November 12, 2008

U.N. Won’t Send More Troops to Congo

The United Nations won't send any more peacekeeping troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the near term, officials said.

The U.N. Security Council failed to reach an agreement on the Congo situation Tuesday despite a plea from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to send 3,000 more troops there, The Times of London reported.

Ban has urged the Congolese government and Tutsi rebels led by Gen. Laurant Nkunda to uphold a cease-fire to allow aid workers to reach an estimated 100,000 refugees trapped behind rebel lines in the country's North Kivu region. Ban also said he was "very concerned by reports of targeted killings of civilians, looting and rape," The Times reported.

Alain Le Roy, the head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, said he was hopeful the Security Council would reach a different conclusion later this month. But John Sawers, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, was more cautious, telling the newspaper, "There isn't a bottomless pit of peacekeepers, so we do need to make absolutely sure we're making the best possible use of the troops that already exist in the largest peacekeeping force in the world."

Ban said he will submit a report on Congo to the Security Council next week.