As United Nations troops come under fire, the European Union looks poised to send another peacekeeping force to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The EU may be ready to send another force to the troubled eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, amid renewed unrest in the region. Last week fighting broke out in Bukavu, on the Congolese-Rwandan border, with rebels seizing the town from U.N. and government control. Across the country, people protested against the U.N.'s inability to defend the town and protect its residents. On Sunday, the organization announced it would be evacuating all non-essential staff in the country after two South African U.N. peacekeepers were killed. Unable to stop what it describes as "atrocities and human rights violations," the U.N. says their resources are limited and expectations of what they can do should not be too high.
During a visit to Kinshasa, Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel indicated that the EU may be ready to step in. EU governments are "in agreement on the principle of deployment" he said. EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss the matter on Monday when they meet in Luxembourg. Last year, the EU sent a contingent of 1,100 troops to the town of Bunia, some 400 kilometers north of Bukavu. The two regions have been embroiled in bitter fighting which often involves foreign troops or militia backed by neighboring countries such as Rwanda. (EUobserver.com)