996 and is still spreading desolation in Congo-Zaïre has already slaughtered more than two million of our citizens and imperils the lives of more than eight million others. Now, after five years of fighting, the agony that is tearing Congo-Zaïre apart is imperceptibly becoming firmly rooted; the situation of its people becomes worse and worse, their conditions of existence are miserable in the extreme, and there is no real, tangible sign of hope that peace will be swiftly restored or robustly maintained in the Great Lakes Region, still less that the process of reconstruction can begin, in Congo-Zaïre and its devastated regions. Are we to stand by, passive and uncaring onlookers, as this horror becomes set in stone? Together, we and the historic partners of Congo-Zaïre (the European Union and its member states, the United States of America), have to seek solutions that can unravel this horrendous situation and restore proper conditions in our country and in the Great Lakes Region.
The UNIR MN is therefore asking the European Union to intervene for the application of the Lusaka Agreement in practice. The UNIR MN notes with satisfaction that a European Council Common Position was adopted on 11 March 2002 “concerning European Union support for the implementation of the Lusaka ceasefire agreement and peace process in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, and invites the European Union to adopt a common position condemning those states which do not scrupulously observe the provisions of that Agreement. This common position should be accompanied by joint action in the form of economic sanctions.
To make the restoration and maintenance of peace in the Great Lakes Region practicable, the UNIR MN also proposes giving up the formula “observation mission” in MONUC’s mandate, and recommends the deployment of a real, coercive diplomatic effort to resolve
this crisis. The UNIR MN invites the European Union and its member states, with the co- operation of the United States of America, to seek the Security Council’s authorisation for an intervention by WEU or NATO forces. Such an intervention, made according to the provisions of the UN Charter and the Agenda for Peace, would facilitate the practical implementation of the Lusaka Agreement, and would re-establish peace and security in the region.
The UNIR/MN’s aim is to initiate (with the co-operation of our historic partners, which is crucial), an international operation for the rebuilding of peace and a transition towards a definitive solution of the crisis, under terms which do not rule out coercion but are designed on a basis of peaceful action.