UN is Ready to Solve DR Congo Crisis with ’Offensive’ Peacekeeping

UN is Ready to Solve DR Congo Crisis with ’Offensive’ Peacekeeping

The UN

Security Council has unanimously approved the first-ever “offensive” UN

peacekeeping brigade to battle rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo,

which on Friday hailed the move as a turning point for its restive east.

UN is Ready to Solve DR Congo Crisis with ’Offensive’ Peacekeeping

resolution gave the 3,000-strong force orders to “neutralize” and “disarm”

rebel groups in the resource-rich east of the country, which has been gripped

by conflict for more than two decades.

A council

Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponya hailed the move as “the beginning of the

end of armed groups and sends a very clear signal to those supporting them.”

DR Congo

welcomes this vote, which marks a decisive turning point for re-establishing

peace and security in the Kivu” regions in the east, he said in a statement.

“The DRC

troops in the intervention brigade will come from South Africa, Tanzania and

Malawi, UN peacekeeping force chief Herve Ladsous said Thursday.

The first

and surveillance drones to monitor DR Congo’s borders with neighbors accused of

backing the rebels will be operating by July.

The force

will launch UN peacekeeping operations into a new era, said diplomats. “It’s an

innovation,” said France’s UN ambassador Gerard Araud, whose country wrote the

resolution which has worried some contributing nations to UN missions.

The force

resolution’s mandate to conduct “targeted offensive operations” has never been

given to a peacekeeping mission before.

The

“in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with

international law” to “prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize

these groups, and to disarm them,” the resolution said.

It will act

and drones are part of a UN campaign to add military muscle to political

efforts to end conflict in DR Congo’s border regions with Rwanda and Uganda.

The brigade

African nations signed a UN-brokered accord last month pledging not to

interfere in the affairs of their neighbors. Former Irish president Mary

Robinson was named UN special envoy for the Great Lakes region, leading political

peace efforts.

Eleven

will be made up of three infantry battalions, one artillery and one special

force and a reconnaissance company with headquarters in the North Kivu

provincial capital of Goma.

The brigade

reporters there would be 3,069 troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi in

the force, which he said would be “an important new element in the panoply of

peacekeeping.”

Ladsous told

Security Council and the UN have moved into new territory” with the

intervention brigade, said Britain’s UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

“The

has an initial one-year mandate and the resolution said it was created “on an

exceptional basis and without creating a precedent.” Several UN ambassadors

said however the precedent had now been set.

The brigade

which has troops in the UN mission in DR Congo and is also a council member,

“wavered” over whether to back the resolution, said its UN envoy Gert

Rosenthal.

Guatemala,

among countries which fear that the offensive brigade will make other

peacekeepers a target of radical groups in DR Congo and other conflicts in

which such a brigade could be introduced.

Guatemala is

which also has troops in DR Congo, also raised opposition to the brigade being

used in other UN missions.

Pakistan,

temporary member of the Security Council, joined the body’s other 14 members in

voting for the resolution.

Rwanda, a

Uganda have been accused by UN experts of backing the M23 rebels who briefly

took Goma in November in an offensive which sparked the UN security rethink.

Both have denied the charges.

Rwanda and

ambassador Eugene Richard Gasana called on Kinshasa to make greater efforts to

“tackle the deep-seated causes of conflict” in the country and also criticized

“pre-conceived ideas of the past” which had seen Rwanda accused.

Rwanda’s UN

armed groups from neighboring nations, in particular the M23 rebels, have taken

over large parts of the east.

Congolese and

the M23 was wracked by infighting and hundreds of rebels loyal to warlord Bosco

Ntaganda fled into Rwanda after being routed by a rival faction. Ntaganda is

now in the custody of the International Criminal Court where he faces war

crimes charges.

This month

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