In Africa, a vanguard of French soldiers arrived in the democratic republic of congo friday, the first step in bringing stability to the Ituri region.

An advance team of French troops has arrived in Democratic Republic of Congo in the first deployment of a multi-national peacekeeping force intended to stop ethnic unrest in the troubled Ituri region. The first objective is to secure the airport in the town of Boon-Nya, ahead of the planned arrival of a force of about 1,400 troops.

"In two or three days we will have enough men on the ground to help us prepare the technicality and security that will allow the deployment of the bulk of the force in the coming days."

The UN estimates more than 500 people - many of them civilians - have been killed in inter-ethnic fighting since early May.

Fighting has blocked aid workers from reaching between four and five million people who need humanitarian aid.