High-Level UN Official Wraps Up Visit to DR Congo, Emphasizing Eastern Region’s Challenges

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read

The conclusion of the nearly week-long tour of Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General for Peace Operations, marks a significant milestone in efforts to address the complex dynamics plaguing the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Lacroix’s itinerary primarily focused on the strife-torn eastern region of the country, where armed conflicts persist. Stops included Beni and Goma in North Kivu, as well as Bukavu in the neighboring South Kivu province. The tour culminated in Kinshasa, where he held talks with Congolese President FĂ©lix Tshisekedi on Tuesday, February 6th.

During his visit, Lacroix engaged with President Tshisekedi and Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, emphasizing the urgent need to address the ongoing security challenges in the eastern part of the country, particularly the conflict with the M23 rebel group.

“Our message has been heard,” confirmed Lacroix. “We are determined, on the UN’s side, to ensure that the international community, including the Security Council, is fully informed about the dangers of this situation,” he reiterated.

The UN official also discussed joint operations between MONUSCO (the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the Congolese armed forces, aimed at securing Goma and providing enhanced support to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force currently being deployed.

“The decision on this matter depends on the United Nations Security Council, to which we will make recommendations and suggestions for granting a broader mandate to MONUSCO to provide greater support to this crucial force. I also had the opportunity to meet with the SADC force commander while in Goma,” Lacroix explained.

Lastly, the issue of MONUSCO’s withdrawal was addressed. The force has begun disengaging from South Kivu, with the process slated for completion by the end of April in that province. “We share a common concern that the disengagement proceeds in an orderly and rational manner to achieve the desired objectives,” emphasized Lacroix following his meeting with President Tshisekedi.

Soukaina Sghir

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