Annan urges parties in DR of Congo to work toward 'genuine' peace

25 February 2003

While the all-inclusive power-sharing agreement signed last December was an important step towards national reconciliation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the parties have yet to take steps to implement the accord and instead remain engaged in military confrontations, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report released today.

While the all-inclusive power-sharing agreement signed last December was an important step towards national reconciliation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the parties have yet to take steps to implement the accord and instead remain engaged in military confrontations, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report released today.

In his latest report to the Security Council on the work of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), Mr. Annan underscores that the prompt inauguration of the transitional Government will be critical in order to maintain the momentum created by the signing in Pretoria of the so-called All-Inclusive Agreement.

Mr. Annan appeals to the accord's signatories to respond positively to the aspirations of the "war-weary" people of the DRC and to show the necessary statesmanship to "embark on the long but critical road towards genuine national reconciliation and peace."

The report also highlights two issues that will be vitally important during the forthcoming phase of the peace process, the first of which is that the DRC's territorial integrity must be respected. "I am concerned by the widespread suspicions of continuing political and military involvement in the eastern DRC, including by neighbouring States," he says.

Despite the declared withdrawal of most military forces, accompanied by initial steps toward disarmament and demobilization, the military situation on the ground - particularly in the Ituri region and the Kivus - continues to be volatile, according to the report. Mr. Annan notes that security concerns have hampered MONUC's verification work and calls on all those with influence on the authorities and armed forces that control those areas to press them to allow the Mission unimpeded access, and to address regional issues through diplomacy, not "hostilities conducted by proxies in Congolese territory."

The other critical element for success of the peace process is the establishment of the Ituri Pacification Commission, particularly since the potentially explosive nature of the political and military situation in the northeast - as well as the possibility that outside forces might be drawn in - are sources of major concern.

"The importance of a political solution to underpin any military disengagement and ceasefire is key," Mr. Annan says, urging all parties and States involved to engage constructively in establishing the Commission without delay, and to cooperate with MONUC's peace-making activities.

 

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