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DR Congo: Call for Calm After Provisional Results

DR Congo: Annan Leads Call for Calm After Provisional Presidential Results Released

New York, Nov 15 2006 6:00PM

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the two candidates and their supporters in the run-off presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to respond calmly to provisional results released today and to use the law rather than violence to pursue any challenges.

President Joseph Kabila, Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba and other political leaders should “avoid statements that could threaten the peaceful completion of the national election,” Mr. Annan said in a statement released by his spokesman after the announcement of results by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the capital, Kinshasa.

The IEC said Mr. Kabila leads Mr. Bemba in the vote following the run-off round on 29 October, the last phase of the largest and most complex elections which the UN has ever helped to organize. The polls were the first free and fair elections in the DRC in 45 years.

Voicing concern about Saturday’s violence in Kinshasa that led to the deaths of four people, Mr. Annan also welcomed a joint statement last week by Mr. Kabila and Mr. Bemba in which they urged calm among their supporters and pledged not to challenge the results by force.

“The Secretary-General recalls the positive statements made by international and national election observers on the organization and conduct of the elections under the aegis of the Independent Electoral Commission,” said the statement from Mr. Annan’s spokesman.

“He also notes that over the past few weeks the Commission has met frequently with representatives of both presidential candidates to discuss any concerns, and has looked thoroughly into allegations of irregularities in the electoral process.”

Mr. Annan also commended the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) and the European security forces known as EUFOR RD Congo for their efforts to help Congolese security forces maintain law and order, especially in Kinshasa.

The top UN peacekeeping official and senior European officials, who held a working lunch in Brussels today, also called on Mr. Kabila and Mr. Bemba to avoid any provocative acts ahead of the final results, expected to be issued on Sunday.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno, European Union (EU) High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz discussed how the international community can support the DRC’s nascent democratic institutions.

The three-month-long electoral process in the DRC, in which a 500-seat National Assembly and provincial assemblies were also elected, is aimed at cementing the vast country’s transition to stability from a six-year civil war, which cost 4 million lives through fighting and attendant hunger and disease. Factional fighting has continued since then, particularly in the east.


ENDS

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