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The blue helmets asked will never come

February 4, 2009

Source: United Nations Security Council

Date: 27 Jan 2009

Letter dated 27 January 2009 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2009/52)

I have the honour to refer to the additional capacities for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) which the Security Council authorized by its resolution 1843 (2008 ) of 20 November 2008 and which it recalled in its resolution 1856 (2008 ) of 22 December 2008.

I regret to inform you that, despite the Organization’s considerable efforts to generate the additional resources required, in particular through consultations in New York and in a number of capitals, troop-contributing countries have not been as receptive as we had hoped. In all, 49 troop contributors and 12 potential troop contributors have been asked to provide the Mission with the additional troops and resources authorized. The need for robust and highly mobile troops was particularly emphasized. Four countries that are contributing police personnel have also been approached.

The United Nations accepted an official proposal from Bangladesh to provide one infantry battalion, one engineer company and one formed police unit, as well as a proposal from Belgium to provide a C-130 aircraft to the Mission. In addition, five Member States have agreed to send the required intelligence experts to MONUC, albeit without providing the necessary equipment.

Four Member States have expressed interest in providing the second authorized battalion, while two others might provide the two special forces companies. Another Member State indicated that it might be able to provide the second formed police unit. Finally, I received a letter from the Economic Community of Central African States indicating that its member countries were willing to provide certain capacities to the Mission. The Secretariat will continue to assess the expressions of interest that most closely match the Mission’s resource requirements. While these expressions of interest are positive, I nevertheless have some concerns to communicate to the Security Council. More than two months after the adoption of resolution 1843 (2008), no formal offers have been made in response to these requests. I am especially concerned about the lack of formal offers of special forces companies.

Equally worrisome is the fact that there have been no commitments or expressions of interest regarding the remaining air assets (one C-130 and 18 utility helicopters) or the deployment of the 200 military training instructors/advisers needed. These resources are essential for the Mission’s mobility and rapid reaction capacity, which are vital if it is to fulfil the mandate set out by the Security Council.

Given the need to deploy the additional resources authorized for MONUC as soon as possible, I would like to renew my appeal to those troop- and policecontributing countries that have the necessary capacities to enable the Mission to discharge its mandate effectively, pursuant to resolution 1856 (2008). I will keep the Security Council regularly informed of the efforts made in this regard.

In the meantime, any efforts by the Security Council to encourage troopcontributing countries to provide the Mission with the necessary resources would be greatly appreciated.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. donthelibertariandemocrat permalink
    February 5, 2009 10:21 pm

    You know, these blue helmets aren’t exactly getting a lot of good press. They’re either accused of aiding one side or doing nothing. It would help if we could get an idea of what and how well they’re doing in North Kivu. MONUC seems impotent from the outside.

    • Blog admin permalink*
      February 6, 2009 3:27 pm

      Hi Don,

      They actually are doing very little, in spite of the cost of the mission (1 billion dollars per year). The people in Goma do not like them. They feel that the blue helmets do not do enough to protect them. In too many occasions (Kiwanja was one of the last ones) civilians were killed and the blue helmets did not intervene. If you are interested, this is one of the best reports I´ve found about the UN mission in the DRC (in French, sorry:

  2. jaquespierre permalink
    February 6, 2009 1:48 pm

    How are the conditions in the RDC? Is it as bad and as dangerous as it seems?

  3. jeanfrancois90 permalink
    February 9, 2009 1:27 am

    This is a very interesting topic. I am in a french class that is studying Africa, and the Congo and the RDC specifically. I would love to hear more about this. You can contact me at

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