I thank the briefers for their relevant statements.
Norway is deeply concerned by the deteriorating security situation in eastern DRC and its regional implications.
Particularly the recurrent, and recently intensified, attacks by armed groups- including M23, and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
We also note with concern the rising tensions between the DRC and Rwanda, and call on both countries to exercise restraint, and pursue a diplomatic solution.
We welcome the efforts of the region to address these security challenges.
Such as the initiative taken by Angola’s President Lourenço, and former President Kenyatta’s leadership of the Nairobi-process.
We encourage the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders- including civil society, and women and youth- in these processes.
We agree also with the Secretary-General that close coordination between various actors is essential.
Like between MONUSCO and the East African Regional Force once it deploys.
We reiterate that all countries must respect the sovereignty of the DRC.
For more than twenty years, UN personnel have contributed to protecting civilians, and stabilising the DRC.
They have done so under extremely challenging circumstances, sometimes paying the ultimate price.
We are deeply troubled by the deaths of UN personnel during the recent violent protests against MONUSCO in North Kivu.
We remain concerned that hostile and anti-MONUSCO rhetoric may incite more violence.
The joint transition plan and the timeline for the drawdown are increasingly being questioned throughout the DRC.
As agreed with the government- as late as November 2021- the plan lists priorities and benchmarks for MONUSCO's withdrawal.
It is now important that the transition take place: based on the situation on the ground, and in line with the plan for withdrawal.
Armed groups remain a real and constant threat, killing civilians – including children- and committing grave violations, like conflict related sexual violence.
We reiterate that all civilians must be protected.
And that the primary responsibility for protecting the civilian population rests with the government.
The dramatic decline of the humanitarian situation also raises the stakes of a well-planned MONUSCO exit.
Including the progressive transfer of its tasks to the UN Country Team, and the implementation of the children and armed conflict agenda.
Strengthening the capacity of: a representative, responsive, accountable security sector, and rule of law institutions in DRC- which are compliant with international law- is critical.
The up-coming December elections will be an important milestone.
Through UNDP, Norway is providing financial support for the preparations carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
We urge the government- as well as other stakeholders- to do their utmost to secure peaceful, inclusive, and transparent elections.
Norway stands ready to work with all stakeholders for a sustainable and responsible re-calibration of MONUSCO, and for peace in the DRC.