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Guterres pledges to extend UN mission in DRC

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres vowed Sunday to extend the mission of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) in 2020 with “necessary modifications” in the face of armed groups.

“By improving the work of the UN mission, I am counting on the UN Security Council to extend the mission with the necessary modifications,” Guterres said after visiting the Ebola epidemic center in Mangina, near Beni in the east of the country.

“It is of course the decision of the Security Council, but I believe that MONUC has a very important role in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” he told reporters after his visit to fight the Ebola epidemic and to discuss the war against armed groups.

The mission will last until December 3. The United Nations has been present in the DRC for 20 years and has a force of 16,000, with a budget of more than $ 1 billion.

Guterres said there was a “strategic review” in place to improve “the mechanism of the mission to make it more useful to the Congolese people in all areas, both security and political.”

Authorities, the Congolese army and residents in the Beni area hope the UN force will be more involved in fighting the Ugandan rebels from the Alliance of Democratic Forces (FDD) accused of killing hundreds of civilians since 2014.

“We must express our solidarity with the increased cooperation between MONUC and the Congolese armed forces, which will be able to contain and, if possible, overcome the threat of terrorist acts by the FDLR,” Guterres said.

He also stressed the need to “do everything possible to paralyze local armed groups” in the Congo.

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