UNSC extends mandate of peacekeeping force in DRC

United Nations, March 29: The UN Security Council (UNSC) decided Friday to extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for another year and planned to consider its exit strategy.

The 15-nation council unanimously adopted a resolution which decides to extend the mandate of the UN Organization Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), including its Intervention Brigade, “on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent or any prejudice to the agreed principles of peacekeeping” until March 31, 2015, Xinhua reported.

The authorised troop ceiling of 19,815 military personnel remains for the MONUSCO.

The council noted “the need for a clear exit strategy” for the mission including the intervention force, saying the reconfiguration will depend on the evolution of the situation in the DRC, as well as on progress on the reduction of armed groups threats and functioning of state institutions.

It requested that the UN secretary general conduct “a thorough strategic review” of MONUSCO and the wider UN presence in DRC in order to provide recommendation on the mission’s future objectives, activities, exit strategy and effective deployment of resources, to the Security Council by the end of this year.

The resolution also encouraged Rwanda and Uganda to help with the demobilisation of combatants of the M23 ex-rebel movement, who fled the DRC after the M23 signed a peace agreement with the government at the end of 2013.

The UN Security Council authorised the deployment of an intervention brigade within MONUSCO in March 2013 to carry out targeted offensive operations with or without the Congolese national army against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.

IANS