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DRC POOR JUDGMENT: Withdrawing UN Forces In Six Months Is Premature, Says DRC

The United States warned yesterday (Monday) that the withdrawal of United Nations peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo after the December elections, as demanded by Kinshasa, would be premature.

Robert Wood, the US deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said, “The rapid withdrawal of MONUSCO (the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is likely to leave a security vacuum that the state authorities will not be able to fill,” noting that this will enhance the activity of armed groups.

Wood’s remarks came during a Security Council session on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while UN missions across the African continent are facing similar calls to withdraw. The “Monusco” mission was criticized by the local population for the continuing violence in the resource-rich east of the country, and violent demonstrations took place against it, accusing it of failing to protect civilians.

The Security Council is also scheduled to consider, later this week, a vote on the survival of the United Nations Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, after Malian Foreign Minister Abdallah Diop requested its withdrawal “without delay”, denouncing its failure to face security challenges. The United Nations is likely to approve the financial request, according to diplomatic sources.

Wood continued, “As we have said many times, MONUSCO cannot and should not (…) remain in the Democratic Republic of the Congo indefinitely.” “However, there is a broad consensus that the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will not be able to meet the criteria that it agreed to as the minimum conditions required for the withdrawal of MONUSCO at the end of 2023,” he added.

In 2020, the Security Council approved a plan for the gradual withdrawal from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, setting criteria for transferring the responsibilities of the United Nations forces to the Congolese forces. Late last year, the Security Council agreed to extend the “Monusco” mission, but at the same time asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to submit proposals to reconfigure the mission in July.

Since 1999, MONUSCO has been one of the most important and costly missions of the United Nations. Kinshasa proposed to the UN forces to withdraw after the general elections in December.

“My government continues to engage in a constructive dialogue with the MONUSCO mission to define a transition plan,” George Nzungula Ntalaja, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s ambassador to the United Nations, said Monday.

He added, “Our vision is to focus on the milestones required to create minimum security conditions (…) in preparation for a good withdrawal.”

CREDIT: Globe World News Echo

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