U.N. council renews Congo peacekeeping mission, lowers troop cap

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On 3 April 2017 saa 09:46
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Despite a request by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to add two extra police units (320 officers) the council agreed to a Washington demand to keep the current total of 1,050 officers.

The resolution asks Guterres to explore “transfers of troops and their assets from other United Nations missions to MONUSCO” if needed and subject to council approval.

It is the first peacekeeping mission to be renewed since U.S. President Donald Trump proposed that Washington, the largest U.N. contributor, cut funding. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley is reviewing the 16 U.N. peacekeeping operations.

“It’s not the number of people we have on the ground, it’s the quality of the work that’s happening on the ground,” Haley told the council after the Congo vote.

Washington provides the most money for the total $7.9 billion U.N. peacekeeping budget, paying 28.5 percent, but Trump and Haley want to enforce a 25 percent cap.

The council has asked Guterres to report by the end of September on options for reducing the peacekeeping mission after elections this year, President Joseph Kabila has stepped down and sustainable progress has been made in reducing the threat of armed groups in the country.

Resource-rich Congo, which gained independence from colonial power Belgium in 1960, has never had a peaceful transition of power and Kabila’s refusal to stand down when his final term expired in December has raised fears the country could slide back into civil war.

Opposition leaders signed a fragile deal with the ruling coalition and allies of Kabila on Dec. 31 that requires him to step down after elections that must happen by the end of 2017.

The Security Council held a minute silence to honor two U.N. investigators whose bodies were found this week in Kasai Central province.

Source:The Citizen