Conflict & Justice

Congo crisis spotlights U.N. weaknesses

For years the EU has been promising a rapid reaction force for such a crisis�standing troops able to deploy quickly to save lives. This Human Rights Watch official says these forces are standing by at the moment. The U.N. Security Council voted last month to send an additional 3,000 troops to Congo but it will take months to get them there, so the U.N. Secretary General has asked Europe to step in with a temporary force to fill the gap. Advocates of an EU force is looking to the U.K. to take the lead because it has the most military capacity but so far the British have shown no interest. The British Foreign Minister said people should focus on strengthening the U.N. force. But his critics say that's an excuse that fails to address the fact that there's an urgent need for an interim force now while the UN gets its act together. This analyst says the British military is worried about an overstretch because of their commitments in Iraq and other places, but also worries over the financial crisis. He thinks Europe will be sorry if it doesn't act now and see this is a moral failure. This peacekeeping expert says resources are necessary to provide civilian protection and for the EU to deploy military forces to protect towns so UN peacekeepers cans protect civilians in the outlying areas. There's a danger in focusing on too much on peacekeeping says this analyst, who says peacekeeping is a tool and not a strategy. He says diplomatic solutions. Meanwhile this analyst says Congo is on the brink of full scale war.

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