The United Nations (UN) Departments of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Field Support (DFS) met with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at the UN Headquarters in New York on 14 February 2018, to discuss on ways that will ensure continued support to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB).- MONUSCO, through the SADC FIB, continues to conduct offensive operations against negative forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly in the eastern territory-.
The Under Secretary General (USG) DPKO, acknowledged the importance of SADC as a strategic regional partner of the UN in the on-going political and peace efforts aimed at the stabilization of the DRC. Mr. Lacroix also expressed the UN’s readiness to continue engaging with SADC, and to ensure synergy in, including inthe neutralization of negative forces. He underscored the common and collective objective with SADC to ensure that the DRC political and security situations are normalized.
On behalf of SADC Double Troika plus FIB Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), LtGen Barney Muntu Hlashwayo, Chief of Joint Operations of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), reaffirmed the region’s commitment in beefing up the security situation in the DRC, ahead of the elections set up for 2018. He emphasized that the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) needs to be geared towards enabling the FIB in keeping its operational capability intact, in order to effectively deal with the Negative Forces, taking into consideration the asymmetrical nature of warfare coupled with terrorist tactics waged by the ADF, in particular.
The meeting was a follow-up engagement to a previous meeting between the UN and the SADC and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), held in New York on 10 July 2017, on matters concerning the operational capability and efficiency of the FIB.
Among others, the meeting agreed to form a Joint UN-SADC Task Force that will work out the various facets related to strengthening the Brigade, including additional operational capabilities and enablers to ensure the neutralization of negative forces in the DRC. The UN and SADC also agreed to meet in six months from the date of the meeting to determine and consider progress made in addressing the issues concerning the FIB.
SADC Member States participating in the meeting were Angola (which is also the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, DRC, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa (also the Chairperson of SADC, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia. SADC Member States were supported by the SADC Secretariat
The UN was represented by Under-Secretary-General (USG) for the DPKO, the USG for DFS and, the Deputy Military Advisor for DPKO.