New York, Mar 10 2003 4:00PM - As
Ugandan troops and rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
continue to struggle for control over the town of Bunia, the United Nations
dispatched a mission to the area today in a bid to calm tensions and pave
the way for a ceasefire.
The first goal of the multidisciplinary team - drawn from the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) and headed by Vadim Perfiliev, Regional Director for the East - is to secure an agreement for the cessation of hostilities between the Union of the Congolese Patriots (UPC) and the Ugandan army.
Should conditions permit, the team will then proceed with the identification of the Ituri participants in the technical phase of meetings ahead of the establishment of an administrative body that will have the power to ensure the security of Bunia's population. The Ituri Pacification Commission, as the body is known, comprises representatives from the Governments of the DRC and Uganda, along with MONUC and other parties on the ground and will eventually aim to secure a total and definite withdrawal of Ugandan troops from the town.