Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced cautious optimism about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the United Nations has deployed a peacekeeping operation aimed at restoring stability in the area.
Calling the crisis in the DRC "perhaps the greatest challenge that the UN is facing today," Mr. Annan said, "We are seeing hopeful signs but we are not out of the woods -- not by any means."
Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General stressed the importance of a planned visit to the region by members of the Security Council, scheduled to go forward later this month. "I think it is important that the Security Council team is going to Congo to discuss with the leaders and try to push them to make the compromises necessary to move the process forward," he said.
During its visit to the DRC, the Council team is expected to assess the parties' respect for the ceasefire, disengagement of forces and cooperation with UN peacekeepers, as well as other measures called for by Security Council resolution 1341.