Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
December 19, 2023
Thank you, Mr. President. Let me also welcome the representative of the DRC to this meeting.
Mr. President, the United States is proud to have voted in favor of this resolution, which clearly responds to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s request to change the status quo, while maintaining the mission’s core responsibility to protect civilians amidst its gradual, responsible, and sustainable withdrawal.
The United States also appreciates that the Council responded quickly and favorably to the DRC government’s formal request for MONUSCO to provide logistical support to national elections in North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, and other provinces.
We now look to the DRC government to ensure that all Congolese are able to safely and meaningfully participate in elections, regardless of political affiliation and without fear of violence or reprisal. It is incumbent on Congolese institutions to fulfill their constitutional mandates with the independence and integrity that the Congolese people expect and deserve.
But Colleagues, we know that democracy does not end at the ballot box. In fact, it is what comes next that truly matters. While we supported the Council’s efforts to extend the UN’s electoral assistance to the DRC, we also underscore our call on all political actors and segments of society to respect the will of the people and engage actively, constructively, and peacefully, regardless of the election’s result.
The coming days and months mark a pivotal moment for the DRC and MONUSCO. Members of this Council will be watching very closely as the DRC government looks to assume full responsibility for the protection of its civilians, as MONUSCO draws down. By working together, the DRC and MONUSCO can bring more than two decades of peacekeeping to a dignified and sustainable close, ushering in a new chapter of peace and prosperity for the country and its people.
The United States commends SRSG Keita and her team for continuing to implement MONUSCO’s mandate in the face of great challenges. And we look forward to continuing our strong support to the mission over the coming year.
Thank you, Mr. President.