U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley did not mince words in her remarks about the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Council on Foreign Relations. "The UN peacekeeping mission is mandated to partner with the government," Haley said. "In other words the U.N. is aiding a government that is inflicting predatory behavior against its own people. We should have the decency and common sense to end this."
This was the first time in this writer's memory that the United States publicly called out the Congolese regime of Joseph Kabila for violence against its own people. It was expected that Haley would speak about her plans to assess current U.N. peacekeeping missions while "making the case that human rights fall within the Security Council's responsibility for maintaining international peace and security," according to the media advisory for the event.
The mandate for the $1.2 billion U.N. peacekeeping mission in DRC, known as MONUSCO, expires in two days. Haley will assume the rotating Presidency of the U.N. Security Council in April. Security Council negotiations about troop strength are taking place with a backdrop of increasing violence as President Joseph Kabila is refusing to step down as constitutionally mandated in the 2017 elections. The U.S. has indicated that it wants MONUSCO troops cut to 15,000, a drop of about 25 percent.
Besides the concerns about human rights violations, term limits and increasing violence, the cuts are tied to President Donald Trump's America First Budget, which calls for deep reductions in foreign aid. The Department of State budget includes The U.S. Mission to the U.N.