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DRC Leader Urges UN Peace Mission Withdrawal by Year End

© AFP 2023 LEONARDO MUNOZCongolese President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi
Congolese President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 21.09.2023
UN peacekeepers have been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for more than two decades, aiming to support the DRC government in its peace settlement efforts. More than 120 armed groups are reportedly operating in major parts of the eastern part of the country, destabilizing the country and nearby territories.
Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has called on his government to speed up the withdrawal of the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to make sure that it starts at the end of the year, he said at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
In middle August, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres noted that MONUSCO, will start an "accelerated withdrawal." According to him, the mission, extended by one year last December, is entering "its final phase".
MONUSCO replaced a previous UN peacekeeping mission in the country – the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), which was launched on July 1, 2010. Its goal was to protect local population, humanitarian personnel and to assist the state's authorities in its efforts to stabilize the security situation, according to the UN.
Soldiers from the South Sudan People's Defence Forces (SSPDF) prepare to board a flight to transport them to eastern Congo - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 13.08.2023
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Despite a two-decade presence of the UN mission, the instability in the eastern DRC, which has been suffering from actions of over 120 armed groups, increased last year as the rebel group M23 rose up once again against the government.
Following the uprising of the M23 group, member states of the East African Community (EAC) set up a mandated regional force, which comprised contingents of Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda, to establish security in the eastern DRC.
Since the troop deployment in the region, a ceasefire between the M23 and the Congolese army there has been concluded. In May, the EAC mandate in the country was prolonged by the East Africa's leaders until September. In a statement, the bloc highlighted its "tremendous progress in its efforts to restore peace and stability in the eastern DRC."