UN cuts DR Congo peacekeeping force by 2,000

Security Council unanimously approve a drawdown in the 20,000-strong MONUSCO force, the UN's biggest peace operation.

    President Kabila had sought a cut of 6,000 troops and a commitment to shut down UN peace operations in the near future [AFP]
    President Kabila had sought a cut of 6,000 troops and a commitment to shut down UN peace operations in the near future [AFP]


    The UN Security Council has voted to cut 2,000 troops from the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo despite calls from the country for a bigger drawdown.

    The 15-member council unanimously adopted a resolution that provides for the troop cuts in the 20,000-strong MONUSCO force, the UN's biggest peace operation.

    The vote came after Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda last week told the council that it was time for Kinshasa to take "full responsibility for its security" after 16 years of UN troop presence in the country.

    President Joseph Kabila, who is headed for elections in November 2016, had sought an immediate cut of 6,000 troops and a clear commitment to shut down the UN peace operations in the near future.

    Tensions have been rife between Kinshasa and the United Nations over how to deal with rebel groups in the east and security concerns ahead of the elections seen as a test of democracy in the DR Congo.

    The resolution drafted by France endorsed a recommendation from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who said the drawdown would not affect the security situation, the AFP news agency reported.

    The troop reduction did not affect the UN-mandated ceiling of about 21,000 forces, which suggested that the Security Council could decide at a later time to again boost UN troop presence in the DR Congo.

    The cut will become permanent "once significant progress has been achieved regarding the priorities of MONUSCO's mandate" including the fight against Hutu rebels.

    The measure renewed MONUSCO's mandate until March 2016 and kept in place an intervention brigade comprised of crack troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi that plays a key role in strengthening the mission.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.