United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the peaceful start of voter registration this week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) capital, Kinshasa, paving the way for elections in the vast African country for the first time in four decades after years of civil war.
The DRC's National Assembly and Senate also jointly decided last Friday to extend the transitional period for six months, he said through his spokesman.
"The Secretary-General appeals to all the Congolese parties to respect the decision of their parliamentary institutions to extend the transition and to actively participate in the process in a peaceful manner," the spokesman said.
The Secretary-General expects the referendum on the constitution and the subsequent elections to be held in accordance with the timetable published by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), he said.
Mr. Annan also urged the Transitional Government and the IEC to expedite the electoral process and to keep the Congolese population regularly and transparently informed of all major developments in the process that is so crucial for the future of their country.