UN Seeks Surveillance Drones for Eastern Congo

Posted January 9th, 2013 at 2:10 am (UTC-5)
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United Nations peacekeepers are asking the Security Council to support the use of surveillance drones in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous appealed to the council in a closed-door session Tuesday, seeking the drones to help the more than 17,000 peacekeepers in the country.

Rebels briefly took control of the eastern city of Goma late last year after fighting with peacekeepers and the Congolese army.

Rwanda, which borders eastern Congo, raised concerns about the deployment of drones, saying the move would make the U.N. mission a “belligerent” force.

Security Council members including the United States, Britain and France support the plan. A spokesman for France's mission to the United Nations said on Twitter the U.N. force needs “modern assets, including drones, to be better informed and more reactive.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is preparing a report recommending ways to improve the U.N. mission in Congo, known as MONUSCO, which is the world body's largest peacekeeping force.

The U.N. mission began operating in the DRC in 1999 monitoring a cease-fire deal that followed a rebellion in which rebels seized large areas of the country. It continues under a mandate to protect civilians and humanitarian workers, and to support the government's peace and stabilization efforts.