Security Council holds virtual meeting on DRC

The Security Council on Tuesday held a virtual meeting on the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the situation in the country.

The informal meeting was the first council business since March 13 and followed measures announced by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to contain COVID-19 at UN headquarters, including a partial closure of the premises.

Council members heard briefings by Leila Zerrougui, head of the peacekeeping mission known by its French acronym of MONUSCO, and Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN undersecretary-general for peace operations.

The council members recognized the improved political and security situation in most parts of the DRC, and stressed that continued cooperation between members of the ruling coalition and their commitment to broad political dialogue are critical to further normalization in the country, according to press elements provided by the Chinese mission to the United Nations, which holds the council presidency for the month of March.

Council members also encouraged the DRC government to continue its efforts for political reforms.

They expressed concern at the continued instability in the east of the country, and welcomed the government’s commitment to work with MONUSCO in addressing the security challenges.

The council members encouraged the government to engage with the Security Council and the UN Secretariat on working on the transition compact for a sustainable exit of MONUSCO, including a joint strategy and benchmarks for drawdown.

They expressed concern at the current humanitarian situation, especially the current measles epidemic, and called on partners to step up their support. They welcomed the progress made on combating the Ebola virus, noting the absence of new cases over the last month.

They welcomed the steps taken by the Congolese authorities to contain COVID-19, and called on the United Nations to continue working with the Congolese authorities to prevent the further spread of the virus, while ensuring the safety and security of UN personnel.