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Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 01:31 GMT 02:31 UK
UN faces risks in DR Congo
Hoolbroke and President Kabila
The delegation led by Mr Holbrooke met President Laurent Kabila
By UN correspondent Mark Devenport

A UN Security Council delegation has acknowledged that any UN soldiers and observers deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo are bound to face risks.

But an advance copy of the delegation's report obtained by the BBC argues that the desperation of the Congolese people demands an international response.

The UN delegation's trip to the DR Congo has been overshadowed by the abduction of hundreds of UN peacekeepers by rebels in Sierra Leone.

In its draft report, the delegation, led by the US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, describes itself as acutely conscious of the current circumstances of African peacekeeping.

Goodwill of warriors

The report says the 5,000 strong UN force will not be able to exercise any consistent military control of ceasefire violations.
rebels
A patchy ceasefire has left the UN wary of committing troops

It added that their deployment will, as was the case in Sierra Leone, depend on the goodwill of the warring parties.

The delegation avoids making any direct recommendation about the timing of the deployment of a force to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It argues that before UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan makes "a difficult decision", he should talk once again to the leaders who signed the Lusaka peace accord.

The delegation is still in Africa, where it is urging the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea not to resume hostilities in their border war.

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See also:

08 May 00 | Africa
Congo town pull out agreed
24 Feb 00 | Africa
Congolese face the future
18 Feb 00 | Africa
Congo's war within a war
24 Feb 00 | Africa
UN approves Congo force
05 May 00 | Africa
UN failing in Africa
09 Apr 00 | Africa
DR Congo ceasefire agreed
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