Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Democratic Republic of Congo at 'Critical Juncture' Says Deputy Secretary General

KINSHASA 22 April 2007 Sapa-AFP


The Democratic Republic of Congo is at a "critical juncture,"
eight months after the country's landmark elections, UN Deputy
Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro said during a visit on Sunday.

"Now that the government is in place, the challenge is for the
Congolese people to realise the benefits of the great sacrifices that they made in the cause of peace," Migiro told journalists at the start of a three-day trip to Kinshasa.

Last year an arduous three-year post-war transition culminated
in the massive central African country's first democratic vote
since independence in 1960.

During a visit to Kinshasa in January, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed the progress made in DRC, but emphasised that "much more needs to be done."

Migiro on Sunday said DRC had made more progress since then, but stressed that the government needed to work with the opposition if true democracy was to be established in the country.

"As far as the secretary general is concerned, he would like to see that the process of democratisation takes root, and in order for this process to take root, there has to be a working together between government and the opposition," she said.

Tensions have been running high since government troops clashed with opposition leader and failed presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba's guard last month, leaving between 200 and 500 people dead.

Following the clashes, which were sparked by plans to integrate Bemba's guards into the army, his opposition Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) walked out of parliament over security concerns.

Bemba has since flown to Portugal, officially for medical

Migiro was set to meet with President Joseph Kabila and Prime
Minister Antoine Gizenga on Monday morning, before meeting with national assembly president Vital Kamerhe.

Migiro, a former Tanzanian foreign minister, insisted Sunday
that "the stability of the DRC is not only important for the Congo itself but also for the region."

Migiro was to leave Kinshasa Wednesday morning for Brazzaville, where she was scheduled to participate in a UN Development Programme (UNDP) meeting on Africa.

No comments: