The Security Council today decided to extend until 20 December 2020 the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), along with its Intervention Brigade.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2502 (2019), the Council decided that MONUSCO’s troop ceiling will comprise 14,000 military personnel, 660 military observers and staff officers, 591 police personnel and 1,050 personnel in formed police units. A temporary addition of 360 personnel in formed police units was also authorized, provided they replace military personnel.
The Council invited the Secretariat to consider further reduction of MONUSCO’s military deployment and area of operations based on the situation on the ground in regions where the threat posed by armed groups is deemed no longer significant.
The Council also decided that the protection of civilians will remain as MONUSCO’s strategic priority. Other tasks requested of the Mission include the strengthening of State institutions and cooperation with the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes to stop the cross-border flow of armed combatants, arms and conflict minerals that threaten the peace.
The Council took note of the assessment of the independent strategic review that an absolute minimum transition period of three years is required for the exit of MONUSCO, with flexibility required in consideration of the situation on the ground, implementation of reforms to address the structural drivers of conflict and other factors.
Following the adoption, Anne Gueguen (France) noted that the adoption marks a new phase in the partnership between the United Nations and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a focus on the development of a mutual strategy to specify the conditions needed for the drawdown of MONUSCO. All partners need to support the reforms necessary for that purpose - particularly in the justice and reintegration sectors – in order to stem the violence that still affects parts of the country. In addition, services need to be enhanced and concerns of all people need to be addressed. Her country intended to increase its assistance in that regard, she said, adding that regional countries and organizations must also increase their cooperation.
Xolisa Mfundiso Mabhongo (South Africa), also speaking for Côte d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea, supported the overall strengthening of MONUSCO’s protection mandate. He welcomed the role of the Intervention Brigade in that regard. However, the security situation in the east of the country highlights the need for the Government to strengthen the capacity of State institutions, with MONUSCO’S support. In that regard, he welcomed the request for the Secretary-General to work with the Government to develop benchmarks for the drawdown of the Mission.
Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia), noting he voted in favour of the resolution due to the request of the Government for extended assistance from MONUSCO, emphasized that peacekeeping missions must be held accountable for performance. Such accountability must apply to all components of the Mission and peacekeepers must be adequately supported. In addition, it is vital to consult with troop contributors at all mission phases, he said, saluting peacekeepers for their sacrifices and their work.
Wu Haitao (China), noting President Félix Tshisekedi’s accomplishments, said it showed that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has the ability to face its own challenges. The situation in the east, however, requires the continued assistance of MONUSCO, he said, expressing appreciation for the flexibility shown in the negotiations on the draft in that regard. He also stressed the importance of continued respect for the strategies of the country as the future of the Mission is planned.
Joanna Wronecka (Poland), welcoming political developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that neutralization of armed groups and respect for human rights are key. Reduction of community violence should, therefore, be a focus, along with inclusiveness of the political process. Open dialogue with the Government remains essential, as does consideration of the situation on the ground, as next steps are considered, she added.
Cherith Norman-Chalet (United States), Council President for December, spoke in her national capacity, saying that the text allows MONUSCO to become leaner and more effective in carrying out its mandate. However, she stressed that any mention of the International Criminal Court makes no claim for jurisdiction over nationals or States that are not party to the Rome Statute. Nonetheless, that in no way allows impunity for atrocity crimes, which her country demands accountability for, she said.
Paul Losoko Efambe Empole (Democratic Republic of the Congo) expressed gratitude for the United Nations’ efforts to restore peace and stability in his country. He pledged the country’s efforts to take advantage of the extended support of MONUSCO and work together with the Mission to achieve lasting peace and sustainable development. Respect for all agreements reached is crucial for that purpose. He said that although positive trends have begun under President Tshisekedi, armed groups still pose threats. To address that, operations have been launched in the east and have already begun to bear fruit in the surrender of various Mai-Mai groups and others, along with capture of a number of leaders and strongholds.
Unfortunately, he continued, some armed groups have consequently changed strategy to terrorize populations. The country’s armed forces have adjusted deployment in consequence. The determination of the Government to eradicate the groups is unwavering and it is counting on MONUSCO’s support in security, institution-building, reintegration of ex-combatants and reform of the security sector. He added that the adjustment of troop levels in the resolution reflects Government requests. Outlining Government efforts to boost respect for human rights and ensure accountability for abuses, he thanked all troop contributors of MONUSCO, as well as the Blue Helmets for their sacrifices.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 10:35 a.m.