Kinshasa Seeks Enhanced MONUSCO Support for SADC Force

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In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United States has opposed full United Nations support for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force (SAMIDRC), which assists the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in their fight against M23 rebels.

During a United Nations Security Council meeting earlier this week, Stephanie Sullivan, the interim U.S. Ambassador to the UN, stated that substantial MONUSCO support for the SADC mission in the DRC could undermine efforts toward a political solution to the crisis in the country’s eastern region. The United States endorses a “limited” support approach for the SADC mission, emphasizing the need for de-escalation and the pursuit of a political resolution to the conflict.

This stance follows a request made between March and April by the SADC and the Congolese government. They sought support in the form of aerial resources, land transport, infrastructure, and the transfer of MONUSCO facilities upon its withdrawal. Additionally, they requested financial resources to supplement the SADC regional force’s budget, including the acquisition of drones, strategic air transport, and intelligence-gathering tools.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres conducted consultations and presented three options to the Security Council.

The first option involves enhancing coordination, information sharing, and technical assistance within MONUSCO’s current mandate. This would include sharing knowledge, skills, and technical advice.

The second option entails the limited use of MONUSCO’s logistical and military capabilities. This could involve aerial support primarily for medical evacuations, essential land transport to facilitate the movement of SADC mission command and troops and intelligence sharing.

The third option envisions providing more comprehensive UN support to the SADC mission, including facilitating troop deployments and rotations for the SADC force.

Guterres has submitted these three options to the UN Security Council, which is expected to make a final decision soon. Given the U.S. position, the second option, offering limited support, seems the most likely outcome.

In conclusion, as Kinshasa seeks enhanced MONUSCO support for the SADC force, the United States remains cautious, advocating for a restrained approach to avoid compromising the pursuit of a political solution to the ongoing conflict in eastern DRC.


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