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May 28, 2010

The United Nations Security Council has agreed to withdraw up to 2000 peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 15 members of the UN body unanimously adopted resolution 1925 renaming the peacekeeping force known as MONUC to MONUSCO (UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo) and extending its mandate until June 30, 2011.

Last year, the Congolese government asked the UN to provide a plan for a gradual withdrawal of all its peacekeepers by June 30, 2011. The government contends  it can now deal with pockets of insecurity in eastern Congo without help from the UN force.

In December, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recommended the Security Council to authorize the withdrawal of 2,000 peacekeepers from relatively calm western provinces by June 30, while engaging Congolese authorities on how to drawdown the force without risking a return to instability. Security Council members held discussions with Congolese authorities on the future of MONUC on May 14-15.

Although the resolution extends the UN mission to June 30, 2011, it does not authorize a complete withdrawal of all peacekeepers by that date, saying instead that “future reconfigurations of MONUSCO should be determined on the basis of the evolution of the situation on the ground.”

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