Switzerland’s ongoing efforts to support to the Great Lakes Region and its seat on the UN Security Council, President Alain Berset will be visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On April 13, 2023, he will meet with President Félix Tshisekedi. In addition to bilateral relations, topics of discussion will focus on the UN Mission for Stabilisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), to which Switzerland deploys police forces and deminers.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa. Switzerland’s efforts to promote peace and sustainable development in the Great Lakes Region include a regional programme and humanitarian aid, development cooperation and peacebuilding instruments.
Established in 1999, MONUSCO is currently one of the UN’s largest peacekeeping missions. It faces a challenging operational environment and is occasionally targeted by disinformation campaigns. In December, the UN Security Council extended the mission for a further year. The meeting with President Tshisekedi will be an opportunity to take stock of the situation and to discuss the UN mission’s medium-term orientation and the difficult security situation in eastern Congo.
Protecting civilians in conflict areas
Mr Berset will then travel to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. Discussions will focus on MONUSCO’s tasks and on the protection of the civilian population in conflict areas.
In mid-May, Mr Berset will chair a UN Security Council meeting on this topic. After the presidential visit to Mozambique in February, Mr Berset’s visit to the DRC is the second to take place in this context. The purpose of these trips is to exchange views with authorities at different levels, international organisations and NGOs.
During his visit to the DRC, Mr Berset will also meet with Swiss forces deployed to MONUSCO. In Bukavu, the capital of the eastern province of South Kivu, he will meet with regional authorities and partner organisations to discuss projects supported by Switzerland. A meeting is also scheduled to take place with Dr Denis Mukwege, a human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner.