In unanimous agreement, the Security Council has agreed to consider the gradual withdrawal of the UN mission from the Congo. This autumn, President Felix Tshisekedi, and the Congolese government have repeatedly requested the UN’s approval for this withdrawal. On Monday, October 16, the Security Council responded with a statement that laid the groundwork for MONUSCO’s withdrawal.
This is the signal that both President Félix Tshisekedi and the Congolese government have been waiting for several weeks. The Security Council went beyond merely acknowledging Kinshasa’s requests. In this statement, it sets the stage for MONUSCO’s withdrawal from the DRC. It encourages the Congolese government and the UN to present a plan next month for a “gradual and orderly disengagement” of the peacekeepers.
The Security Council also calls on the DRC and Rwanda to intensify their dialogue for peace, condemns any support for the armed group M23, and encourages the successful conduct of the 2023 elections. The Congolese Ambassador welcomed this stance, stating that it should help reduce tensions between the local population and MONUSCO.
It’s difficult to determine whether recent forced UN disengagements by host countries such as Mali, Sudan, and Niger have influenced the Council’s decision—or if the matter of the eight peacekeepers arrested for allegedly maintaining a prostitution ring near their base has impacted its decision.