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UN Mission Is Optimistic About Upcoming DRC Elections


The head of a just-returned U.N. mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo briefed the Security Council Friday on the preparations for the nation's first presidential and legislative elections in 45 years, scheduled for July 30. From VOA's New York Bureau, correspondent Barbara Schoetzau has the story written by Chenni Xu.

The leader of the recent U.N. mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo, French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière, expressed confidence in the election preparations that have already been made by the U.N. mission and Congo's electoral commission.

Despite continued violence in Congo's northeastern region of Ituri and in the western province of Kivu, de la Sablière said there is a widespread belief that the elections will take place without significant disruption.

Speaking through an interpreter, the French ambassador praised the effort of the U.N. mission in Kinshasa, known as MONUC, to ensure that the elections will be well organized, free, and credible. "It was the view of the mission that the commitment is there, the means are in place and well-organized. The work that has already been done by the electoral commission and MONUC (the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is so professional, that we have every hope, every assurance, that the Congolese people in the 30th of July will be able to vote in good conditions," he said.

De la Sablière said that 50,000 police are expected to be involved in security for the upcoming elections, keeping the role of the army to a minimum. At least 800 European Union troops will be stationed around the country.