Kinshasa, June 20 : The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has initiated the process to withdraw from the country, a top official has confirmed.
The withdrawal is made “on the basis of the achievement of the minimum conditions of the most important milestones of the transition plan”, Xinhua news agency quoted MONUSCO chief Bintou Keita as saying at a joint press conference late Monday night with the Congolese Minister of Communication and Media Patrick Muyaya.
The exact timeline was not specified, added Keita, who is the UN secretary-general’s special representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to Muyaya, the Congolese government granted the request for the departure of MONUSCO, while stressing that the process must be done “in an organised, civilised and structured manner”.
“We cannot set a date, because there may be several unforeseen and imponderables,” he said.
The UN peacekeeping mission has been present in the country since 1999.
It is one of the largest and most expensive in the world, with an annual budget of around $1 billion.