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DR of Congo: Security Council concerned by resumed fighting in east of country

DR of Congo: Security Council concerned by resumed fighting in east of country

Amb. Ole Peter Kolby
Concerned about resumed fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations Security Council today urged all parties to put an immediate halt to hostilities and to respect fully their commitment to the ceasefire agreement.

The call came in a press statement issued by the Council President, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, after the 15-member body heard a briefing by the UN Secretariat on the current situation in DRC, especially the renewed clashes in the Katanga province around Moliro.

In the statement, Council members also welcomed the commitment of the DRC Government to undertake a unilateral ceasefire, called for its immediate implementation and appealed to the other parties "to act in the same manner."

At the same time, Council members welcomed the decision by the UN mission in DRC, known as MONUC, to monitor the ceasefire and the withdrawal of all parties to their original positions.

Council members also renewed their call for all parties to participate constructively in the formal talks on the future of DRC - the inter-Congolese dialogue - currently under way in Sun City, South Africa.

In a related development, the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has called for greater participation by women in the inter-Congolese dialogue.

"Without women's full participation in the Dialogue, peace will neither be inclusive nor sustainable," UNIFEM's Executive Director, Noeleen Heyzer, said in the statement issued over the weekend. She added UNIFEM's support to the call by the Facilitator of the Dialogue, former Botswanan President Ketumile Masire, to increase the quota of female representation.

UNIFEM also drew attention to last week's meeting in Sun City of 40 Congolese women - representing the government, opposition parties and civil society - who plan to bring their concerns directly to Mr. Masire.