With both presidential and parliamentary elections coming up in 2011, the Congolese government is nervous about Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo (MONUC – United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) setting its gradual withdrawal from the country.
President Joseph Kabila of Congo met with officials from the U.N to discuss when the 20,000-strong peacekeeping force will withdraw. The President expressed that he wishes to see MONUC to be entirely out of the country by the end of 2011. The process the Congolese government wants will take at least 18 months between late June 2009 and late December 2011.
U.N officials however stated that there will be no “artificial timeframe” but a ‘timeframe’ based on the reality Congo’s security and peace situation.
The site of a devastating war and genocide brought out by and still infested by pockets of rebels that has taken more than 5 million lives and pulled in neighboring African countries to war, Congo’s security situation remains a worrying topic on the U.N table.
The MONUC mandate will expire on May 31st, however officials will renew the mandate by that time. The peacekeeping force itself will remain in Congo until an agreement can be reached.
It is not expected that every peacekeeper will be withdrawn as the Congolese government and the U.N have already agreed to U.N presence in the country during the 2011 elections.