DR Congo President sets early withdrawal of UN peacekeepers, country will take reins of its destiny
After the decades-long presence of a large UN peacekeeping mission, the Democratic Republic of the Congo will, by the end of the year, aim to take full control of its destiny and become the primary actor in its own stability, the country’s President told the General Assembly on Wednesday.
President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo thanked the international community and the UN for their support and partnership, adding that the gradual withdrawal of the mission, known as MONUSCO, is a necessary step to consolidate the progress made by DR Congo.
He deplored peacekeeping missions deployed in one form another for almost 25 years in the DR Congo were neither able to control rebellions and resolve armed conflicts, nor protect civilian populations.
The President said he has instructed his Government to begin discussions with UN officials to accelerate and bring forward the MONUSCO withdrawal deadline by one year: from December 2024 to December 2023.
Demand for sanctions
He also reiterated his country’s demand for the UN Security Council to sanction all persons and entities who perpetrated, sponsored or were accomplices in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and the UN Charter on Congolese soil.
It is unjust and unacceptable for persons deemed to be responsible for such serious crimes to continue to enjoy impunity with the complete silence of our organization, he stressed.
He welcomed the United States sanctions just imposed on Rwanda for its support for the M23 terrorist group, which he called a proxy of that neighbouring county.
Fix double standards
President Tshisekedi went on to stress that maintaining international peace and security is UN’s primary objective, requiring greater determination and commitment from its Members in the face of any threat to international peace and security.
However, African people often do not understand the Organization’s ambiguities, double standards and procrastination, particularly its Security Council.
To retain the trust of the international community, the UN must show it can adapt and fix its inefficiencies and contradictions within its agencies, he said, stating that the Security Council’s permanent membership be expanded to include two representatives of the African continent to ensure it is inclusive in its composition as well as decisions.
President Tshisekedi also spoke on climate change and the environment, noting that the recent African Climate Summit held in Nairobi reflected the continent’s determination to actively participate in the climate discussion and contribute to curbing global warming.
Urging the UN and the entire international community to pay attention to the legitimate demands of the continent, he called for the creation of a fair carbon market and incentive prices while strengthening the effectiveness of climate financing.
Looking ahead to upcoming general elections in the country, President Tshisekedi affirmed that invitations have already been extended to competent international institutions and non-governmental organizations to mandate their electoral observation missions to support the process and help the nation consolidate its democracy.
He also said that his Government is committed to change the way men view women, in particular by removing societal structures that create barriers to the development of women as well as power dynamics that underlie male-female relationships.
Full statement in French available here.