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Congo Decides To Disarm Militia Forcibly

Annan Welcomes DR Of Congo's Decision To Disarm Militia Forcibly

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomes a decision by the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Transitional Government to disarm a Rwandan rebel militia on DRC territory by force after it failed to honour its pledges to disarm and return home.

In his 18th report to the Security Council on the peacekeeping UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo MONUC), he also calls for the extension of state authority across the whole country so that the Government can collect the revenues needed to provide services to the Congolese people.

"It is most regrettable that the long-awaited declaration by FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) in Rome on 31 March has not resulted in concrete progress towards disarmament and the repatriation of combatants. I therefore welcome the commitment made on 16 July by the Transitional Government to take forcible action to disarm FDLR," he says.

MONUC had prepared six temporary assembly areas for voluntary FDLR disarmament, but FDLR chief Ignace Murwanashyaka left DRC in mid-May "without issuing orders to the combatants to enter the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and rehabilitation programme," he says.

On the question of public revenues, Mr. Annan says the Transitional Government must address illegal mining in eastern areas of DRC, install security at border crossing-points and re-integrate resource-rich Ituri into the nation.

"Without such decisive action, revenues will continue to be misappropriated by illegal actors, undermining the Transitional Government's credibility and endangering progress toward peace," he says.

Aided by donors, the Government must ensure that the armed forces of the DRC (FARDC) are paid and receive adequate logistical support for security operations, Mr. Annan says.

It is difficult to assess whether direct support to the militia groups in Ituri is being provided from neighbouring countries, he says. "Reports indicate, however, that representatives of the groups move freely between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, including for meetings and to conduct financial transactions."

"In a striking development, many representatives of armed groups met openly in Kampala (Uganda) in mid-June to form the Mouvement révolutionnaire congolais, whose aim is to oppose the extension of State authority throughout Ituri. There are unconfirmed reports that militia in Ituri are regularly receiving weapons, including across Lake Albert," he adds.

The international community must exert increased pressure on the neighbouring countries to refrain from supporting militia groups and violating the arms embargo and it must encourage mining and trading companies "to abide by good business practices in politically volatile and sensitive areas," he says.

In addition, the DRC Transitional Government must take decisive action "to ensure the regular payment of civil service salaries, extend the provision of health care and education, improve transport infrastructure and ensure good governance," Mr. Annan says.

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