EU MILITARY OPERATION IN SUPPORT OF THE
UN MISSION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (7779/06)
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP,
Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
The next meeting of the General Affairs and
External Relations Council (GAERC) will be held on 10 April. It
is possible that at this meeting Foreign Ministers will agree
to a Council Decision concerning an EU military operation in support
of the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONUC) during the election
process. Agreement on this at the GAERC will depend on whether
the UN Security Council passes a resolution authorising the EU
force by then.
If the Council Decision on the mission is not
agreed at this GAERC it is likely that it will be agreed by written
procedure before Easter, as member states are keen to press ahead
with the planning for the mission. The EU force needs to be ready
to deploy in time for the June elections.
The UK Government supports the proposal for
this EU mission, which will comprise a small EU force based in
Kinshasa, with a larger "over-the-horizon" EU force
on stand-by outside the DRC, ready to deploy if the situation
requires. It agrees that planning should begin as soon as possible.
hope therefore that you will understand why
it is necessary to override scrutiny in this instance. Of course,
I will ensure that an Explanatory Memorandum is submitted on this
subject for the next sitting of the Scrutiny Committee.
5 April 2006
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP
to the Chairman
I wrote to you on 5 April to explain why it
was likely that scrutiny would not be possible before the Council
Decision on this mission. I also undertook to ensure that an Explanatory
Memorandum was submitted to the Committee for their consideration
as soon as possible. Please find this enclosed (not printed).
18 April 2006
Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Douglas
Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated
18 April 2006 which Sub-Committee C considered at its meeting
on 27 April. The Sub-Committee agreed to clear the document from
We note the urgent need to begin planning this
military mission as soon as the UN Security Council Resolution
was received and therefore accept that this was an appropriate
case for a scrutiny override.
The mission is intended to cover the election
period in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is due to terminate
four months after the date of the first round of elections. We
hope that if the mission proves successful, the EU will act swiftly
to seek an extension to the Joint Action in order that ongoing
support by the EU can be provided to MONUC.
Following commencement of the mission we would
also like to receive more detailed information on the national
composition of the EU troops deployed both within and outside
the DRC, and on the command and control structure between the
EU and MONUC. As the EU increases its capacity and willingness
to engage in military ESDP it is essential that the relationship
between the EU and other forces is both clear-cut and transparent.
Accordingly such information should be made available to Parliament
once the command and control structures have been agreed.
28 April 2006
Letter from Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP, Minister
for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
As you will be aware from Douglas Alexander's
letter and EM of 18 April the EU has been preparing for an EU
military mission under ESDP to support the UN peacekeeping mission
(MONUC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We now expect
the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) to
take a decision to authorise the launch of this operation at its
next meeting on 12 June, so that the deployment can take place
in advance of the DRC elections.
I attach an Explanatory Memorandum on the Joint
Action authorising the launch of the operation (not printed).
The document is still in a draft stage and is
being worked on in committees. I am sending this version to you
now to ensure that both your Committee and the Commons Committee
have sufficient time to clear the text. I will, of course, keep
you informed about any substantive changes to the Joint Action,
as well as details of the national composition of EU troops and
command and control structures, once they become clear.
17 May 2006
Letter from Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP to the
As you will be aware from Douglas Alexander's
letter and EM of 18 April and my subsequent letter and EM of 17
May, the EU has been preparing for an EU military mission under
the ESDP to support the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) in the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
I thought you might like to be aware that as
part of the preparations for this mission the EU is preparing
a Status of Forces Agreement with Gabon to cover the element of
the force which will be on stand-by there. This SOFA has been
drafted on the basis of the EU Model SOFA that your committee
scrutinised in March 2005 and follows standard language.
14 June 2006
Letter from Kim Howells MP, Minister of
State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
I am writing to inform your Committee of a Council
Decision to exchange letters between the Presidency and Switzerland
on the participation of Swiss doctors in EUFOR RD Congothe
EU military operation supporting the UN mission during the DRC
elections. This exchange is necessary because Switzerland was
not originally a contributing nation to the mission. We strongly
support the Swiss offer. It meets a much-needed operational requirement.
Given the operational nature of the Swiss offer
and the need to avoid delay, the Council Secretariat decided to
use a written procedure to approve the decision. The Secretariat
only issued the relevant documents for approval on 7 August. They
requested any objections to be made by 8 August, with a view to
exchanging letters by mid-August.
Given that your committee is not currently sitting
and the straightforward operational nature of this decision, I
have decided to agree to the Council decision without seeking
the Committee's views.
9 August 2006