To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of the security situation in Equateur province of Western Congo; and if he will make a statement.
The Congolese Army (FARDC) have carried out operations in Equateur province against insurgents based in the south near Dongo. The UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) has supplied logistical support to the FARDC in this. MONUC assistance has been conditional. The insurgents are still active and have carried out attacks against FARDC in early January 2010. Our assessment is that despite recent successes of the FARDC in reclaiming villages from the insurgents this situation is not over yet. The area is unsafe and we continue to monitor the situation closely.
Difficult terrain and security concerns have prevented the humanitarian agencies getting access, although some are starting to deploy now, such as the World Food Programme. The UN humanitarian pooled fund is available to agencies which begin work there, last year DFID contributed £35 million to the pooled fund.