|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
U.N. votes to expand Congo military observers
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to more than double the number of military observers in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a gesture of support for the fragile peace process there.
The resolution endorsed a recommendation by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to increase the number of observers from about 200 to 500.
In the French-sponsored resolution, the council extended the mandate of the U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) for another six months.
Last February, the council authorized a 5,537-member force of observers and infantry troops to monitor the Lusaka cease-fire agreement signed in 1999 by the warring parties in Congo.
Rival rebel groups, supported by Rwanda and Uganda, have been fighting to overthrow Congolese President Laurent Kabila's government for two years. Kabila's army is backed by troops from Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia.
However, the United Nations has been unable to deploy the full mission due to recurrent fighting and inadequate security guarantees from the Kabila government.
In a report issued last week, Annan said he was prepared to recommend the deployment of infantry units to back up the observers.
Thursday's resolution indicated the council's willingness to dispatch infantry units along the Congolese border with Rwanda, as soon as Annan "considers that conditions will allow it."
The resolution also recommended another summit meeting of the signatories to the Lusaka agreement and the Security Council at the United Nations next February.
Unlike U.N. peacekeepers, the military observers are only lightly armed, and are not mandated to engage in combat. They regularly report on the military situation to Annan, who in turn updates the Security Council.
African defense chiefs sign deal on Congo withdrawal
U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.