During the past 10 years, MONUC has accompanied the Congolese people when they have achieved major milestones in their national history, including the implementation of the various agreements that reunited their country’s territory, and the All-Inclusive Agreement, which brought about the transitional period. The Mission has supported the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its people during their first free and fair elections in 40 years, and has continued to contribute to the restoration of security, to reconstruction and to building the capacity of the State. With the exception of the Kivus and a number of pockets in Orientale province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now largely a country at peace and is ready, almost 50 years after its independence, to embark on the next critical reconstruction and rebuilding phase. p>
In recognition of these realities, MONUC and the Secretariat will, during the first quarter of 2010, engage with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in detailed discussions on the future direction and configuration of the Mission with a view to agreeing on the critical tasks that need to be accomplished with the support of MONUC and within the expected time frames before the Mission can begin its drawdown, without triggering a relapse into instability. The agreements to be reached with the Government will enable the United Nations system in the country to finalize its Integrated Strategic Framework, referred to in paragraphs 49 and 50. On that basis, I intend to present to the Security Council, in April 2010, recommendations on the reconfiguration of MONUC and on its possible future direction. p>
In the meantime, I would like to recommend that the Mission’s mandate be extended for a six-month period, until 30 June 2010, at its current approved strength and configuration. This limited extension will permit the completion of the discussions with the Government referred to above. On the basis of the detailed recommendations to be submitted in my April report, the Security Council would then conduct a more careful review of MONUC with a view to developing, in June 2010, a new mandate that defines the Mission’s future direction, including its military drawdown. During these six months, I recommend that the Mission’s highest priority remain the protection of civilians. In addition, taking account of the challenges posed by the long list of tasks set out in resolution 1856 (2008), I propose that MONUC focus on the following over the next six months: (1) assisting the Government, in accordance with its policy on support for FARDC, outlined in paragraphs 12 and 13 above, in successfully and expeditiously completing largescale military operations led by FARDC, which will be progressively concentrated on targeted military actions, as well as supporting non-military efforts to neutralize and repatriate foreign armed groups, in particular FDLR and LRA, and to neutralize residual Congolese armed groups; (2) supporting the extension of State authority, including by establishing basic administration and rule-of-law structures in areas freed from armed groups and in key mining areas, within the framework of the Government’s Stabilization and Reconstruction Plan for War-Affected Areas and the United Nations Security and Stabilization Support Strategy, with a particular emphasis on support for the training and deployment of the national police, on enhancing rule-of-law capacity and on the rehabilitation of roads on priority axes; (3) in parallel to supporting comprehensive security sector reform and the provision of urgent assistance to the national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes, playing a lead role in coordinating international security sector reform partners and assisting the Government in building effective rule-of-law capacity, including justice and corrections, and in working with the country’s bilateral partners to support the vetting, training and professionalization of FARDC battalions and police units deployed in the east with a view to building a force that will progressively assume MONUC’s current security responsibilities; (4) in accordance with the child protection provisions of resolution 1856 (2008) and of resolutions 1612 (2005) and 1882 (2009), on children and armed conflict, and in collaboration with relevant child protection partners, supporting the release of children from all forces and groups present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and ensuring that children are given special attention in the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes; (5) helping to accelerate the implementation of the 23 March Agreements with respect to the integration of the armed groups and to establish mechanisms for resolving local disputes arising from land and property issues, from the return of refugees and internally displaced persons and from ethnic tensions, as foreseen in the Agreements; (6) subject to further clarity from the Government, supporting preparations for local elections; and (7) supporting efforts by the Governments of the Great Lakes region to foster good-neighbourly relations, including through the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and other regional mechanisms. Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all MONUC civilian, military and police personnel, who, under the leadership of my Special Representative, Alan Doss, have continued to show determination and selfless dedication under very difficult conditions in support of the Congolese people during another critical period in their history. I would particularly like to thank my outgoing Deputy Special Representative, Ross Mountain, who served the United Nations system with distinction for 36 years. I would also like to express my gratitude to my Special Envoy, former President Obasanjo, for his vital efforts in the region over the past year and to the United Nations country team and the humanitarian community, which are toiling to save lives under difficult conditions. My continued appreciation goes to countries contributing troops and police to MONUC and to their uniformed personnel, as well as to donor countries and multilateral and non-governmental organizations that are providing much-needed support in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.