The United Nations Security Council has formally agreed to a proposal to fund the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Speaking during a press interview after a meeting with the Security Council during the 78ths session of the UN General Assembly in New York, EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki said the deal will be finalized soon after the Monusco finally withdraw from the DRC by December this year.
The EACRF is currently funded by the EAC partner states.
“What has happened is that the UN Security Council is very keen and appreciative of the role of the EAC in supporting the security of the eastern DRC,” said Dr Mathuki.
“They have agreed to work a mechanism that will support our troops in DRC, and they said as Monusco closes down, reduces their numbers in DRC, they will wish to strengthen the EACRF.”
Dr Mathuki said he had asked the Security County that as they prepare to scale down Monusco, they can help fund the EACRF which is currently made up of more than 4,000 troops drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan.
“We have proposed funding the EACRF, and the UN Security Council said they are meeting in December which we will be able to determine how much they can draw down from Monusco and how much they will be able to get to fund the EACRF,” said Dr Mathuki.
The seven partner states of the EAC agreed in April this year to set up a regional military force to try to end decades of bloodshed caused by militant activity in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Unrest in Congo has caused one of the world’s worst and longest-running humanitarian emergencies, with more than 27 million people facing food shortages, and nearly 5.5 million forced to flee their homes, according to the UN.
DRC President Felix Tshisekedi told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that Monusco’s withdrawal was crucial to ending the conflict between the Congolese people and the mission.
“The acceleration of the withdrawal of the Monusco becomes an imperative necessity to ease tensions between the latter and our fellow citizens,” he said.
“The peacekeeping missions deployed, in one form or another for 25 years, have failed to tackle the rebellions and armed conflicts which are tearing the Republic apart.”
In 2010, a UN peacekeeping force known as Monusco replaced an earlier operation called Monuc, which was established in 1999 to help bring peace and stability to the DRC.
But despite the billions of dollars spent on one of the United Nation’s largest peacekeeping forces, more than 120 rebel groups continue to operate across large swathes of East Congo almost two decades after the official end of the country’s civil wars.