UN to withdraw up to 2,000 troops from DR Congo

The UN Security Council has agreed to withdraw some 2,000 peacekeepers from Democratic Republic of Congo.

United Nations: The UN Security Council has
agreed to withdraw some 2,000 peacekeepers from Democratic
Republic of Congo, but put off a decision on Kinshasa`s
request that all troops leave by 2011.

The 15-member body unanimously adopted a resolution
yesterday that "authorises the withdrawal of up to 2,000 UN
military personnel by June 30, 2010 from areas where the
security situation permits."

Called MONUC, the UN force is the world`s largest and
most expensive peacekeeping operation with more than 20,000
personnel.

The Security Council also extended its mandate until the
end of June, and agreed to rename it the UN Organisation
Stabilisation Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) from July 1.

President Joseph Kabila has called for MONUC`s complete
pullout from his mineral-rich country by late 2011.

He has insisted the first contingent should depart before
June 30, when the huge, central African country celebrates the
50th anniversary of its independence from Belgium.

Kabila, elected president in 2006 for a five-year term,
appears to be trying to burnish his nationalistic credentials
ahead of presidential polls scheduled for late next year.

But council diplomats and aid groups believe DRC
authorities will be unable to ensure security in the east of
their country, where rebels such as Rwandan Hutu rebels and
Uganda`s rebel Lord`s Resistance Army (LRA) are causing havoc,
by the 2011 deadline.

PTI

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