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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:27, March 01, 2006
No need of EU troops in Congolese elections: South Africa
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South African defense minister said on Tuesday that there is no need of European troops during upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota told reporters in Pretoria that troops from the region could provide the necessary support.

The European Union's plans to send a security force to back UN peacekeepers during upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were unwarranted, the defense minister added.

He noted: "The EU might of course like to send a small contingent of observers. But those elections can be held without bringing troops from the rest of the world."

The South African minister was speaking after signing a military agreement with his Belgian counterpart Andre Flahaut, who said he believed the DRC had "the maturity to make a success of the election".

"It is improbable that it will be necessary to get troops from other parts of the world to secure the election. If necessary, the SADC (Southern African Development Community) brigade could provide the necessary backup," Lekota added.

The DRC is slowly making a UN-supervised transition towards democracy after a war in which about four million people have died since 1998 and 1.6 million others have been left homeless.

After the country's election timetable was put back, the first round of the presidential poll is scheduled for June 18.

Source: Xinhua

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