Congo's Leading Presidential Candidates To Meet
DR Congo’s 2 Leading Presidential Candidates To Meet Face To Face – UN Mission
New York, Sep 12 2006 5:00PM
Three weeks after supporters of the two leading presidential candidates in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) clashed in the streets of Kinshasa, the two politicians have finally agreed to meet face to face, the UN mission in the country reported today.
According to the mission, known by its French acronym MONUC, President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba will come together tomorrow afternoon at a meeting of the Supreme Defence Council.
That word comes from the European Union’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, who met with the two men earlier today. At a press conference in Kinshasa, Mr. Solana said he spent more than an hour with Mr. Kabila discussing how to complete the transition process and “write a new page in the country's history following the election July's historic polls were the country™s first free and fair elections in 45 years.
Mr. Solana said he also asked Mr. Bemba to renew his commitment to the process, reminding him that he is not just a presidential candidate but also the country’s current vice president. Mr. Solana says Mr. Bemba’s response gave him “a great deal of hope.”
Intense diplomatic activities are underway to reconcile the candidates’ positions, with several other visiting foreign dignitaries holding separate talks with the two candidates, including South African President Thabo Mbeki and Italy’s foreign minister.
Mr. Bemba and Mr. Kabila will face each other in runoff elections on 29 October.
Meanwhile, as a further confidence-building gesture, mediators say the Congolese Government restored the broadcasting signals of two television stations owned by Mr. Bemba this morning.