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Central Africa: any peacebuilding actions needed

Security Council mission recommends dozens of peacebuilding actions for Central Africa

Fresh from a fact-finding mission across Central Africa, the United Nations Security Council has recommended dozens of actions it must take in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to put in place measures for sustained peace and to make the most expensive elections the world body has ever helped to organize both free and fair.

The Council should encourage the DRC's Transitional Government to strengthen its military forces and pay them regularly and urge the Rwandan rebels in the eastern DRC "to disarm and repatriate to Rwanda," the mission says in its report on the 4 to 11 November fact-finding trip.

It should also encourage the UN's peacekeeping mission in the DRC known as MONUC to continue to support the actions taken by the Armed Forces of DRC (FARDC) "to step up the pressure on foreign armed groups operating in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo." The eastern DRC provinces include the Kivus and Ituri.

The Transitional Government should "increase civic education and voter sensitization activities, particularly among women, to ensure widespread public understanding regarding the draft constitution, the voting system and the electoral process," the report says.

The Council should call on the Government of Uganda "to respect fully the sovereignty of neighbouring States and in particular to refrain from any use of force outside its borders," and "to take further measures to ensure that remnant militias operating in the Ituri district receive no support from Ugandan territory."

Both Uganda and Rwanda should be encouraged "to cooperate with the efforts of the United Nations towards resolving the continued threat to regional security posed by the presence of foreign armed groups on Congolese territory," the report says.

The Council should also urge each of the two governments to ensure that the arms embargo imposed by the Security Council on DRC "is respected and enforced on its territory, in particular by establishing stricter controls at its borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to curtail the illegal cross-border trafficking of natural resources and arms and the movement of combatants."

With regard to Burundi, the Government and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General there should be encouraged to devise measures for a gradual disengagement of the peacekeeping UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB), while trying to bring the rebel Palipehutu-FNL into the peace process, the report says.

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