Gaborone — Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) executive secretary has emphasised the need for the organisation to have a firm position and oppose tampering with Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in DRC.
Officially opening the SADC organ virtual troika summit on Wednesday, Dr Stergomela Lawrence-Tax said the UN had indicated its intention to undertake a reconfiguration of FIB by replacing some SADC troops with those from non-SADC member states.
That decision, she said, was not in line with the SADC common position.
SADC had consistently sated that FIB should not be tampered with, but rather be strengthened with dedicated enablers to enhance its combat capabilities, she said.
The executive secretary said the organisation had on a number of occasions presented its concern that inclusion of non-SADC troops had the potential of undermining FBI's operational effectiveness and unity of command.
Giving the background, she explained that the UN Security Council had adopted Resolution 2502 extending the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) for a period of one year until December 20.
The resolution followed the strategic review of the MONUSCO mandate that was conducted by a UN independent review team last October to which SADC submitted its common position, said Dr Lawrence-Tax
She said the impending changes had serious repercussions on SADC regional efforts to support the DRC government in stabilising the eastern part of the country through FIB.
The region, she said needed to move in cohesion as it found effective ways of implementing Resolution 2502.
She commended FIB troop contributing countries for their enormous sacrifices and unwavering commitment to peace, security and stability in the region.
"We pay tribute to troops personnel for their dedication and sacrifices made for our region. May we remain seized with developments in the region, and continue supporting each other, especially sister member states with specific needs," she said.
Dr Lawrence-Tax said SADC was committed to attaining sustainable peace and security in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The attainment of peace and security remained critical ingredients for sustainable development in the region, she pointed out.
Dr Lawrence-Tax also applauded SADC heads of state for the rigorous measures put in place that she said were yielding positive results in containing the spread of COVID-19 and cushioning member states' economies as well as lessening the impact of the pandemic on the people's wellbeing.
She noted that economies were operating under very difficult and challenging times in which socio-economic fabrics of countries and the region at large had been negatively impacted and brought under severe stress.
Source : BOPA