The European Union has vowed to ease the growing humanitarian crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, but stopped short of committing EU troops to the battle-scarred region.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner are on a mission to gauge the situation first hand.
Miliband said: “There are 17,000 UN troops in the country at the moment. What we do need to do is make sure that those troops are redeployed in the regions that are under great stress, so the humanitarian aid can get in. But we also know that while Humanitarian aid depends on security, security depends on a proper political process.”
The two ministers met with DRC President Joseph Kabila before moving on to Goma, the scene of recent violence between rebel forces and government troops. The offensive by Tutsi rebels loyal to renegade General Laurent Nkunda, and killings and looting by Congolese troops, have created what aid agencies describe as a “catastrophic situation.”