DR of Congo: Annan hails release of detained UN peacekeeper

7 September 2004

Welcoming the release of a United Nations peacekeeper detained last week by one of the factions in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all sides to bring the peace process in the area back on track.

Private Rashid Zahidi, a member of the Moroccan contingent serving with the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) was detained by elements belonging to the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) on 2 September in the Ituri region of the country, where fierce ethnic and factional raged fighting last year. He was released yesterday.

In a statement issued by his spokesman in New York, Mr. Annan agreed with a communiqué from the Transitional Government that such an act constituted a flagrant violation of undertakings signed by the leaders of armed groups in Ituri.

He "calls on all concerned to recommit themselves to bring the Ituri peace process back on track," the statement added.

Mr. Annan expressed appreciation to the Transitional Government for its cooperation, and to his Special Representative for the DRC, William Lacy Swing, and other MONUC officials for their efforts to obtain the soldier's release.


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