MOSCOW, September 28 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia is seriously concerned over a tense situation in the eastern provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Russian Presidential Special Envoy for Africa and senator Mikhail Margelov said at a high-level meeting over the situation in that African country that was held at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
The Russian presidential special envoy stated that Russia is following closely the development of the situation in Congo. “Up to now that country remains one of the flashpoints of instability on the African continent. However, many Russian companies have economic interests there. Meanwhile, Congo praises highly the relations with Russia and welcomes our return in Africa,” he noted.
Margelov noted the attacks of Congolese militants on civilians, even the UN peacekeepers and officials of humanitarian organizations in eastern Congo. “Russia believes that these formations, including the so-called movement M23, should lay down arms,” the Russian senator noted. “Under international law their actions are qualified as war crimes,” he remarked.
The Russian presidential special envoy also noted that “the instability in this part of Congo has a negative impact on the post-conflict settlement and the humanitarian situation in the region of the African Great Lakes,” he went on to say.
“Despite the efforts of Kinshasa and the international community, the stability cannot be attained in eastern Congo yet,” he pointed out. “It is clear that the Congolese citizens bear the main brunt of responsibility for keeping the situation under control. However, the authorities of that country should be provided with assistance, including clear-cut fulfilment of the mandate of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Meanwhile, Margelov noted the importance for the support to the efforts of the humanitarian organizations, primarily the World Health Organization (WHO). He recalled that Russia decided to allocate a contribution of one million dollars in WHO for the purchase of vaccines to Congo.
The regional organizations, including the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and neighbouring countries should play an important role in the conflict settlement, Margelov noted. In this respect, he urged “the government of Congo and Ruanda to develop the political dialogue for the restoration of peace in the region.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, over 20 leaders, foreign ministers and defence ministers from the countries in Africa and Europe were also participating in the high-level meeting.