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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Security challenges threaten Democratic
Republic of Congo elections: UN envoy

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The top UN envoy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) warned on Thursday that the lack of security poses a threat to the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in the country.

As the DRC moves toward elections in December, the complexity of the security situation and the continuing activities of armed groups in the east of the country continue to pose a major challenge, Leila Zerrougui told the Security Council.

Securing the elections is a prerequisite for credible and peaceful polls.

It is important to ensure the security of the candidates, but also to provide an environment in which the campaign and the actual polls will take place, said the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC.

It is difficult to secure the areas where armed groups are stationed, which are increasingly using the political agenda for the benefit of their own interests, she said.

The UN envoy recommended the establishment of electoral security mechanisms as well as the strategic coordination of the various national defense and security entities.

She expressed specific concern about current developments in Beni in North Kivu province.

Presumed Allied Democratic Forces continue to stage near-daily attacks on civilians, the armed forces of the DRC, and the UN mission that is known by its French acronym as MONUSCO.

To make things worse, the attacks have made the response to an Ebola outbreak in the area increasingly challenging, she said.

So far, there have been 194 confirmed or probable cases, and 120 deaths in the Beni health zone and surrounding areas, now including a town neighbouring Uganda.

Zerrougui reported that the electoral process is evolving according to the electoral calendar.

Decisive milestones have been reached, she said, noting that the electoral law has been revised, the electoral register drawn up and submitted to an audit.

Twenty-one candidates have been validated to compete for the presidency, 15,505 candidates for the National Assembly and 19,640 candidates for provincial legislatures.

DRC’s elections were long overdue.

A political agreement on Dec. 31, 2016 allowed President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, to stay on after his term of office expired, on the condition that elections would be held within 2017.

But elections were delayed on the grounds of logistics. On Nov. 5, 2017, the country’s electoral commission published an electoral calendar for the combined presidential, legislative and provincial elections for Dec. 23, 2018.
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UPDATE:

United Nations envoy reiterates need to neutralize
'negative forces' across the Great Lakes region

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The United Nations special envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region on Thursday reiterated the need to neutralize "negative forces" in the region as part of the efforts to appease situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

At a Security Council meeting concerning the country, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region in Africa Said Djinnit said insecurity in eastern DRC persists as a result of the continued presence of "negative forces."

"In addition to creating insecurity and generating displacement of populations, the activities of these negative forces fuel mistrust between countries of the region and contribute a threat to regional peace and stability," he said.

These forces include Allied Democratic Forces, Democratic Forces of the Liberation of Rwanda, ex-M23, and some armed Burundian elements, he noted, underlining their neutralization as the first priority in advancing commitments under a 2013 intergovernmental framework agreement, or Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region (PSC Framework).

Meanwhile, the envoy briefed the council on the repatriation of disarmed combatants, saying some modest results have been achieved.

"A total of 41 persons have been repatriated to their countries of origin" in his reporting period, namely from March to August.

To advance commitments under the PSC Framework, Djinnit said another priority is to support "peaceful, credible and inclusive" electoral and political processes in the region.

Particularly, on the DRC’s political process, the envoy said he encouraged sustained regional engagement in support of elections in line with the Dec. 31 agreement, where the ruling party and opposition signed deal for incumbent President Joseph Kabila to step down.

The DRC is slated to hold general elections on Dec. 23 this year to determine a successor to Kabila.

Djinnit underscored greater participation of women, youth and civil society in peace and political processes in the region as another priority to meet the Framework commitments, reiterating the goal of a minimum of 30 percent representation of women in these processes by 2023.

Geographically, countries in Africa’s Great Lakes region include Burundi, the DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

However, the 2013 Framework agreement was reached among these countries except Kenya plus Central African Republic, Angola, Republic of Congo, South Africa, South Sudan and Zambia.

These 11 countries in the east and central Africa constitutes a complex network of political and economic interactions with significant implications for peace, security and governance.

It is also a region with interlinked conflicts and common fundamental problems that emanate from post-colonial challenges to state-building and nation-building.
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EARLIER REPORT:

Ugandan president to meet Democratic Republic
of Congo counterpart over rebel groups

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he will meet his Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) counterpart Joseph Kabila to discuss measures of wiping out rebel groups in the eastern part of the vast central African country.

Museveni in a State House statement issued on Tuesday said the problems in DRC spill over not only to Uganda but also to other neighboring countries. Restive eastern DRC is a hideout of many rebel groups.

Museveni said action is now needed by DRC, together with regional and international partners to establish total peace in the region.

"That trinity of the DRC, Regional countries and the International Community, can work if we embark on it seriously," he said.

Museveni noted that rebel outfits like the Allied Democratic Forces and other groups based in DRC can be defeated the way Uganda wiped out all negative forces in the country.

Museveni was speaking as the incoming chairperson of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region.

The regional meeting, which was held here on Monday was also attended by President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Edgar Lungu, the Zambian leader.

The out-going chairperson of the Framework, President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo, in a message said significant progress has been made in the DRC, Burundi, South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) in the last one year.

He urged all stakeholders to pursue efforts to bring about everlasting peace to the region.

A communiqué read at the end of the one day meeting said a new approach beyond the existing measures is needed to ensure greater regional cooperation for the full neutralization of the negative forces in the region.

The communiqué also said that the meeting welcomed a recent announcement by Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza not to present himself as a candidate in the country’s next election.

The leaders also welcomed the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan and called on the signatory parties to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Agreement.

They also urged the armed groups in CAR to end their violent acts.

 

 

             

 

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