Meeting on security arrangements for DRC ends

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Addis Ababa, December 31, 2012 (WIC) -  The consultative meeting on the security arrangements to be established in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) concluded on Friday with the adoption of a set of recommendations, a press release issued by the AU said.

The recommendations are focused on how best to ensure the early operationalization of the envisaged Neutral International Force (NIF) and the enhancement of the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), as agreed to by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and supported by the AU.

In particular, the meeting reviewed options on the operationalization of the NIF, which could either be deployed as a separate force from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) or integrated within MONUSCO, while retaining its identity and ability to discharge its mandate as envisioned in the relevant ICLGR decisions.

Discussions also focused on options for enhancing the EJVM. This important Mechanism could be retained as it is, with the provision of additional financial and logistical support, or alternatively, it could be transformed into a full-fledged AU structure directly mandated by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC).

The meeting also stressed the need to adjust the Concept of Operation (CONOPS) to take into account the developments on the ground.

The participants to the meeting requested the AU Commission to convene another meeting of all stakeholders at ministerial level, in Addis Ababa, on 8 January 2013, to further consider the available options and make a concrete decision on the way forward.

According to ENA. the meeting is part of AU’s overall efforts in support of the ICGLR in the quest for a lasting solution to the crisis in eastern DRC and the promotion of peace, security and stability in the region as a whole.

The meeting was attended by countries of the region and other AU Member States, relevant African regional organizations, including the ICGLR, ECCAS and SADC, as well as by AU bilateral and multilateral partners.