HC Deb 02 July 2003 vol 408 c315W
Mr. Dhanda

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on(a) the number and (b) the role of British troops being deployed to Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo. [119556]

Mr. Ingram

The United Nations Security Council passed UNSCR 1484 on 30 May giving a limited and specific mandate for a Interim Multinational Force to help stabilise the situation in Bunia in north east Congo pending the deployment of additional forces by the UN. The mandate expires on 1 September 2003.

As I announced in the House on 12 June 2003, Official Report, column 849, the United Kingdom has currently offered a small contribution to the EU-led multinational force being deployed to Bunia. We have offered five staff officers for the Force Headquarters in theatre, a liaison officer to work with the UN, some Hercules transport aircraft to help deploy the multinational force and a small detachment of engineers. The role of the British element is to assist in providing staff and engineering support. However, the exact size of the element and its precise tasks will not be known until we have completed a detailed analysis of the engineering tasks to be undertaken in Bunia.