Peacekeepers in Congo will leave on schedule, says EU

BRUSSELS - The EU plans to pull its peacekeepers out of the Democratic Republic of Congo on schedule from the end of this month - despite heightened tension over the upcoming results of key elections.

BRUSSELS - The EU plans to pull its peacekeepers out of the Democratic Republic of Congo on schedule from the end of this month - despite heightened tension over the upcoming results of key elections.

"Our contribution was securing elections, which we have assured. I believe that we can finish our mission in time, and also successfully," said Franz Jung, Germany's defence minister.

Germany commands the 1200-strong EU force supporting UN peacekeepers in Kinshasa, providing about 780 troops.

Four people were killed in the Congolese capital at the weekend between supporters of President Joseph Kabila and his rival, former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, who fought a run-off presidential election late last month.

The clash increased fears that final election results could spark wider violence.

But EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said recent talks with both candidates convinced him "things are going in the right direction". - Sapa

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