Thursday, March 28, 2013

DR Congo: The UN Africa Brigade is born ( sort of ).

The UN reports

Security Council approves intervention force to target armed groups in DR Congo

                                                  The Security Council

28 March 2013 – The Security Council today authorized the deployment of an intervention brigade within the current United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to address imminent threats to peace and security.
The intervention brigade will carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the Congolese national army, against armed groups that threaten peace in the eastern part of DRC – a region that is prone to cycles of violence and consequent humanitarian suffering.

It has taken a long time to get this set up and as yet the force composition has not been announced so expect at least a further two months until there is a presence on the ground in the eastern DRC.

The objectives of the new force – which will be based in North Kivu province in eastern DRC and total 3,069 peacekeepers – are to neutralize armed groups, reduce the threat they posed to State authority and civilian security and make space for stabilization activities.
The brigade is established within the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) for an initial period of one year, as set out in the resolution adopted unanimously today by the Council, which also extended the mission until 31 March 2014.

So at most this effort will run for 10 months unless further renewed. That is not of its self a bad thing. If the force fails then getting rid of it quickly is an advantage. Relief Web notes.

" Further by the text, the Council set out the operational parameters of the brigade, which would comprise three infantry battalions, one artillery and one special forces and reconnaissance company headquartered in Goma — the scene of a brutal M23 attack in November 2012 — under the direct command of the MONUSCO Force Commander. The resolution decided that the intervention brigade would have a clear exit strategy and that the Council would consider extending its mandate beyond one year on the basis of its performance, and of whether the Democratic Republic of Congo had made sufficient progress in implementing the Peace and Security Framework for the region, adopted on 24 February.
Specifically on that accord, signed by 11 African leaders and brokered by the Secretary-General, the Council demanded that all signatory States implement their commitments in good faith, and encouraged the establishment of an oversight mechanism involving regional leaders, as well as a national mechanism to oversee implementation of reform measures agreed by the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Council expressed its intention to review the status of the Framework Agreement after the first visit to the region by the newly appointed Special Envoy, Mary Robinson. The commitments made by the Great Lakes countries were annexed to the 12-page text. "
It is a fairly substantial force and I like that it will be headquartered in Goma. It will be interesting to see if the Brigades establishment has a flow on effect with regard to the conduct of the current MONUSCO force.
Resolution 2098 also provides a new mandate for MONUSCO, by which it will support Congolese authorities to protect civilians, neutralize armed groups, and implement key reforms to consolidate peace in the country, particularly in the area of security sector reform and rule of law.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the resolution, “which sets out a new, comprehensive approach aimed at addressing the root causes of instability in the eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
“He remains personally committed to helping bring peace and stability to the people of the DRC and the Great Lakes region and will keep working to ensure this remains a top priority for the international community,” the statement added.
Also hailing the resolution was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, who told reporters that the text reflected the shared desire of the international community to comprehensively address the root causes of the terrible cycle of violence witnessed in the DRC over nearly two decades.
“I do very much think that today could be a significant turning point in the handling of the crisis that for many years the DRC has experienced,” he said. “And at the end of the day, it is about putting an end to the suffering of millions of people.”

I hope he is right.

The newly-authorized brigade is designed to further support the political objectives of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region – a peace deal signed last month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Council demanded that the signatories of the Framework fully implement their commitments in good faith, and called on the newly designated Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, to lead, coordinate and assess the implementation of these commitments.

Yes Rwanda that is you they are talking about.

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