Congo's foreign minister says the government has set a goal of cutting the 20,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force in the country in half by the end of the year — a much more drastic cut than the 1,700-member reduction recommended by the U.N. secretary-general.

Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that the cut of 10,000 peacekeepers was ambitious but he said Congo hopes it can be done "without affecting security or stability."

The mandate for the Congo peacekeeping force expires later this month and it will be up to the U.N. Security Council to decide on any cuts.

The U.N. chief recommended a 1,700-member cut because of the fragile security situation in the country, but Tshibanda said Congo's much more drastic reduction can be achieved.