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UN calls for moderated rhetoric in Congo elections

UN Council delegation in calls for moderated rhetoric in Congolese elections

A visiting United Nations Security Council delegation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has expressed satisfaction at the country’s preparations for landmark elections in July, but has called on all candidates and their supporters to refrain from xenophobic rhetoric, a UN spokesman said today.

After meeting yesterday with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, his four vice-presidents and other senior officials, Jean-Marc de la Sablière, the French ambassador to the UN who headed the Council delegation, congratulated the Congolese people for their efforts ahead of the 31 July poll and also reaffirmed the international community’s support.

“He however, pleaded for respect of the electoral calendar and urged candidates and their supporters to refrain from xenophobic rhetoric. He also condemned violence against journalists in the run-up to the elections, as well as slanderous media attacks on the candidates,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

Mr. Dujarric also said that the delegation had wrapped up its two-day visit by underlining the need for “greater tolerance” and it also regretted “the lack of genuine political debate in the country and expressed the wish that the next elected government would move vigorously to restore public order and fight corruption and impunity.”

Before the delegation left New York, Ambassador de la Sablière highlighted that the Council had gone to the DRC every year since the establishment of the peacekeeping operation in 1999. He cited the massive size of that operation, which has 17,500 security personnel and a budget in excess of $1 billion, as one reason for the Council’s focused attention.

Preparations for the DRC’s vote constitute the largest and most complex electoral-assistance mission undertaken thus far by the United Nations.

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