UN Radio: Congo's Transitional Govt Sworn In
UN Radio: Members of DR Congo's Ttransitional Government Sworn In
Members of DR Congo's Ttransitional Government Sworn In
Members of a new transitional government, which will rule the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the next two years, have been sworn in in the capital Kinshasa. Under the new power-sharing agreement, President Joseph Kabila will be president of the new government until democratic elections are held in the year 2005. His four new vice-presidents include the leaders of two main rebel groups, Azarias Ruberwa of the Rwanda-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy RCD-Goma and Jean-Pierre Bemba of the Uganda-backed Movement for the Liberation of the Congo, MLC. A spokesman for MONUC - the UN Mission to the Congo - Hamadoun Toure says Congolese people are optimistic:
"We were very, very pleased this morning to see the four vice-presidents coming here, being sworn in and of course they have very high expectations. They are tired of the conflict. They want peace. They want jobs. They want health. They want education. And they deserve it."
MONUC has pledged to support every effort and initiative in favour of a successful transition leading to free, transparent and democratic elections.
UN Secretary-General Calls for Prompt Action to End Crisis in Burundi
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for urgent help for Burundi to bring to an end the latest attacks on the capital Bujumbura, by the main Hutu rebel group, the National Liberation Front, FNL. Mr. Annan described the situation in Burundi as difficult, and said the people of Burundi needed help:
"They have been promised help by a certain number of countries, which have indicated they would support individual African countries to deploy troops and that has not been forthcoming. I intend to get in touch with these countries and urge them to act and act promptly."
Mr. Annan said he had spoken with the recently-installed President of Burundi, Domitien Ndayizeye, who felt some measures should be taken to perhaps impose sanctions on the rebels, for not respecting the current peace agreement.
UNAIDS Optimistic about Funding for AIDS
Officials of UNAIDS, the UN body responsible for coordinating the global fight against HIV/AIDS, have expressed some optimism that funding needs could be met over the next few years, to help take effective action against the pandemic. At the just concluded international AIDS conference in Paris, scientists and activists complained about the failure of western governments to provide the necessary funds. A chief Scientific Adviser for UNAIDS, Cate Hankins, says they are on course to secure some ten billion US dollars needed over the next two years:
"We are actually at about 4.7 billion for this year. So if you think of it as being the glass half-full then we are half-way there and we're moving towards meeting the target. If you see it as the glass half-empty, we still need another five billion dollars."
It is estimated that some six million people suffering from HIV/AIDS worldwide are in urgent need of anti-retroviral drugs.
Secretary-General Calls on Myanmar Government to Release Detained Opposition Leader
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has voiced his concern about the safety and well-being of the Burmese pro-democarcy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Mr. Annan, who spoke on Wednesday after a meeting with the UN Special Envoy to Myanmar, Ismail Razali and Myanmar's Special Envoy to the UN Khin Maung Win, said the best way to build durable peace in Myanmar would be to release detainees, ensure political freedoms and engage in dialogue with the opposition:
"I would expect them to release Aung San Suu Kyi as soon as possible and that they are responsible for the protection and safety of Aung San Suu Kyi, and members of her party that they are holding in or outside prison, and also indicated that the best way to move forward is to resume dialogue."
UN Special Representative for Iraq Concludes Trips to Syria and Iran
The UN Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, has concluded visits to Syria and Iran. In Teheran, Mr. Vieira de Mello briefed Iranian President Khatami on the formation of the newly-created Governing Council in Iraq.