Annan hails signing of new power-sharing accord for Democratic Republic of Congo

Annan hails signing of new power-sharing accord for Democratic Republic of Congo

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the signing in Pretoria of an all-inclusive power-sharing arrangement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and voiced hope that the accord will soon be formally adopted.

In a statement released by his spokesman, Mr. Annan hailed the “long-awaited progress in the Congolese peace process as a significant step towards lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region as a whole.” He also praised the Congolese parties for their “courageous decision to find a peaceful solution to end the suffering of the Congolese people and embark upon a path to reconciliation, reconstruction and development.”

The Secretary-General expressed hope that the accord will be endorsed “without delay” at a plenary session of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, to be convened by the Facilitator, Sir Ketumile Masire, according to the spokesman. He also pledged the UN’s continued support for the peace process in the DRC, predicting that the country’s transitional period would lead to free, transparent and democratic elections.

Today’s accord was signed following intensive negotiations mediated jointly by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, Moustapha Niasse, and the Government of South Africa. The statement commended both for their “untiring efforts” in support of the Congolese peace process.

Meanwhile, the head of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC, Namanga Ngongi, hailed the accord as a “landmark in the history of this country” and lauded the parties for overcoming “their old reflexes of distrust and surpassing all their differences for the benefit of the Congolese people who have the right to peace and happiness.”

Mr. Ngongi also urged all concerned to “keep the current peace momentum with a view to implementing the agreement for a new political dispensation marked by free and transparent elections in the DRC.”