UN maintains peacekeeping force in Congo another year
The UN Security Council decided Monday to keep its large peacekeeping operation another year in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the main task of protecting civilians and improving security in the eastern part of the country, dpa reported.
The UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) is composed of more than 22,000 personnel, including 19,815 military troops, one of the largest UN peacekeeping forces in the world.
But MONUC is still dwarfed by the geographical size of Congo and the conflicts there. Its new mandate expires December 31, 2009.
The council asked MONUC to "attach the highest priority to addressing the crisis in the Kivus, in particular the protection of civilians, and to concentrate progressively during the coming year its action in the eastern part" of Congo.
Other tasks given to MONUC include disarmament, demobilization and monitoring of resources of foreign and Congolese armed forces, and training of government forces in support of the rebuilding of Congo's security.