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Press Releases, 12/9/2008

The EU expressed its concern over the situation in Congo

Press release 457/2008
8 December, 2008

Foreign Minister Stubb with his colleagues in Brussels on 8 December. Photo: Council of the European Union.The recent events in Congo were among the topics discussed at the meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, held by the EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday. Finland’s representatives at the meeting were Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and Minister of Migration and European Affairs Astrid Thors.

According to Foreign Minister Stubb, the Council held a discussion in principle based on the query of Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, as to whether it is possible to strengthen presence in Congo.

“It is largely a question of the EU’s credibility, if the Union wants to be a global actor in security and defence policy as well. If the EU combat forces are not used in Congo, where then would they be used,” Stubb said to Finnish journalists in Brussels.

No decisions were made in the matter. Stubb said that Member States want to commit themselves to operations of this type through the UN, and largely on a national basis.

The foreign ministers expressed their concern over the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the resulting humanitarian crisis. The human rights situation in eastern Congo is difficult. Finland considers that additional measures are needed to prevent the recruiting of child soldiers and the sexual abuse of women.

The parties to the conflict in Congo are urged to comply with the ceasefire agreement and with international rules concerning the delivery of humanitarian aid. The EU is prepared to continue seeking a political solution to the crisis, together with the UN, the African Union and the countries in the region.

The UN Security Council recently decided to strengthen the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUC) temporarily by about 3,000 people.

Additional information: Deputy European Correspondent Markku Lampinen, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 5330

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Updated 12/9/2008

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