The U.S expects Uganda to keep her peacekeeping forces in Somalia, although a threat to withdraw in protest at a U.N. report accusing Kampala of aiding rebels in eastern Congo, a senior State Department official said on Monday.
The Kampala administration said last week it would pull out of peacekeeping missions in Africa unless the UN amends the report accusing it of supporting M23 rebels in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
U.S. under secretary of state for political affairs, Wendy Sherman, who met Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last week, said Museveni had raised concerns about the U.N. report though she said she still expected him to keep peacekeeping troops in Somalia.
“I fully expect Museveni’s commitment to peace and security in the region that Uganda will continue to play the leadership role it has, both diplomatically and in terms of military security,” Sherman told reporters in Nairobi.
Diplomats on the 15-nation U.N. Security Council said they had reached similar conclusions after meetings with a Ugandan delegation to discuss the issue. All said that the Ugandans made clear they were unhappy with the report but did not bring mention their threats to withdraw troops from any missions.
“They complained about the report but didn’t say anything about ending participation in Somalia or elsewhere,” one diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Uganda’s troops account for more than a third of the 17,600 U.N.-mandated African peacekeepers battling al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Somalia, and their withdrawal could hand an advantage to the weakened al Shabaab rebels.
Supported by U.S. Special Forces, the soldiers are also leading the hunt for fugitive Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony in Central African Republic, with some stationed in South Sudan