Uruguay's President Luis Lacalle Pou has announced Thursday he would be spending Christmas in Congo, on an official visit to members of his country's Armed Forces stationed there on a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
Lacalle will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the occasion, due to which he is undergoing the vaccination scheme necessary to travel there, which goes far beyond COVID-19.
Some 203 Army and Air Force troops are deployed in Congo as part of the UN's mission. Lacalle will depart Dec. 23 together with Defense Minister Javier García. Lacalle's exact return date is yet to be announced.
Lieutenant General Marcos de Sa Affonso Da Costa, commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission Force in the Congo (Monusco), had praised on Oct. 15 this year the actions of the Uruguay Battalion in the Komanda area facing illegal armed groups.
The military chief spoke of an exceptional courage and conduct on the part of the Uruguayan troops, as he admitted, “great progress [had] been made towards the stabilization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the search for a lasting peace, within the framework of the Monusco, one of the largest and most complex peacekeeping UN missions.”
According to the general, “these advances would not have been achieved without the invaluable contribution of the Uruguay Battalion to fulfil its mandate, especially in the Komanda area, Ituri province. In this red zone of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on September 26, the Uruguay Battalion confronted illegal armed groups that terrorize the Congolese population,” he explained.
The action of the Uruguayan Battalion in Komanda was presented to the Board of Honor of the Monusco Force and they received the Certificate of Recognition for acting in compliance with the rules of engagement that correspond to the Protection of Civilians mandate, intending to seek preservation and security from local villages.
The conduct of the troops is commendable and speaks of the professionalism and commitment of the Uruguayan Army to the high standards of conduct and discipline of the UN, said the military officer.