UN Asks Kabila To Co-Operate With Dialogue Facilitator

NEW YORK- UN (PANA) -- The UN Security Council late Thursday chided the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for antagonising the process for national dialogue and urged it to fully recommit itself to the process.
In a statement after receiving a briefing on the situation in the war-torn country, the council said it had been informed of the government's closure of the office of the OAU-appointed facilitator of national dialogue.
It called on the government to re-open the facilitator's office.
DRC President Laurent Kabila has barred the facilitator, Sir Ketumile Masire, former president of Botswana, from his country and closed the office he had set up in Kinshasa, the DRC capital.
Earlier this month, Kabila refused to attend a preparatory meeting for the national dialogue in Cotonou, Benin, and refused to permit civil society representatives to attend the meeting.
Stressing that national dialogue was the central element of the cease-fire agreement signed July 1999 in Lusaka, Zambia, the council announced that it would examine the situation with the OAU and the DRC authorities.
The council also expressed concern at the situation in north-eastern town of Kisangani where it had last week ordered all armed groups, including forces from Rwanda and Uganda, to pull out after a week long battle.
Information at the disposal of the council indicated that the demilitarisation of Kisangani has not been completed.
Council members "reiterated their demand that the Congolese armed opposition and the other armed groups immediately and completely withdraw from Kisangani, and called on all parties to the cease-fire agreement to respect the demilitarisation of the city and its environs.
" Similarly, the council called for an end to hostilities throughout the territory of the DRC and to co-operate with the UN mission (MONUC).
On the humanitarian situation in the country, the council said the latest information showed that 600 civilians were killed and 3,000, including UN staff, were wounded during the Rwanda-Uganda fighting in Kisangani.
The council deplored these acts and called on the parties to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid in the country.
The UN has been involved in efforts to resolve the two-year conflict in the Congo where foreign forces have joined opposing parties.
A peace accord in Zambia last year set the tone for the disarmament of armed groups and withdrawal of foreign forces from the country under the supervision of UN peacekeepers.
The agreement also provided for a process of national dialogue to reconcile the parties and pave the way for the conduct of democratic elections.

23 june 2000 09:29:00

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