Saturday, December 29, 2012

DR Congo: Hurry up and wait.

Press TV reports

Decision on neutral force for Congo delayed 

The notion of the international neutral force was first adopted by the heads of state and government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in July 2012.

A meeting held in Addis Ababa , Ethiopia attended by defense ministers and military chiefs from Africa ended without any conclusions on when or how the recommended contingent of 4000 troops will be dispatched to Congo.

The predictions that the force would be on the ground by January are starting to look a little hollow.  

This was because they needed to figure out how to link the neutral force to the already existing United Nations force of MONUSCO.

But even as the process seems to be dragging, Uganda which has been at the forefront of the negotiations between and the Congolese government and the March 23 rebels says there is still hope for Congo. 

It is difficult to take the African neutral force seriously at this stage. The composition and numbers have changed several times. How on earth it will operate with MONUSCO and the narrow interpretation they seem to take on their mandate is beyond me.

The United Nations is also reportedly doing its own investigations on the mandate of the existing MONUSCO force, its size, deployment requirements, assets, resources, the aspects of which will be presented before a scheduled meeting on January 9th, 2013, to decide on the fate of the newly proposed international neutral force. 

There seems to be an agenda of do nothing developing which is ironic.

After deliberations on the 8th of January, the preparatory work will be passed over to the Peace and Security Council, and then shared with the UN chief. Ban Ki-moon is expected to include the Africa’s recommendations in his own ones that present them to the UN Security Council.

The outcome of the military discussions was included in a paper that each delegation took back home to seek opinion from their higher government levels. This means that Congo may have to wait much longer for the military aid that it needs so much to maintain peace, especially in its eastern region.

Sad to say no real surprises here.

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