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DR Congo elections will require immense effort

DR Congo elections will require immense logistical effort, Security Council told

The peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is on the right track, but the referendum this month and the legislative elections due to take place by the end of next June will require immense logistical effort, the leader of the Security Council’s early November mission to Central Africa said today.

Introducing a written report on the trip, the Permanent Representative of France, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière, who had also briefed the Council on the trip last month, said a tight timetable must be met between the 18 December referendum and the legislative and presidential elections due to take place before the end of the transition period on 30 June 2006.

The security in the east of the country was another source of concern, owing to the actions of armed groups there. Whether those groups were Congolese or foreign, whether or not they represented a serious military threat, it was the Congolese people who were the first to suffer, he said.

The Council, therefore, should help the country reform its armed forces and establish the rule of law. The DRC Government should bring its full determination to that task and the international community and the countries in the region should provide their unwavering support, Mr. de La Sablière said.

On Burundi, he said the process of peace and national reconciliation there was a “stunning success in the region,” and Burundians could be proud of their accomplishment.

A major problem, however, was the presence of the rebel Palipehutu-FNL (Forces Nationales de Libération) even though the Tanzanian authorities had undertaken mediation efforts to encourage that movement to join the peace process and return to the negotiating table, Mr. de La Sablière said.

A year ago the Council said that it was prepared to consider sanctions against individuals who threatened the peace and national reconciliation process in Burundi. If the Government asked for sanctions, the Council members should be prepared to impose them, he said.

Though Mr. de La Sablière focused on DRC and Burundi, the mission also visited Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

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