Timetable Set for Troop Pullback, Mission of U.N. Observers in Congo

From Associated Press

Taking advantage of new momentum in Congo’s peace process, the Security Council set a new timetable Thursday for the warring sides to pull back troops and for U.N. observers to verify their departure.

Diplomats and U.N. officials hailed the resolution as a breakthrough in the drawn-out Congolese conflict, which has engulfed six African nations. But they acknowledged that it marked only one step toward ending the 2-year-old war.

“It depends on the will of the parties at the end of the day,” said acting U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham. “Nobody can impose peace on Congo or on the region.”


In a unanimously adopted resolution negotiated with the fighting factions, the council set March 15 as the starting date for the forces to begin a nine-mile pullback to defensive positions that will be overseen by U.N. military observers.

By May 15, the warring sides must prepare a plan for their complete withdrawal from the country that could be presented to a delegation of Security Council ambassadors visiting the region.

Ambassadors warned in the resolution that they will consider sanctions against any side that fails to comply.