News / Africa

DRC Government Says UN Could Provide Neutral Force

Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister for Foreign Affairs Raymond Tshibanda speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in the Gombe district of Kinshasa, July 19, 2012.
Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister for Foreign Affairs Raymond Tshibanda speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in the Gombe district of Kinshasa, July 19, 2012.
Nick Long
KINSHASA — More details have been revealed of an agreement to station a neutral armed force along the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. The agreement, which was signed last weekend by the presidents of the DRC, Rwanda and nine other Great Lakes region countries, is intended to help eradicate negative forces destabilizing the region.

The DRC’s foreign affairs minister said Thursday that the neutral force could be part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Congo, provided that the mission mandate is reviewed. 

The  plan for a neutral border force has prompted intense speculation and some cynical commentary in Kinshasa. One blogger wondered where the region would find such a force, and suggested they might have to be extra-terrestrials.   

The DRC’s foreign affairs minister Raymond Tshibanda told media in Kinshasa that the force would not just be regional but would be open to troop contributions from all member states of the United Nations.

He said it should not be limited just to troops from the region and it was well understood that since the force would be neutral it would not contain troops from either the Democratic Republic of Congo or Rwanda.

The agreement calls on the Great Lakes countries to work with the African Union and the U.N. to immediately establish a neutral force in order to eradicate the Congolese M23 rebels, the Rwandan FDLR rebels, and all other negative forces operating in eastern DRC, and to protect the frontier.

The minister said the plan had been formulated after consultation with heads of state from the Southern African Development Community and with the African Union, and had also been discussed with the French, British and Belgian governments.

Tshibanda said the DRC hoped the border force would be equipped with hi-tech electronic surveillance equipment.

The agreement envisages the former presidents of Tanzania and Nigeria, Benjamin Mkapa and Olusgun Obasanjo, acting as monitors to ensure the plan is implemented and to evaluate its progress.

Impartial monitoring will be very important, Tshibanda said, to ensure there is agreement on what has been achieved and what still needs to be done, particularly with regard to the Rwandan FDLR rebels who have been in the Congo for many years.

He said the FDLR seems to resemble a vampire which keeps being killed and then re-emerging somewhere else. It should be clear to everyone, he continued, that there had to be an end to the FDLR and there would be an evaluation to decide whether the problem was finished or not.

He added that the M23 Congolese rebel group must also cease to exist.

Tshibanda admitted that the questions of who would pay for the troops and where they would come from still needed to be answered. He said if it was necessary for the U.N. mission in Congo, MONUSCO,  to provide troops as part of this force, the region would not be opposed, but there would be conditions.

He says the mandate of MONUSCO must be reviewed because it does not include the two missions set out for the border force, and he said the rules of engagement must also be reviewed to give the force enough capability to react.

He also suggested that the troops contributed would have to be up to the task of meeting the threat. If MONUSCO was to contribute the troops, he said, the U.N. Security Council would have to make the necessary decisions.

Tshibanda said that it was not easy to get the U.N. to move and there was work to do to achieve this.

On Wednesday MONUSCO said it had not been consulted on the plan for a neutral border force and could not comment.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid