Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
December 20, 2022
Thank you, Madame President.
The United States voted in favor of this resolution so that MONUSCO can continue its laudable efforts to protect civilians, deliver humanitarian assistance, and support the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo on its path towards peace and stability. As the largest single-country financial contributor to the mission, our commitment to MONUSCO is undeniable.
Beyond this commitment, however, the United States voted in favor of this resolution because it clearly maintains human rights as a priority task for MONUSCO. Human rights monitoring and reporting are critical tasks for MONUSCO. This resolution will ensure MONUSCO can continue these important functions, especially as the DRC moves into a pivotal election period.
The United States is also pleased to see the mandate’s stronger focus on strategic communications and countering mis- and disinformation, vital functions MONUSCO and the DRC government should undertake jointly.
Crucially, this resolution also urges regional military actors and the East African Community Regional Force to coordinate and deconflict operations with MONUSCO. It also demands an end to state support for armed groups, including Rwanda’s support to M23. The United States urges all regional actors to heed this call.
And just as importantly, the United States applauds the mandate’s clear reiteration of MONUSCO’s obligation to protect Goma and other population centers from armed groups, either unliterally or in support of Congolese forces.
While we feel strongly that MONUSCO remains an important element of the DRC’s security infrastructure, we recognize it cannot remain in the DRC forever. As such, the United States appreciates this resolution’s candid acknowledgment of MONUSCO’s challenges. And we look forward to receiving options for further adapting the mission’s configuration.
But let me be clear: any further steps toward MONUSCO’s eventual drawdown should be agreed upon jointly by the UN and DRC officials, in liaison with civil society, and should avoid exposing vulnerable populations to further harm. A hasty withdrawal – or a withdrawal that is not linked to meaningful improvements in political and security conditions in the DRC – would only undermine the progress the DRC and MONUSCO have achieved together.
We applaud 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.