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UN Peacekeepers Pause Withdrawal from Congo, No Timeline For Next Phase

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A 3D Claymation style version of a United Nations peacekeeper, by DALL-E 3

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has suspended its withdrawal, with no timeline for the next phase after the initial withdrawal in June.

This was made known by the Congolese government and the peacekeeping mission.

Congolese President, Felix Tshisekedi, had asked the mission last year September to speed-up the withdrawal of peacekeepers deployed to address the insecurity in Congo caused by armed groups who are fighting over resources and territory.

The first phase of the withdrawal was completed on June 25, according to Congo’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zenon Mukongo Ngay, on Monday.

Ngay however said that conditions were not yet suitable for the next phase, blaming Rwanda for escalating clashes in eastern Congo.

“In view of Rwanda’s continued aggression in North Kivu, the next phase of withdrawal, phase 2, will be undertaken when conditions allow, following ongoing joint assessments,” he said at the UN Security Council meeting.

For long, Congo and the UN have accused Rwanda of backing the M23 rebel group, allegations Rwanda denies.

The head of the UN mission, Bintou Keita, confirmed there was “no timeline” for withdrawal from North Kivu or Ituri provinces.

“What’s next, as we said, we pause, we prepare, and we see what comes next based on the reality on the ground,” Keita told reporters in New York on Monday.

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