In DR Congo, UN Security Council mission meets on election preparations

12 June 2006

As part of an effort to ensure the democratic character of the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a delegation from the United Nations Security Council is visiting the country’s capital, Kinshasa today, as part of a regional tour of peacekeeping operations.

This morning, the delegation, led by French Ambassador Jean Marc de la Sablière and Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom, met with President Joseph Kabila, and later held separate meetings with the country’s four Vice-Presidents.

Afterward, they met with the joint commission on security that includes both Congolese police and Army representatives as well as military and police advisors from the UN peacekeeping mission and which is chaired by Vice-President Azarias Ruberwa.

Discussing such issues as fair access to the media and voting facilities, yesterday the delegation met with officials from the DRC’s Independent Electoral Commission, the government authority on media, parliamentarians and local women groups as well as members of the international humanitarian community.

The delegation took note of the reported rise of acrimonious language in the campaign for the elections, according to a UN spokesman.

Before the delegation left New York, Ambassador de la Sablière said that Council members would stress that the elections must take place in a peaceful environment with the police ensuring law and order at polling stations.

He said the Council had gone to the DRC every year since the establishment of the peacekeeping operation in 1999. He cited the massive size of that operation, which has 17,500 security personnel and a budget in excess of $1 billion, as one reason for the Council’s focused attention.

Preparations for the DRC’s vote, scheduled for 30 July, constitute the largest and most complex electoral-assistance mission undertaken thus far by the United Nations.


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