Daily Archives: January 9, 2015

Security Council calls on DR Congo leader to approve joint action to ‘neutralize’ rebels


8 January 2015 – The Security Council today called on the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to “swiftly approve” plans to begin joint operations between the Congolese military and the United Nations peacekeeping force to “neutralize” a rebel group with a long history of heinous crimes in the eastern regions of the vast country.

With the deadline for the unconditional surrender of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) having passed on 2 January, and no significant additional surrenders of FDLR combatants registered since June, the Council today called, in a presidential statement, on DRC President Joseph Kabila to swiftly approve and implement a joint Congolese and UN plan “to neutralize the FDLR by commencing military operations immediately.”

The Congolese military (FARDC) and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC, known by the French acronym MONUSCO, have been preparing for joint action since the rebel group missed the deadline set by the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The Council’s statement follows a 7 January telephone conversation between President Kabila and UNSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which the UN chief called for decisive action against the armed group and welcomed Mr. Kabila’s assurance that the DRC was ready to take action, with the available assistance of MONUSCO.

For its part, the Security Council reiterated the need to “put into sustained action the plans of the FARDC and MONUSCO through its Force Intervention Brigade…to neutralize the FDLR by commencing military operations immediately.”

Reiterating support for MONUSCO, the Council called on all parties, including troop-contributing countries, “to remain committed to the full and objective implementation of the mission’s mandate, including military operations to neutralize the FDLR.”

Also, the 15-member Council stressed that ending the threat of the FDLR, “including through robust military action” by the FARDC and MONUSCO, “is a critical and necessary component of civilian protection, and expresses its intention to take into account progress made in ending the threat of the FDLR in assessing next steps in the Great Lakes.”


Pope Francis’ Suggested New Year’s Resolutions


Pope Francis

When Pope Francis met before Christmas with Vatican employees, mostly lay people with families, he asked them to do 10 things. The list sounded remarkably like suggestions for New Year’s resolutions:

– “Take care of your spiritual life, your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”

– “Take care of your family life, giving your children and loved ones not just money, but most of all your time, attention and love.”

– “Take care of your relationships with others, transforming your faith into life and your words into good works, especially on behalf of the needy.”

– “Be careful how you speak, purify your tongue of offensive words, vulgarity and worldly decadence.”

– “Heal wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness, forgiving those who have hurt us and medicating the wounds we have caused others.”

– “Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.”

– “Be careful of envy, lust, hatred and negative feelings that devour our interior peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people.”

– “Watch out for anger that can lead to vengeance; for laziness that leads to existential euthanasia; for pointing the finger at others, which leads to pride; and for complaining continually, which leads to desperation.”

– “Take care of brothers and sisters who are weaker … the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and strangers, because we will be judged on this.

– Making sure your Christmas is about Jesus and not about shopping.


U.S. Welcomes Robust UN Electoral Observation Mission to Burundi


Press Statement

Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 7, 2015

The United States welcomes the start of the UN Electoral Observation Mission to Burundi (MENUB) on January 1. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as it once again becomes a stand-alone entity within the UN system.

Although much has been accomplished in Burundi since the end of its civil war, much remains to be done. With national elections in Burundi beginning in May, MENUB has an important role to play in supporting a peaceful and inclusive electoral process that enables the people of Burundi to continue to build a more stable and prosperous society.

The United States reaffirms the continuing importance of the Arusha Accords, including their provisions regarding presidential term limits, which have been the foundation of a decade-long period of relative peace and stability in Burundi. To strengthen this foundation, all political actors, civil society, and the media need to be able to participate fully and without threats or intimidation in the political process.

MENUB will build on the work of the UN Mission to Burundi (BNUB), which drew down its mission on December 31. In its nearly four years in Burundi, BNUB worked with many partners inside Burundi to promote political dialogue, protect human rights, fight impunity, and promote justice and reconciliation throughout the country. BNUB created a space for Burundians to safely discuss political, economic, and social issues, and the country has profited from that intervention. The United States will support MENUB as it assumes the important role of providing independent assessments of the overall political and technical conduct of elections, and monitoring the security situation as part of the electoral process.

Source: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/01/235664.htm