UN says peacekeeping mandate in Congo "impossible to achieve"

Other News Materials 7 November 2008 22:00 (UTC +04:00)

While United Nations peacekeepers are accused of failing their duties in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN General Assembly president said Friday the conflict there has reached an unprecedented scale in brutality against women and girls, dpa reported.

"This makes MONUC's mandate impossible to achieve," said Miguel d'Escoto, president of the 192-nation assembly, referring to the UN Mission in Congo known as MONUC, composed of about 17,000 military troops, or one peacekeeper for every 10,000 Congolese.

"As I speak, our peacekeeping operation in Congo is in crisis," he said.

"This glaring example serves to remind us that despite our best intentions, the bitter reality of the conflicts in many countries dwarf the ability of peacekeepers to fulfil their mandates," Miguel d'Escoto said in an address to the assembly on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of UN peacekeeping operations.

There are currently about 20 such UN operations around the world, with about 110,000 personnel contributed by UN members. Miguel d'Escoto said the annual peacekeeping budget stood at 5.6 billion dollars, or 0.5 per cent of global military spending.

"This asymmetry dooms our best intentions," he said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon attended a summit meeting of African Union leaders in Nairobi Friday. Congo's President Laurent Kabila used the occasion to lash out at MONUC for failing to protect civilians from fighting in the country's eastern parts.