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DR of Congo: Annan 'very concerned' by rapidly increasing tensions in Ituri

DR of Congo: Annan 'very concerned' by rapidly increasing tensions in Ituri

Very concerned by the rapidly deteriorating situation and continuing hostilities in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today pledged to work closely with all the parties to pave the way for lasting peace in the region.

Concerned by the worsening situation in Ituri - particularly the dangerous rise in the tensions between Rwanda and Uganda - the Secretary-General in a statement issued by a UN spokesman, said "Everything must be done to ensure that further military confrontations do not erupt in this region, as they would undermine the recent hard-won gains in the peace process."

The Secretary-General called on all concerned to immediately establish the Ituri Pacification Commission and to work within that framework towards a peaceful solution to the situation in Ituri, spokesman Fred Eckhard said in New York. "It is essential that all parties, including neighbouring States, cooperate in this process," he added.

The spokesman said Mr. Annan again called on all foreign forces to withdraw from the territory of the DRC, in accordance with their previous commitments, in order to pave the way for a lasting peace. "He is committed to working closely with all parties to ensure their concerns are met through peaceful means," Mr. Eckhard said.