EU set to send peacekeepers to Congo

The EU plans to send a 1,400-strong peacekeeping force to eastern Congo in June 2003 in what would be the union’s first military operation outside Europe and independently from NATO.

At least half the force would be French and the rest would come from a small group of EU nations, including Belgium, the former colonial power, and Canada and South Africa (see also EURACTIV22 May 2003).

"With Congo now top of our agenda, it will, to say the least, concentrate our minds and be a real test case for ESDP," the Financial Times quoted an EU diplomat as saying. "It will be EU-led, under a French command and within the framework of the United Nations. We could be ready to move by June 12."

The UN mandate will last until 1 September when it is expected that the EU mission will be replaced by Bangladeshi troops.


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