Europeans seeking ways to protect Congo aid

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Some European nations are pushing to send teams to Congo to help secure humanitarian aid until more U.N. peacekeepers can be deployed, French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert said Wednesday.

France, Belgium and Sweden are considering how to give Congo added help by arriving ahead of the Security Council's expected addition of 3,100 troops to augment its beleaguered peacekeeping mission, he said.

The teams presumably would be armed but there was no immediate word on that as the nations were still discussing the proposal and details haven't been worked out. But Ripert stressed that they would not be linked to the EU's rapid reaction military force.

He said they could possibly help secure areas around the provincial capital of Goma and roads needed to distribute food and other humanitarian aid.

In the past month, as rebel forces swept toward Goma, the U.N. held positions but could not protect all the civilians caught up in the fighting. That led to calls for reinforcing — reconfiguring the U.N.'s peacekeeping contingent.

Ripert said that once the council approves the additional peacekeeping troops "it will then be easier for the European Union to try to see what they can do on the purely humanitarian side," said Ripert, whose nation holds the EU presidency.

But getting more troops on the group could take months. Congo currently has the world's largest U.N. peacekeeping mission, with 17,000 troops.

The council is expected to approve a French-sponsored resolution on Thursday that would make good on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's request for the additional soldiers.

The fighting has displaced at least 250,000 people this year. With its troops spread thin in Congo's vast areas, U.N.'s peacekeeping mission has been criticized for not doing more to protect civilians.


Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
Procurement Consultant
Gsm:   (250) 08470205
Home: (250) 55104140
P.O. Box 3867
Kigali - RWANDA
Blog: http://cepgl.blogspot.com
Skype ID: kayisa66

No comments:

Post a Comment