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The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Harold Adlai Agyeman (Ghana):

The members of the Security Council met on 21 November 2022 to discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  They were briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Bintou Keita.

The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the resumption of attacks by the 23 March Movement, also known as M23, in North Kivu and the advances of the M23 towards the city of Goma and in other areas, worsening security and stability in the region and exacerbating the current humanitarian situation.  They demanded the immediate cessation of hostilities and of any further advances by the M23 and its withdrawal from all occupied areas.

The members of the Security Council stressed the commitments undertaken by the region under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region not to tolerate nor provide assistance or support of any kind to armed groups.  They called for all external support to non-State armed actors, including the M23, to stop.

The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern regarding the increasing number of displaced persons and refugees and called on all parties, in particular the M23, to allow, in accordance with international law, including applicable international humanitarian law, and consistent with the guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need, and to refrain from any violence against civilians.  They called on the international community to increase its support to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in tackling the humanitarian crisis.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their support to regional efforts by the East African Community Heads of State through the Nairobi process and the President of Angola to rebuild trust, resolve differences through dialogue and find sustainable peace and security.  They welcomed ongoing efforts to ensure that these initiatives are mutually reinforcing.  They further welcomed the commitment by the East African Community Heads of State to implement a two-track approach aimed at finding lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the steps taken to convene the third inter-Congolese peace dialogue and encouraged continued support by the Special Representative and MONUSCO and the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region to this process.

The members of the Security Council called on all armed groups to immediately cease all forms of violence and urged all Congolese armed groups to participate unconditionally in the disarmament, demobilization, community recovery and stabilization programme, and foreign armed groups to immediately disarm and return to their countries of origin.

The members of the Security Council acknowledged steps taken to operationalize the Regional Force and the deployment of forces of Burundi and Uganda and stressed the importance of the protection of civilians and of coordination and information-sharing with MONUSCO.  They stressed the need to carry out all operations in strict compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  They reaffirmed their readiness to further review the appropriateness of measures contained in resolution 2641 (2022), including any modification, suspension or lifting of the measures, as may be needed in light of progress achieved in compliance with resolution 2641 (2022).

The members of the Security Council reiterated their strong support for the active steps taken by MONUSCO to implement its mandate, in particular the protection of civilians, and encouraged the continuation of these efforts.  They reiterated their full support to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bintou Keita, and for the stabilizing action of MONUSCO.

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