The security of Congo-Zaïre is indissolubly bound up with that of all the other states of the Great Lakes Region and of East and Central Africa.
Reconciliation in Africa must accommodate a political vision. Regional peace and security cannot be preserved without creative efforts commensurate with the dangers that menace them. Among different peoples thrown together by geography, as are the peoples of the Great Lakes Region and East and Central Africa, there must be some sort of protecting confederacy or bond. The genocide in Rwanda in 1994, the war presently tearing Congo- Zaïre apart, whose first phase goes back to autumn 1996, the war in Congo-Brazzaville, and the rebellion in Angola have all shown that none of our countries on its own can claim to be vindicating its independence or effectively providing for the security of its territory. Not one of our countries can resolve, on its own, the problems affecting its stability, and we must therefore arrange for the first practical sessions of a regional organisation, without which peace cannot be preserved.
For this reason the UNIR MN recommends a constructive partnership among all the states of the region for the furtherance of security and stability in the Great Lakes Region and in East and Central Africa, free from all divisions, and taking account of political, economic, social and ecological aspects, as well as the indispensable one of security and defence.
The institution and preservation, throughout the region, of democratic societies free of all forms of coercion and intimidation are a direct and very real concern for us, as they are for all the region’s other states. The best means of preserving our common security would be to conclude a Stability Pact on Security and Defence, and to develop a network of relationships and an overall architecture of linked institutions.
1. Convening, under the aegis of the European Union, of an Intergovernmental Conference on Security, peace and Regional Cooperation
The UNIR MN requests the co-operation of the European Union in the promotion of stability and of peace in the Great Lakes Region and East and Central Africa by a strengthening of the democratic process and of regional cooperation. To this end we ask the European Union to use its good offices for the convening of an Intergovernmental Conference of heads of state and government of the region, on Security, Defence, Peace and Cooperation.
The UNIR MN considers that the government representatives of the countries of the region would have in such a Conference the occasion to examine means of developing a regional identity in the domain of security and defence. The mandate of the Intergovernmental Conference would be the adoption of a Regional Stability Pact and the setting up of an Organisation for Security and Mutual Defence. This Stability Pact would have the task of settling the issues of security and defence, providing for minorities and upholding the inviolability of borders.
2 The Regional Stability Pact on security and defence
The UNIR MN is of the view that unless there is a freely-agreed Stability Pact the Great Lakes Region and East and Central Africa will remain condemned to insecurity. For this reason we recommend the establishment of a form of cooperation on security and regional defence: the setting in place of the mechanisms of control and surveillance of our common borders so as to avoid and prevent all threats to peace in the region, to coordinate our actions against regional terrorism and organised crime, and to take the proper steps for re- establishing and maintaining peace and security in the region.
In this spirit, states joining the Pact must affirm their obligation of and commitment to refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or the political independence of any country, from attempting to change existing borders by the threat or use of force, and from all other behaviour contrary to the aims or principles of the Pact.
The Stability Pact on Security and Defence must be founded on the principle of military solidarity among the contracting parties, and should include a clause for non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, at the same time proscribing all forms of support from a member country to rebel and/or secessionist groups. The purpose is, essentially, to establish a legitimate collective defence mechanism, a kind of general action against any country daring to break its solemn undertakings by resorting, for instance, to acts of aggression or attempts to destabilise the internal security of another member country. This Pact must also provide for opportune cognizance by the Security Council of the existence of an act of aggression, a threat to peace or a breach of the peace, so that the United Nations can intervene under Chapters VII and VIII of the Charter to maintain peace and security in the region, if the Parties to the Pact consider that the execution of the measures decided on could be more effectively done under UN auspices rather than within the framework of the Pact.
We must reiterate, though, that true stability must be both lasting and effective. For this reason the UNIR MN proposes that each of the Pact’s member countries should initiate a national dialogue within its own territory, designed to lead to the establishment of a democratic country, under the rule of law, with respect for inviolable human rights and the universally-accepted basic rule of “one person, one vote”. In those states where there are ethnic minorities, these must be taken into account and effectively protected, by the inclusion of a Minorities Clause in national basic law, in terms conformable to the various international texts that exist (we refer in particular to Article 27 of the 1996 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to UN Assembly Resolution 47/135, dated 18 December 1992).
3 The setting up of a Security and Mutual Defence Organisation (SMDO)
The contribution which a security and defence organisation in confederation form can make to the civilisation of a region is indispensable for the maintenance of peaceful relations in our common geographical area. There has never been a better time for beginning constructive work in our region, nor greater urgency. For this reason the UNIR MN recommends the creation of a regional organisation with the aim of gathering together the wider family of the Great Lakes Region and of East and Central Africa, and giving it a structure that enables it to live and grow in peace, security and freedom.
The UNIR MN is clear that the stabilisation of the region will not come about all at once, nor by means of one single overall structure, but by practical achievements which begin by creating a solidarity of deeds. That is why the creation of a Security and Mutual Defence Organisation (SMDO)comprising the states of the Great Lakes region and of East and Central Africa would not only be a response to the conflicts which continue to lay waste our countries, but above all a first real step towards organising collective security and defence in the region.
The SMDO would be created on the basis of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, and in particular Article 52, § 1. The actions envisaged within the S**MDO **framework would be based on the inherent right of collective self-defence enshrined in Article 51 of the Charter. The solidarity of such intertwined security and defence will clearly make war between states of the region not only unthinkable, but impossible in practice.
The specific institutional organisation proposed by the UNIR MN is as follows :
- Conference of heads of state and government (the initiating body)
- Council of Foreign Affairs and Defence ministers
- Council of Home Affairs and Security ministers
- Interparliamentary Assembly on foreign affairs, defence and security
- Armed forces general staff committee
- Permanent Secretariat. Initially the secretariat function could be assigned to the government holding the rotating presidency of the Organisation.