Controversial UN report stalled in the Security Council

After a dramatic build-up, the UN Group of Experts report on the Congo was submitted to the Sanctions Committee of the Security Council yesterday. However, the bit that everyone was waiting for – an annex that addresses allegations of Rwandan involvement in the eastern Congo – has been separated from the report and has not yet been submitted.

Diplomats say that the reasons for the block are in part procedural – the annex was submitted after the bulk of the report, which has to be edited and translated into all UN languages, as the situation on the ground was evolving rapidly. But others suggest that the real reason for the block is that UN member states are worried that these allegations could further sour relations between Congo and Rwanda, and that they are best dealt with behind closed doors. High-level meetings took place between the two sides in Kinshasa yesterday, where Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikwabo led a delegation to security and political officials to meet with their counterparts.

In the meantime, the Congolese Information Minister Lambert Mende lashed out against Rwanda in an interview with Reuters, saying that, “I
think (the report) confirms everything that has been said. I don’t
think the Rwandans are at all happy that it should be officially
endorsed by the U.N.” He also suggest that Rwanda and its allies, including the United States, were trying to block the publication of the report. At the same time, President Kagame said in a press conference in Kigali that the Congolese should stop scapegoating Rwanda, “And you Congolese, don’t run away from your responsibilities and start claiming that this is our problem.”

Sources close to the Security Council suggest that the annex may still be released in the coming weeks. It should be emphasized that the contents and conclusions of the annex are not yet known.