Congo boycotts pledging conference, says crisis exaggerated

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

U.N. and European Union officials are hosting the first high-level intergovernmental pledge drive to drum up more humanitarian aid for Congo, but the Central African country's government is boycotting it.

Spokesman Jens Laerke with the U.N.'s Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs says it is "unfortunate" that President Joseph Kabila's government "did not want to participate."

Congo's government has objected to the pledging conference, saying it hurts the country's image and calling the crisis exaggerated. Its officials have downplayed the extent of the widespread hunger and displacement there.

Friday's conference aims to raise funds toward a $1.7 billion U.N. appeal this year to help 10.5 million people in Congo. The U.N. says $209 million has come in toward that goal so far this year.