Johannesburg/Nairobi — On June 29, Maman Sidikou, head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo, received a cable from headquarters in New York in which his bosses laid out in no uncertain terms that the world’s largest peacekeeping mission had to make cuts, and fast. Facing an 8%, or $93m, budget cut for 2017-18, Sidikou was told to revise staffing, slash fuel costs by 10% and streamline aircraft use — all without compromising the mission’s mandate, according to the cable seen by Reuters. The mission in Congo, known as Monusco, must work out how to juggle those demands with the need to respond to a growing political and humanitarian crisis in the central African giant — and it is not alone. Belt-tightening at Monusco, which has about 18,000 uniformed personnel, is part of a broader push by the US, the biggest UN contributor, to cut costs. In June, the 193 UN member states agreed to a total $600m in cuts to more than a dozen missions for the year ending June 30...

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