24 July 2006

As Democratic Republic of Congo Elections Approach, Secretary-General Urges All Congolese to Ensure Process Is Free, Fair, Open

NEW YORK, 21 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General welcomes the great strides made by the Congolese authorities, with the support of the international community, in preparing for the elections to be held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 30 July -- that country's first democratic elections in over 45 years.  But he notes with concern some reports of harassment, of violence around campaign events, and of unequal access to the media.

It is vital for the country's future that these elections, which are a symbol of hope for the whole of Africa, should be credible and transparent.  History will pass a severe judgement on anyone who tries to disrupt or otherwise undermine the elections.  The Secretary-General therefore urges all Congolese, and especially the candidates, to ensure that the electoral process is free, fair and open.

He also reaffirms that the United Nations will continue its support for the conduct of the elections, and remains fully committed to helping consolidate peace and democratic development in the country thereafter.

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