Speech by Commissioner Urpilainen at the European Parliament plenary debate on the situation in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the assassination of the Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio and his entourage 11/03/2021

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President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

The Eastern DRC is not a forgotten crisis for the EU.

As Ambassador Attanasio himself said in one of his last interviews: we are witnesses, we share and we are touched by the fate of this population.

The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the armed attack on Monday 22 February, where the Italian Ambassador to the DRC, Luca Attanasio, his bodyguard, Vittorio Iacovacci, and a World Food Programme driver, Mustapha Milambo, lost their lives.

On behalf of the European Union, I would like to express my most sincere condolences to their families, and to the Italian and Congolese population.

We very much welcome the announcement by the Congolese authorities that they will conduct a thorough and complete joint investigation with the Italian authorities, and hold perpetrators accountable for their acts.

The killing of the Italian Ambassador and his entourage is a tragic example brought home to us of the violence endured by the Congolese people almost every day.

The EU has greatly invested in peace and stability in the region. We have taken diplomatic, political, security, development and humanitarian actions. The EU has always condemned all acts of violence by State and non-State actors in Eastern DRC, and has taken a firm stance against impunity, and we will continue to do so. 

Legislative initiatives have also been taken, with the active support of the European Parliament. As you know, the illegal exploitation of minerals is a recognized source of funding for armed groups in Congo.  The new EU Regulation on responsible mining is designed to regulate the extraction of minerals, helping to: break the link between the illegal extraction and trade in minerals and conflict.

Building on the strong determination of the Congolese population, the EU is committed to accelerate its efforts, together with the Congolese government, and other partners - neighbouring countries as well as regional and international organizations - to achieve lasting peace and stability, put an end to the daily violence against civilians and restore their security and their dignity.

Luca Attanasio. Vittorio Iacovacci. Mustapha Milambo. We will remember your names.

Thank you.