MONUSCO’S disengagement will take place in three phases, starting with a complete withdrawal of the military and police components of MONUSCO from the eastern province of South Kivu by April 30, according to a statement issued on Saturday after the joint press conference held by Lutundula and Bintou Keita, UN envoy in the DRC and head of the UN peacekeeping mission.
The second and third phases of the mission’s drawdown provide for withdrawal from North Kivu and Ituri, two provinces plagued by armed conflicts, with elaborated evaluation in between, reads the statement.
"We are fighting for the withdrawal to be effective at the end of December 2024," said Lutundula.
"After 25 years of presence, MONUSCO will definitely leave the DRC no later than the end of 2024," according to the statement.
On Dec. 19, 2023, the UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted Resolution 2717, setting out a comprehensive disengagement plan that includes three phases and the gradual handover of responsibility to the government. However, the UNSC has not yet set a final date for the complete withdrawal.
The UN peacekeeping mission has been present in the country since 1999. It is one of the largest and most expensive in the world, with an annual budget of around 1 billion U.S. dollars.
"For the first time, the UNSC adopts a mandate asking MONUSCO to begin its withdrawal from the DRC. This is a historic moment. We will spare no effort with our Congolese partners to bring this process to a successful conclusion. I welcome the desire of the Congolese authorities to make the disengagement of MONUSCO a model of successful transition of a UN peacekeeping operation," said Keita.