News / Africa

UN Peacekeeping Mission in DRC Under Review

TEXT SIZE - +

The U.N. Security Council is preparing to go the Democratic Republic of Congo on a lightning mission later this week to discuss the future of 20,000 U.N. peacekeepers with President Joseph Kabila, who would like to see them leave.

President Kabila would like to see the peacekeepers, who have been in Congo for a decade following the country's bloody civil war, begin withdrawing before his country marks its 50th anniversary of independence from Belgium later this year. Mr. Kabila would like the entire force out by late August 2011.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended the Council withdraw up to 2,000 peacekeepers by the end of this June - but only from the calmer western part of the country.

The U.N.'s top official in Congo, Alan Doss, who briefed the council ahead of their Friday departure for Kinshasa, said such a drawdown in the west would be operationally feasible for the mission, known by its French acronym, MONUC.  Following that he proposed reviews of the security situation every six months, starting in September, in areas where MONUC is deployed.

"These reviews would focus on progress on military operations against armed groups; deployment of security forces to assume MONUC protection task; and establishment of state authority in areas freed of armed groups," he said.

Doss said those would be the conditions for planning further drawdowns of U.N. forces.

In the unstable east, peacekeepers are still supporting the national army in its efforts to eradicate Rwandan Hutu rebels of the FDLR and the rebel Lords Resistance Army. Doss expressed continuing concerns about the security situation in that part of the country. "The humanitarian situation in the Kivus and parts of Orientale province remains of deep concern with a large number of internally displaced persons, high levels of sexual violence against women and attacks on humanitarian workers," he said.

Such instability was evident Tuesday, as the International Committee of the Red Cross said eight of its workers had been abducted by militia members in South Kivu province.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud, who is organizing the 2-day visit to the DRC, told reporters the council is going "with an open mind" to dialogue with the Congolese. "We all know that the U.N. force won't remain indefinitely in Congo. Our goal is, of course, to allow the Congolese authorities to exert their authority, their sovereignty, on all their territory as quickly as possible," he said.

But he cautioned that the situation remains "extremely fragile" and that withdrawal must be done "right, rather than quickly."

The Council was originally planning to visit Uganda and Rwanda as well on this trip, but canceled those plans, citing the council's heavy work load this month. That agenda includes a possible new round of sanctions aimed at Iran for its nuclear program.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid