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Brussels, 5 December 2008

Commissioner Louis Michel praises progress of international mediation in resolving crisis in Eastern Congo

Commenting on the crisis, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel said: “I have spoken with the Secretary-General of the United Nations about the situation in North Kivu. Clearly, views still diverge quite considerably. Only a political and diplomatic solution such as the African mediation that Presidents Obsanjo and Mkapa are conducting with international facilitation support can bring sustainable results for stability and peace in North Kivu and the region as a whole. I am therefore pleased that an initial meeting between the Kinshasa Government and Laurent Nkunda’s National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) will be held next Monday in Nairobi and attended by the mediators. I am also delighted at the results of today’s meeting in Goma between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which focused on establishing normal diplomatic relations between the two countries, the joint fight against the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) and the revival of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL). This process is very positive and every available means should be used to encourage it.”

As regards the security situation, the Commissioner added: “The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) is still the only organised military force in the region. I have always supported the idea of improving the Mission’s capacity to protect civilians and, where necessary, humanitarian efforts by means of a stronger mandate and greater personnel numbers. I would encourage the European Union to contribute to achieving this in whichever way the Member States feel is most appropriate.”

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