DR Congo and UN Sign Peacekeeper Withdrawal Plan

The UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo said on Wednesday that it had signed a withdrawal plan for its troops in the central African nation, without offering details about a timeline.

In a statement, the peacekeeping mission, known as Monusco, said that it had “co-signed a note on the accelerated, gradual, orderly and responsible withdrawal” from the country.

The note contains a plan and timeline for the withdrawal, but the peacekeeping mission offered few details beyond saying that it will be implemented in three phases.

Monusco is one of the world’s largest and costliest UN peacekeeping missions, with an annual budget of around $1 billion.

Peacekeepers have been present in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1999, but militia violence has continued to plague the east of the country.

Dozens of armed groups are active in eastern DRC, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.

Monusco’s current 14,000-strong peacekeeping force is deeply unpopular due to perceptions that it has done little to stop violence.

The Congolese government has requested Monusco’s “accelerated” departure.

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