As DRC government officials said they would not negotiate with rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, who has warned that he will "take down" the Congolese government if they refuse to talk, UN peacekeepers pledged to protect civilians in Goma.
Watch EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana talk about the escalating violence in the Congo of FRANCE 24's "The Talk of Paris".
UN peacekeepers will "do the maximum" to protect civilians in rebel-threatened Goma, UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy warned during a visit to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city Monday.
Le Roy said UN troops were continuing to reinforce their presence in the city, under siege from Tutsi rebels led by renegade general Laurent Nkunda that routed government forces elsewhere in Nord-Kivu province.
"It's our mandate to protect the civilians in Goma. We have already started, and we are continuing to reinforce our operation in Goma to protect civilians.
"I cannot say that it's a 100-percent guarantee, but in any case, we will do the maximum to protect the civilians of Goma," Le Roy said.
Le Roy, speaking to reporters during a visit to the city with UN mission chief Alan Doss, said the MONUC peacekeeping force's mandate was clear: "to stop armed forces from entering Goma."
The UN Under-Secretary General with responsibility for peacekeeping operations, Le Roy said he had come to Goma to examine with Doss "how we can reinforce MONUC operations, particularly in Nord Kivu where obviously violence has reached an unacceptable level and where there is a serious humanitarian crisis."
The UN force was working on "redeploying forces to where they are most useful and where the crisis is stronger at the moment."
"We have 5,000 troops already in Nord Kivu. But there are several fronts on which we have to leave forces. We know very well that we must also be in Sud-Kivu, and in Ituri, to fight the LRA (Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army) in the north."
"That makes at least four areas" in the DR Congo, a country around the size of western Europe."
Date created : 2008-11-03