In an agreement hailed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as offering the best chance for the Congolese people to restore peace after nearly five years of civil war, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and representatives of rebel factions today gave final approval to the creation of a comprehensive power-sharing administration and new constitution.
Marking the final session of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue today in Sun City, South Africa, the parties signed a Final Act that endorses the resolutions adopted last year in Pretoria on the All-inclusive Accord, as well as a Transitional Constitution and the Memorandum on Military and Security, which they settled on just last month. The deal will lead to elections in two years time.
While commending the parties for seeing the Dialogue through to a promising conclusion, "no one should imagine that the All-inclusive Agreement will implement itself," the Secretary-General warned in a message delivered on his behalf by Moustapha Niasse, his Special Envoy for the Inter-Congolese Dialogue. "The most complex and difficult tasks still lie ahead."
Urging the parties to seize the chance to “promote peace and stability throughout the Great Lakes Region,” Mr. Annan emphasized that during the Transition, they will have to prepare for elections and at the same time reunify the county in an admittedly tense and complex environment. “Even unarmed groups which until now have been bitter adversaries will have to learn to work together for the public good,” he said.
The Secretary-General also called on the parties to urgently address the continuing conflict in the east, "where the population are in a situation that is arguably even worse than it was before the agreements were signed," he said. He pledged the UN's continued support to the peace efforts, but underscored that "our support will be of little value unless you yourselves are fully determined to implement your agreements."
The leaders of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa witnessed today's signing ceremony.