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United Nations distances itself from Congo report

Saturday, November 03, 2012
By Isaac Imaka

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A day after Uganda threatened to withdraw from all peace keeping missions in the region if UN considers the experts report on the Congo crisis, the UN has distanced itself from the independent experts report saying that the views expressed by the experts “do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations.”

Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, who is also India’s Permanent representative on the Council, said that the report is yet to be considered by the Sanctions Committee concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Uganda, as an important troop-contributing country, is playing a significant role in the maintenance of peace and security in several countries, particularly in Somalia,” he said.

He added that “views expressed by the independent experts do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations”. Amb. Puri made the comments on Thursday while receiving Uganda’s protest letter to the UN over the experts report that implicated Uganda as aiding the M23 rebels in eastern Congo.

The letter was delivered by former representative to the UN and current ICT minister Ruhakana Rugunda. Dr Rugunda, accompanied by Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala the Commander of the Land Forces, said Uganda’s withdrawal from regional peace efforts, including Somalia, CAR, etc. “would become inevitable unless the UN corrects the false accusations made against Uganda, by bringing out the truth about Uganda’s role in the current regional efforts.”

While delivering what has been termed as “a message from the Government of Uganda expressing disappointment and grave concern about the false accusations against Uganda”, Dr Rugunda met with the Deputy UN Secretary-General, Mr. Jan Eliasson, who received the message on behalf of the UN Secretary-General.

In the meeting were Amb. Puri and the Representatives of Security Council members: South Africa, Azerbaijan, France, Togo, China, Russia, and United Kingdom.

“The government stressed that it was unacceptable to malign Uganda’s contribution to regional peace and security by alleging that it supports the M23 group,” read a communication from Uganda’s media centre.

DR Congo, UN request

Dr Rugunda explained that Uganda entered into DRC after a request was made to it by the Congolese government and UN.

“Uganda’s involvement in seeking a solution to the situation in eastern DRC was at the express request of both the DRC government and the UN Secretary General, and in its capacity as Chair of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).”
Dr Rugunda is due to meet the President of the UN General Assembly, and the remaining Representatives of the Security Council members: United States of America, Germany, Pakistan, Guatemala, Colombia, Morocco, and Portugal next week.

The controversial report says that although there is a UN arms embargo against in the Congo rebels, Uganda and Rwanda have continuously provided support to M23 in the form of direct troop reinforcement in DRC territory, weapon deliveries, technical assistance, joint planning, political advice and facilitation of external relations.

The report was written by a group of experts working on the mandate of the UN pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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