UNITED NATIONS - Bowing to pressure from Congo's president, the United Nations will withdraw up to 2,000 peacekeeping troops and redefine the remaining force as a "stabilization" mission in his nation to coincide with its 50th anniversary of independence.

The operational and cosmetic changes agreed to by the Security Council in a unanimous vote Friday result from President Joseph Kabila's push to assert himself ahead of elections next year and his government's argument that the U.N. mission has failed to protect civilians.

As such, the United Nations' biggest peacekeeping mission, known as MONUC, is set to shed up to 2,000 peacekeepers before Congo celebrates its independence June 30.

Technically speaking, the council reauthorized MONUC's mission only until that date.

The next day, it is to become known as the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission, or MONUSCO, allowing both the United Nations and Kabila's government to emphasize that both have entered a new phase of operations.

"He wanted the international community to acknowledge they have entered a new phase," the U.N. peacekeeping chief, Alain Le Roy, told reporters Friday. "We acknowledge that the situation has improved," he added, though it remains extremely fragile and unsettled in eastern Congo and "we are not able to protect every single citizen."

The new mission's mandate is authorized until June 30, 2011, with up to 19,815 military personnel, 760 military observers, 391 police personnel, and 1,050 personnel of formed police units.

But the 15-nation Security Council put off a harder decision - what to do about Kabila's request that all 20,000 peacekeepers depart before his reelection vote next year. That will be done as part of a joint assessment by U.N. and Congolese officials, Le Roy said.

"We remain at a very high level [of numbers of peacekeeping forces] in the East," he said. "The mission has still the mandate to protect civilians."

Congo's information minister, Lambert Mande, said Friday that his government had no objection to the council's compromise action.