Congo mission must benefit population

9 June 2006

Congo mission must benefit population

The Dutch government wants to send around fifty soldiers to the Congo for a four month period to participate in a European Union mission to ensure good conduct in the presidential elections to be held on 30th July. In deciding whether to support the proposal, the SP will give priority to the interests of the Congolese people.

The Dutch military personnel will be attached to a German division based partly in Congo itself and partly in Gabon, the whole of which will be available for possible deployment in the Congo. In a long briefing to the Dutch Parliament, the government states that due to its geographical situation, enormous size and wealth of natural resources, the Congo occupies a key position in Central Africa: “This decision represents a new step in the development of a European foreign policy and a European military policy,” says SP foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel.

Harry van BommelThe SP stresses the need for a central authority in a stable Congo. “Nobody benefits from the fact that numerous rebel movements are attempting to lay claim to the country's natural resources. This wealth does not, however, belong in the hands of western corporations. These elections must become a step towards political stability, towards a situation in which this enormous wealth can be used for the benefit of the Congolese population itself. This is the SP's starting point for any decision on the government's proposal that the Netherlands participate in this mission.”

Such a decision will shortly be debated in the national parliament in The Hague. The parliament's approval is necessary before troops can be deployed.

You are here