SA vetoes UN plans for DRC force

2013-01-29 00:00

ADDIS ABABA — South Africa halted a plan by the United Nations to permit peacekeeping forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo to engage in the ongoing skirmishes.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, had hoped the African Union would approve a plan to enlarge the UN force in the DRC and change the mandate of the UN soldiers from that of a peacekeeping force to active soldiers who could shoot back when necessary.

However, SA’s Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, told the media in Addis Ababa the plan that Ban had submitted was not discussed with South Africa.

She said SA was in favour of a force that could intercede in the ongoing fighting, but wanted to ensure that such a force was controlled by internal role players.

SA is allied to the DRC, which is not happy with the plan proposed by Ban.

Mapisa-Nqakula said it would be better to create a local force from the ground up rather than import soldiers to force order on the population. She said people in the DRC should not feel that the plan was being forced onto them.

The DRC is reportedly not in favour of a force controlled by the UN and it is understood that Pretoria proposed for South Africa to control the force.

Mapisa-Nqakula said a retaliatory force should have a flexible command structure that would allow it to retaliate without having to wait for an order from a distant HQ permitting to defend itself.

“The orders have to come from the area where the conflict is taking place,”she said.

Because of SA’s protest, Ban yesterday had to cancel a media conference where the retaliatory force was to have been announced.

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