The SC: SRSG for the DRC, Robert Meece, briefed the SC today on the deteriorating situation in the country. He noted that there have been widespread reports of violence and threats against those who attempt to resist the M23’s authority in North Kivu, despite a general pause in M23 offensive operations. The Council also adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Office in Guinea-Bissau until May 31, 2013. DRC: Asked about the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC to be signed on Sunday, the SG’s Spokesperson noted that the agreement’s four co-guarantors are: the UN; AU; the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Uganda signing on its behalf; and the South African Development Community, Mozambique signing on its behalf. The other countries set to sign onto the framework include: the DRC, Angola, Burundi, CAR, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. In addition, a Special Envoy will soon be appointed to support the implementation of the Framework, which will include the establishment of benchmarks and a review mechanism to measure and ensure progress at the national and regional levels. Mali: WFP has opened a new land route from Niger to northern Mali to assist in the delivery of food supplies to the country. The agency hopes to open additional land routes, as violence and economic disruption has affected food supplies, and will continue to increase the volume of its humanitarian assistance as a result. The UN Mine Action Service and UNICEF also are accelerating their efforts in the region. Syria: The SG today condemned the series of bombings in Damascus, sending his deepest condolences to the families of the victims. Mr. Ban emphasized once again that a political solution is the only answer to the situation in Syria and renews his call on all parties to end the violence and respect international humanitarian law. Lakhdar Brahimi also condemned such attacks, issuing a reminder that he proposed, in his report to the Security Council on the January 26, that independent international investigations should be carried for such crimes. Next week at the UN: Monday, February 25: The 22nd session of the Human Rights Council will start, ending on March 22. Tuesday, February 26: SC will hold a briefing on the Middle East, followed by consultations; John Ging, Operations Director of OCHA, will brief the press in NY. Friday, March 1: The Russian Federation will assume the rotating Presidency of the Security Council for March; the SG will brief the press in Geneva; CEDAW will hold a press conference in Geneva.