Annan hails preparations for Inter-Congolese dialogue, urges input from women

Annan hails preparations for Inter-Congolese dialogue, urges input from women

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said he was encouraged by the preparations under way for an Inter-Congolese dialogue in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and urged that women be fully represented throughout the process.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, the Secretary-General said he hoped the preparatory meeting set to begin on 20 August in Gaborone, Botswana, would successfully pave the way for the actual Dialogue.

He also expressed his full support for the appeals to the Congolese parties by Sir Ketumile Masire, the Facilitator of the process, that women should be more fully represented in their delegations to the preparatory meeting as well as the Dialogue, and that gender issues should be included in its agenda.

In other news, on Thursday a UN helicopter flying from Goma to Kalemie in eastern DRC was hit 14 times by rifle rounds fired by unknown personnel, a UN spokesman told reporters today in New York. "The helicopter, which was carrying UN military observers, continued flying to Kalemie, where it landed safely, with no injuries to personnel," spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said. "The UN Mission condemned the attack and is investigating the incident."