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UN distances self from Congo report

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Click for Prime Minister’s Statement on Uganda’s Stand and Response on Allegations by the UN

A day after Uganda threatened to withdraw from all peace keeping missions in the region if UN considers the experts report on Democratic Republic of Congo crisis, the world body has distanced itself from the document.

The UN says the views expressed by the experts “do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations.”

“Uganda, as an important troop-contributing country, is playing a significant role in the maintenance of peace and security in several countries, particularly in Somalia,” said Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, who is also India’s Permanent representative on the Council.

He added: “Views expressed by the independent experts do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations.”

Ambassador Puri made the comments on November, 1, while receiving Uganda’s protest letter to the UN over the experts report that implicated Uganda as aiding the M23 rebels in Eastern Congo.

Ugandan troops make up roughly a third of the 17,000-strong African Union mission in Somalia (Amisom) that has recently been instrumental in wresting a series of strategic strongholds from al Qaeda-linked Islamist Shebab rebel.

Ugandan prime minister Amama Mbabazi told Parliament on Thursday that a decision had been made to withdraw the troops from Amisom, local independent newspaper the Daily Monitor reported Friday, but Kiyingi said that no firm choice had yet been made.

Uganda has denied accusations from a UN panel of experts that senior officials have provided assistance to the M23 rebel groups in eastern DRC.

The confidential report said that Ugandan officials gave support “in the form of direct troop reinforcements in DRC territory, weapons deliveries, technical assistance, joint planning, political advice and facilitation of external relations.”

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been leading regional mediation efforts in the region in his position as chairman of the regional International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

Other than providing the bulk of AU’s peace keeping force in war ravaged Somalia, Uganda also contributes peacekeepers to missions in Darfur, Ivory Coast, Liberia and East Timor.

The M23 rebel fighters were incorporated into the DR Congo army in 2009 as part of a peace deal in the troubled, mineral-rich eastern region. They quit the army this year in a dispute over salaries and poor conditions.

Last month, Kampala dismissed threats of UN sanctions following the allegations of its support of the rebel group with the country’s foreign minister terming the threats as ‘mere talk.’

Uganda is chairing regional efforts by leaders of the Great Lakes region to try to end the chronic violence in eastern DRCongo and to deploy a neutral force there.

UN investigators accuse both Rwanda and Uganda, which border eastern DR Congo, of arming and supporting the rebels. Rwanda has repeatedly denied accusations that it backs the fighters.

The M23 rebel force is made up of former fighters in the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), an ethnic Tutsi rebel movement.

source: Monitor:



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