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UN calls on Congolese parties to renounce violence

Security Council calls on Congolese parties to 'completely' renounce violence

Forcefully condemning the recent escalation of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), members of the United Nations Security Council today called on all the parties in the area to fully commit to the political process and to "completely and decisively" renounce the military path.

In a statement to the press, Security Council President Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation said the members of the 15-nation body had been briefed on the situation in the DRC and expressed their deep concern over the latest developments in the eastern part of the country, particularly in the Kivus.

"They strongly condemned the recent escalation of fighting in the region, in particular the offensives by the RCD-Goma, which constitutes a serious violation of the ceasefire and poses a threat to the political process in the DRC," Ambassador Lavrov said. He added that the Council urged all the Congolese parties to overcome their differences peacefully and establish a transitional national government without further delay.

Calling on all the parties in the eastern DRC for an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities and complete withdrawal to the previously agreed positions, the Council members also urged the Congolese parties, including the DRC Government, to refrain from any new deployments or other provocative actions.

Ambassador Lavrov said Council members called on all the parties to commit fully to the political process and to renounce completely and decisively the military path. With that in mind, they urged all parties concerned to comply fully with the Lusaka agreement, the Kampala and Harare disengagement plans, the Pretoria and Luanda accords and the Acte d'Engagement for the cessation of hostilities in the eastern and northeastern DRC signed in Bujumbura on 19 June.

"Members of the Council urged all governments in the region to exercise a positive influence on the Congolese parties in support of the peace process," he said.

Also expressing their deep concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region, Council members strongly condemned human rights violations and reaffirmed that such acts would not remain unpunished. Ambassador Lavrov said they also reiterated their call on the parties to provide safe and unimpeded access for international humanitarian assistance.

The Council also condemned the recent abduction of two UN military observers, welcomed their release and demanded that all the parties abide fully by their obligation to provide full and unhindered access to the UN peacekeeping mission to allow it to carry out its mandate.

Meanwhile in the DRC, the official deadline for the withdrawal of Congolese Union of Patriots troops from war-torn Bunia ended yesterday at noon local time, with the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) reporting that the withdrawal was in progress.

Bunia has now been declared an "arms-free town" and it has become illegal to carry weapons of any type. The international emergency force deployed in the town had earlier issued an ultimatum banning all "visible armed presence" in Bunia, and following the expiration of yesterday's deadline for gunmen to leave, the force will confiscate weapons carried in the streets.

In Kinshasa, the 68 representatives of the political opposition to the Inter-Congolese Dialogue are scheduled to meet under the auspices of the International Committee for Support to the Transition and in the presence of the Follow-Up Commission.

The meeting will try to designate members from the committee who will form a part of the transition government. Their failure to take a decision on representatives has been one of the stumbling blocks for the formation of the transition government.


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