Security Council to discuss withdrawal of blue helmets in DRC with "open mind," says French envoy

10:51, April 14, 2010      

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The United Nations Security Council will approach the reconfiguration of the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with an "open mind" during its four-day visit later this week, French Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud told reporters on Tuesday.

"The situation remains extremely fragile," said Araud, who noted the resurgence of sexual violence in the Central African country. "We have to do it right, rather than quickly."

At the request of DRC President Joseph Kabila, the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) is in the process of preparing a drawdown of troops. The near decade-old mission is working to restore order across the vast country, but tensions persist in the far east.

The 15-member Council, which leaves New York on Saturday for the country's capital, Kinshasa, will meet with Kabila, Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito, parliamentarians, UN agencies on the ground, MONUC and civil society, said Araud.

"The Council will go to the Congo with an open mind to open dialogue with authorities to assist them in the best way for the consolidation of its authority over all its territories," he said.

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