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Security Council members hail planned withdrawal of foreign troops from DR of Congo

Security Council members hail planned withdrawal of foreign troops from DR of Congo

Hailing the planned pull-out of foreign forces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), members of the Security Council this evening stressed the need for the United Nations to monitor these movements.

In a statement to the press following closed-door consultations, the Council President, Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria, said the members "welcome the measures announced by Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe and Rwanda for the full withdrawal of their troops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the start of their implementation." Members emphasized the need for this withdrawal to be "transparent and verified" by the UN Mission in the country, which goes by the acronym MONUC.

Concerning other developments on the ground, Council members called on the parties to secure a halt to human rights violations in eastern DRC, particularly in Ituri and South Kivu. "They demand that neither of the parties should seek to derive a territorial advantage from the current situation," Ambassador Tafrov said.

Council members welcomed steps taken by the DRC Government aimed at settling the issue of armed groups, particularly the prohibition of the activities of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), according to the statement. The Kinshasa authorities were encouraged to continue on this course and in particular to ensure the hand-over of persons sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Members of the Council emphasized the importance they attach to achieving progress in the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration process, the President said. They also reiterated their support for the efforts of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy, Mustapha Niasse, and the need for an inclusive political agreement on the DRC's internal political transition.

Council members are currently studying "ways in which MONUC could extend support to the parties in the implementation of the Pretoria and Luanda agreements," Ambassador Tafrov said, referring to the accords which form the basis for the DRC peace process.