Conflict & Justice

Call for more peacekeepers in Congo

This former USAID official is worried about the newly displaced in Eastern Congo and especially those cut off from relief, thought to be as many as 250,000 people. He says civilians caught in the conflict also face epidemic levels of sexual violence and the failure to protect them is agonizing to witness. He says the most urgent requirement is to send more peacekeeping troops to protect civilians and stabilize the situation. The U.N. Security Council is considering such a request but the USAID official says the U.N. needs to expedite the request. The Security Council is not expected to act until at least early next week. The Bush administration is engaged in the issue and it sent its top diplomat to Africa for a meeting last week. But this Africa analyst says the U.S. has done too little, too late. It's an awkward time though with the presidential transition and the global economic crisis dwarfing almost all other concerns right now. At the least, advocates are hoping Obama will ramp up efforts in Africa. The analyst hopes Obama will launch a truly multilateral effort.

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