The chief of the U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), Alan Doss, will retire by the end of the month, said Madnoudje Mounoubai, spokesman for the world body.
He said the Doss retirement coincides with the expected decision by the U.N. Security Council to approve a new role for its peacekeeping mission.
“Mr. Doss has issued a letter to the staff. In that letter, he announced that he was going to retire after 44 years of service to the United Nations. Actually, there is no clear timeline because this will only take place only if the new mandate is put in place. Mr. Doss thinks this is the right time for him to go since the mission is going to get a new mandate,” he said.
Alan Doss reportedly said it was about the right time to go when the Security Council approves a new role for MONUC, whose mandate expires at month’s end.
Mounoubai said the U.N. Congo Mission chief’s scheduled retirement will coincide with MONUC’s new mandate.
“Exactly, I think this (is) also probably the timing of Mr. Doss to leave at this time when the current mandate is going to expire and a new mandate is going to be put in place probably with new mission for MONUC. So, he thinks it’s good for him to go now and give the chance to his successor to implement or carry out this new mandate,” Mounoubai said.
President Joseph Kabila’s government has called for MONUC’s withdrawal by August 2011. But, several right groups, as well as some armed groups, have voiced concerns about the withdrawal of the U.N. peacekeepers, a move they said could plunge the country into another round of chaos and instability. The government denies the charge.
Doss’ decision follows a recent visit by a delegation of Security Council officials to Congo who held talks with the government and several other stakeholders about the future of MONUC.
Mounoubai said the U.N. body will abide by the government’s draw-down decision.
“First of all, the decision to draw down, or withdraw, MONUC forces on the ground here in Congo, this decision comes from the government. So, this is not something we are going to argue with the government or negotiate with the government. We just have to make sure that this is going to be properly implemented and that, in the implementation of that decision, we can preserve the gains of the last 10 years as far as the peace process or stability in the DRC is concerned,” Mounoubai said.
With about 20,000 peacekeepers in the DRC, MONUC is the largest U.N. Mission to a single country with an estimated budget of more than $1 billion.
The U.N. Security Council mandated its peacekeepers to “use all necessary measures” to protect Congo’s unarmed civilian population against violence perpetrated by various armed groups.