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UN official urges "responsible" withdrawal from the DRC

UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, speaks in Kinshasa, June 7th, 2023   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

A top UN official said on Wednesday that peacekeepers should withdraw from the DRC as "quickly as possible" yet responsibly.

Speaking in the capital, Kinshasa, during a visit to the DRC, the UN official added that the Congolese state should step up its own response to the armed groups that plague the east of the country.

"We're obviously going to continue this work, and at the same time work with the Congolese authorities so that, as I said, the process of the Congolese state becoming more powerful will enable us to gradually reduce Monusco's presence, but to do so responsibly. Once again, I would like to stress that there must be no security vacuum, which would be fatal to these populations", said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations.

The UN official also acknowledged the frustration with the peacekeepers as the levels of insecurity remain alarmingly high in the country, particularly in the east.

"Everyone has been concerned by the violence that occurred during recent demonstrations. Many of our interlocutors are concerned about hate speech, xenophobic rhetoric, misogynistic rhetoric and discourse based on ethnic confrontation, and of course it is essential to put an end to such rhetoric", concluded the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations.

The UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo, known as MONUSCO, is one of the largest and costliest in the world, with an annual budget of around $1 billion. It has been present in the country since 1999.

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