At the UN, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi insists on an “accelerated” withdrawal of peacekeepers

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Félix Tshisekedi insisted on Wednesday September 20 at the UN for an “accelerated” withdrawal of his country’s peacekeepers from the end of 2023, regretting that they have not “failed to confront” armed groups

At the UN, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi insists on an “accelerated” withdrawal of peacekeepers

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Félix Tshisekedi insisted on Wednesday September 20 at the UN for an “accelerated” withdrawal of his country’s peacekeepers from the end of 2023, regretting that they have not “failed to confront” armed groups. “It is time for our country to take full control of its destiny and become the main actor in its own stability,” he said at the UN General Assembly.

With this objective, the “gradual” withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) and its more than 15,000 blue helmets “is a necessary step to consolidate the progress we have already made,” he said. - he estimated. He deplored that the UN missions present for nearly twenty-five years “have not succeeded in confronting the rebellions and armed conflicts which are tearing this country and the Great Lakes region apart nor in protecting civilian populations.”

Since 2020, the UN Security Council has begun a cautious disengagement, approving a gradual withdrawal plan setting broad parameters for transferring responsibilities from blue helmets to Congolese forces. With our sights set on the 2024 horizon.

“Progressive withdrawal to December 2023”

But “this plan for a staggered, responsible and sustainable withdrawal” of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) is “anachronistic”, insisted the Congolese president, judging it “illusory and counterproductive to continue to 'hold on to maintaining MONUSCO to restore peace' in the country. He asked his government to begin discussions with the UN for “the accelerated withdrawal of MONUSCO from the DRC by reducing the start of this gradual withdrawal from December 2024 to December 2023”, the date of the next elections.

A request to this effect was sent to the Security Council at the beginning of September and discussions are underway. In June, during a Security Council meeting, the United States warned against a “precipitous” withdrawal of the mission, estimating that the country would not be ready for such a withdrawal at the end of 2023.

These discussions around the withdrawal of Monusco come as the UN has faced a series of attacks and demonstrations against the presence of blue helmets in the country. At the end of August, the repression of an anti-UN demonstration left around fifty dead in Goma, in the east of the country. “The acceleration of the withdrawal of MONUSCO becomes an imperative necessity to ease tensions between the latter and our fellow citizens,” insisted Félix Tshisekedi.