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3708th Meeting of Security Council: Situation in Great Lakes
1 Nov 1996 -  Expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, in particular in eastern Zaire, the Security Council this afternoon called for an immediate cease-fire and a complete cessation of all fighting in the region.
In a statement read out on its behalf by the President of the Council, Nugroho Wisnumurti (Indonesia), the Council called on all States to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring States in accordance with their obligations under the Charter. In that connection the Council urged all parties to refrain from the use of force as well as cross-border incursions and to engage in the process of negotiations.
It noted the effect which the continued fighting was having on the inhabitants of the region and condemned all acts of violence, and spoke of the urgent need for a comprehensive and coordinated response by the international community to prevent any further escalation of the crisis.
By the text of the statement, the Council supported the Secretary- General's initiative to dispatch to the Great Lakes region a Special Envoy to consult with all concerned in order to establish the facts relating to the present conflict; to develop a plan to defuse tension and establish a cease- fire; to promote a process of negotiation; and to submit advice on the mandate to be given to a United Nations Special Representative including on the size and structure of a possible United Nations political presence in the region.
The Special Envoy should be provided with adequate staff and logistic resources, according to the statement. The Council called on all concerned to cooperate fully with the Special Envoy and expressed the hope that he would travel to the region as soon as possible.
The Security Council urged governments of the region to pursue early and substantive dialogue without further delay and welcomed all regional efforts aimed at defusing the tension in the region. It also stated that the situation in eastern Zaire had underlined the need to organize a conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region under the auspices of the United Nations. To that end, it called on the Secretary-General to ask the Special Envoy to promote the convening of a conference on an urgent basis.
The Council, particularly concerned at the humanitarian situation and resulting large-scale movements of refugees and displaced persons, called on all parties in the region to allow humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations to deliver humanitarian assistance to those in need and to ensure the safety of all refugees, as well as that of international humanitarian personnel.
The meeting, which began at 3:50 p.m., was adjourned at 3:59 p.m.
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