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Sec Council Authorizes European Force in DR Congo

UN Security Council Authorizes European Force in DR Congo

New York, Apr 25 2006 4:00PM

The United Nations Security Council today endorsed the deployment of a European Union reserve force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to bolster stability in the vast country for its June 2006 presidential and parliamentary elections and up to four months afterward.

Through a resolution adopted unanimously, the Council authorized the force, to be known as Eufor R.D.Congo, to protect civilians, help guard the Kinshasa airport, protect its own personnel and installations, execute limited operations to extract individuals in danger and support the UN Observation Mission in the country (MONUC) in fulfilling its mandate.

The Congolese elections, slated for 18 June, are supported by the largest and most expensive electoral assistance operation the UN has ever undertaken, on the hope that the process will cement the country's transition from years of bloody conflict, including a six-year civil war, during which over 4 million people have been killed.

Earlier this month, the vanguard of a new Beninese battalion of UN peacekeepers arrived in embattled Katanga to help keep stability in that province during the election period. Overall, MONUC has nearly 18,000 uniformed personnel in the DRC.

In today's resolution, the Council called upon all Congolese parties to demonstrate their full commitment to democratic process by ensuring that the upcoming presidential and legislative elections were free, fair, peaceful and transparent.

It also called upon the Government to ensure that the presidential and parliamentary elections were held in accordance with the timetable of its Independent Electoral Commission.

ENDS

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