Remarks by the Political Coordinator Arian Spasse at the Security Council meeting on the Great Lakes Region

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17 October 2023

Thank you, Mr. President.

I join the others in thanking Special Envoy Xia, His Excellency Caholo, and Ms. Malimukono, for their briefings.

As this is the Council’s last bi-annual briefing on the Great Lakes that Albania will be participating in, I would like to share the following messages that reflect not only the latest reporting period, but also an overview of what we’ve seen as a member of the Security Council.

When Albania joined the Security Council two years ago, this region was witnessing some positive diplomatic momentum. However, back then, in April 2022, we warned that despite the ongoing rapprochement between states, the root causes of conflict were too complex to be considered redressed and the challenges too steep to be fully overcome. Unfortunately, since then, the region has faced too many setbacks and little substantial progress.

In this respect, I would like to highlight three principal drivers of conflict that, if properly addressed, could become solutions.

First, we could not agree more with the Secretary-General’s statement that [I quote] “military solutions alone are short-lived and fail to build strong and durable peace. Meaningful difference can be made with political will, good faith and genuine desire to end needless suffering.” [end of quote].

Albania is concerned that the continued confrontational rhetoric and accusations between the DRC and Rwanda over the persistent activities of armed groups and support for them, can only endanger the fragile cessation of hostilities between M23 and the Armed Forces of the DRC. The regional peace efforts, embodied mainly through the Luanda and Nairobi processes, remain critical for regional stability.

We welcome the outcome of the 22nd Extraordinary Summit in Nairobi, held on September5th, reaffirming the importance of sustainable security solutions through political processes and dialogue among all parties. We hope for the next Inter-Congolese Dialogue (Nairobi IV) to take place soon.

Along the political track, Albania positively notes the regional ownership in providing security guarantees in the eastern DRC. Such guarantees were ensured via the extension of the East African Community Regional Force mandate up to December 8th and the endorsement of the deployment of the South African Development Mission during the 43rd Ordinary Summit held on August 17th.

We reiterate the need for all these initiatives to be harmonized and mutually reinforcing, as noted during the Quadripartite Meeting held in Addis Ababa.

Second, Albania is alarmed by the worsening humanitarian situation in the region, combined with heinous attacks against civilians, rising conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence against women, and child recruitment. We should all reflect on what this means. If we agree that children are the ones to shape our future, what future can we expect if these same children are forced to replace their pens with guns? If we agree that mothers forge the character of their children, then what characters can we expect if these same mothers undergo grave violations? We are doomed to fail even if we make our way out of this crisis.

The solution we are looking for is called accountability. In this vein, we welcome the support of the Office of the Special Envoy for the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration on Enhancing Judicial Cooperation in the Great Lakes region.

This leads me to the third point. The Great Lakes region is blessed by enormous natural resources but marred by their illegal exploitation and illicit trade. Regional cooperation should be extended and reinforced in support of a more sustainable and transparent management of natural resources. We hope to see the implementation, without delays, of the recommendations of the Regional Forum, organized in September in Kinshasa, regarding the regional mineral tracking system or certification. The fair distribution of wealth could act as a pull factor for armed groups to disarm and participate in demobilization and reintegration programs, which should be adequately supported.

Finally, I thank the Special Envoy for his unwavering support for the signatory countries in implementing the regional strategy and addressing the root causes of the conflict.

Thank you.


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