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Wednesday, 9 February, 2000, 11:45 GMT
US backs UN force for Congo

Bloodshed continues despite the ceasefire

The United States has thrown its weight behind a 5,500 strong United Nations peace monitoring force for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We must be resolute in our determination to help Congo move from war to peace
Madeleine Albright
US President Bill Clinton's administration has tabled a resolution at the United Nations in support of the force proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The aim of the force, which would comprise 500 military observers backed by a 5,000-strong protection unit, is to mediate between the warring factions in Congo - not to get directly involved in peacekeeping.

Proposed UN force
500 military observers
5,000 UN troops
infantry battalions
two marine companies with boats
medical units
communications units
aviation units
However, the US resolution says the UN troops should not be deployed until warring parties give "firm and credible assurances" to ensure their safety.

The US ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke, is due in Washington to explain the resolution to Congress, which has to approve the funding of any US involvement in foreign peacekeeping operations.

No US troops

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says she expects Washington to pay about $42m, approximately 25%, towards the costs but has ruled out any involvement by US troops.

The US move follows talks between seven key African leaders, including President Laurent Kabila, at the UN in New York last month.

What UN troops will do
monitor cease-fire
investigate violations
verify disengagement of forces
facilitate release of prisoners
supervise redeployment of forces
help with humanitarian operations
Critics of the proposed force say it is too small to have any impact in such a large country.

The Congolese war has involved troops from Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia in support of the President Kabila 's governemnt against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda.

Fighting has continued despite a peace accord signed in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 1999.

The UN already has 80 military liaison officers monitoring the situation, but the Security Council has been delaying approval of any further deployment until it is convinced the ceasefire is holding.

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See also:
24 Jan 00 |  Africa
Security Council debates Congo conflict
28 Jan 00 |  Africa
Mandela: Congo needs UN peacekeepers
08 Jul 99 |  Africa
Congo peace plan: the main points
28 Jan 00 |  Africa
Video shows Congo massacre
23 Jun 99 |  Africa
DR Congo: What price peace?
10 Jul 99 |  Africa
Analysis: Premature euphoria in Congo
14 Jul 99 |  Africa
Kabila grants rebel amnesty
02 Aug 99 |  Africa
Congo rebels sign truce

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