Europe Demurs at Assisting Embattled Congo Peacekeeping Force

The Financial Times uncovers evidence that Congolese rebels loyal to Laurent Nkunda are deliberately trying to intimidate the UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo and hasten its departure.

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In a letter to the UN dated October 27, two days before his forces threatened to overrun the eastern city of Goma, Gen Nkunda warned he could not guarantee peacekeepers’ safety.

“In the current circumstances in which our forces are directly confronting the government coalition, we cannot be held…accountable for the security of Monuc forces present on the front,” according to the letter, which was made available to the Financial Times by another UN official who requested anonymity.

The letter followed a telephone threat by one of Gen Nkunda’s commanders to kill Indian peacekeeping troops if the force scrambled attack helicopters to support Congolese government forces.

Meanwhile, a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels earlier today reached a consensus of sorts that the EU would not send reinforcements anytime soon. It is “out of the question,” said the German Defense minister. The UK’s David Milliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner agreed. So much for a new Operation Artemis style mission. Despite the peacekeeping mission’s calls for reinforcements and international aid, nothing seems to be forthcoming. The situation continues to fester.

(Photo from Flickr.)

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