Steven Vanackere on the Democratic Republic of Congo and the new MONUSCO mandate

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Steven Vanackere welcomes the adoption of Resolution 1925, which makes provision for the United Nations Security Council to extend and fundamentally reconfigure  the mandate governing UN peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The peacekeeping operation (formerly MONUC) will be known as the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and will focus on two key tasks: peacekeeping in the east of the DRC and peacebuilding in the country as a whole.

Minister Vanackere was very satisfied with the new, well-balanced mandate and said:

“The mandate responds to the need for a strong, continued UN presence to safeguard stability and development in the DRC. Furthermore, it duly takes into account the desire of the Congolese government to assume responsibility itself for a certain number of public authority functions, in consultation with the international community and following several years of UN presence.”

The Minister added: “I have discussed this subject at length in my personal dealings with colleagues both from the five permanent member countries of the Security Council and elsewhere. With the help of our diplomats, we have endeavoured to find a consensus within the international community, including the DRC, around peacekeeping and peacebuilding, the two pillars of the mission. I am satisfied that we have once again been able to demonstrate that substantive progress can be made on the basis of constructive dialogue.”

Although MONUSCO operations will be geared primarily towards peacekeeping in the east of the DRC, the Security Council will be still able to intervene in other parts of the country if needs be. With regard to peacebuilding, the Resolution stresses the need to train the Congolese police and army. The MONUSCO mandate is chiefly concerned with protecting citizens, a point which Belgium has emphasised in particular over recent weeks. MONUSCO will help the Congolese government to protect its citizens, starting with women and children, from violations of international humanitarian law. In this connection, a particular effort will be made to combat sexual violence and impunity.

A contingent of 2,000 Blue Helmets will leave the DRC on 30 June in line with the wishes of the Congolese government. Peacekeeping operations could be stepped down again at a later date depending on regular assessments by the UN Secretary-General and the Congolese government. The assessments will cover: (1) results on the ground in the fight against rebel movements in the east of the country; (2) the ability of Congolese security troops to take ownership of MONUSCO tasks; (3) the deployment of a suitable civil administration across the entire territory.