PARIS Nov 20 French Foreign Minister Laurent
Fabius on Tuesday urged a review of the United Nations'
peacekeeping mandate in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after
rebels widely believed to be backed by Rwanda seized the eastern
city of Goma.
Fabius said it was "absurd" that a few hundred rebels had
been able to parade past a U.N.-mandated peacekeeping force
(MONUSCO), which gave up the battle for the frontier city of one
"MONUSCO is 17,000 soldiers, but sadly it was not in a
position to prevent what happened. It is necessary that the
MONUSCO mandate is reviewed," Fabius told reporters.
Fighters from the M23 rebel group entered Goma on Tuesday
after days of clashes with U.N.-backed Congolese soldiers that
have forced tens of thousands of residents to flee the area.
A U.N. source told Reuters that international peacekeepers
gave up defending Goma after the Congolese troops left, allowing
rebels to enter the city.
Fabius said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's chief of
staff would be travelling to the region in the coming days to
see what could be done about the situation.
The U.N. mission has some 17,600 troops but the force is
stretched thinly across a nation the size of Western Europe and
has struggled to fulfill its mandate of protecting civilians.
Congo has already called for the mandate to be extended, to
cover monitoring and protecting of the border with Rwanda, as
well as eradicating rebel forces.