French and British officials say the European Union will send humanitarian aid to fleeing refugees but will need to consider further before deploying troops.
Bernard Kouchner said
An offensive by Tutsi rebels loyal to renegade General Laurent Nkunda, and subsequent killings and looting by Congolese army troops, have driven tens of thousands of civilians from their homes in North Kivu province on the border with
Although a ceasefire declared by Nkunda appears to be holding, foreign relief workers have described the humanitarian situation in
After meeting Congolese President Joseph Kabila in
"They've said it can certainly be done in humanitarian terms," he said. But he added the option of sending troops "must be studied".
The world's largest United Nations peacekeeping force, 17,000-strong, is deployed in
He said the EU would not "stand back and watch violence erupt".
Kouchner and Miliband will later travel from
CIVILIANS STAMPEDE FOR FOOD
At talks in
The United Nations, the EU and the
North Kivu's provincial capital of Goma, which Kouchner and Miliband were to visit later on Saturday, was calm, three days after Nkunda's fighters advanced almost to the city limits.
Foreign relief workers have restarted humanitarian operations around Goma, trying to help tens of thousands of starving, thirsty refugees who are seeking safety and help.
A Kibati, 20 km (12 miles) north of Goma, hundreds of refugees, including children, stampeded to obtain high-protein biscuits being distributed by U.N. children's agency UNICEF.
"Congo is the worst place in the world to be a child and it could become worse if there are disease outbreaks ... if security improves, humanitarian access improves, and we'll be able to put in responses to prevent these epidemics," UNICEF spokesperson Jaya Murthy told Reuters.
The United Nations said Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who is African Union chairman, and AU Commission chief Jean Ping had proposed in telephone talks with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that a regional summit should be held over the conflict.
Nkunda, who says he is fighting to defend the Tutsi minority in
An estimated one million people have been forced from their homes in
Date created : 2008-11-01