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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Germany set for DR Congo mission
German soldiers boarding a plane
The German troops will be part of a larger EU contingent
The German parliament has given the go-ahead for up to 780 soldiers to be sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of elections in July.

The troops will be part of a 2,000-strong European Union peacekeeping mission.

The government, which has a majority in the Bundestag, said the mission was crucial for the stability of Africa.

German media and opposition politicians have raised strong misgivings about the deployment plan.

But German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told MPs recently that only stabilising DR Congo could prevent the region sinking into a new phase of violence.

The country's legislative and presidential elections will be the first since independence in 1960 and come after five years of civil war that claimed three million lives.

Mr Steinmeier warned that if elections failed, there would be a new stream of refugees.

The plan to send the German troops was approved by 440 votes to 135 in the Bundestag, with six abstentions.

German troops have served in several United Nations and EU peacekeeping missions, notably in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo.


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