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Democratic Republic Of The Congo

Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the proposed ESDP operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be flagged under the EU flag; whether armed forces personnel will wear EU insignia on their uniforms; and if he will make a statement. [119856]

The forces participating in the operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be under the political control and strategic direction of the EU Council of Ministers. This is exercised through the Political and Security Committee which is comprised of representatives of member states. We expect that personnel and equipment participating in the operation will carry some form of identifying EU insignia, as is the case for the EU-led operation in Macedonia. This follows the example of NATO operations where participating forces are expected to wear NATO insignia.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the (a) military criteria and (b) benchmarks for success for the ESDP operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [119857]

In response to a request from the UN Secretary General, the EU decided on 5 June to lead a multinational force to Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo under ESDP. UNSCR 1484 gives a limited and specific mandate which expires on 1 September 2003. The mandate authorises an Interim Multinational Force to:

Contribute to stabilising the town of Bunia and improving the humanitarian situation there;
Secure the airport, thereby facilitating the arrival of additional forces by the UN.
The military are tailoring an interim force to meet this short-term, focussed mandate. The success of the operation will be measured against the mandate.