US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer says the United States will continue to be a partner of the Congolese people in their post-conflict reconstruction no matter who wins tomorrow?s presidential vote. Secretary Frazer spoke in Washington Friday during a pre-election roundtable with a select group of African journalists.

VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty who attended the roundtable quotes assistant secretary Frazer as saying she expects Sunday?s presidential run-off election in the Democratic Republic of Congo to be free and fair. She says the poll provides an opportunity for the Congolese people to invest in their future.

"We hope for a high turnout on Sunday to provide broad support for a new era of democracy in the Congo. This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Congolese people to invest in their future. This is a chance to impress upon all aspiring leaders that in Congo, as in our democracy, the power of a government comes from the consent of the electorate," Frazer said.

Secretary Frazer says both President Joseph Kabila and his challenger Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba have given assurances they will respect the outcome of the election.

"Secretary Rice had an opportunity to meet with President Kabila at the UN General Assembly in September, and he made the point that democracy requires losers, and he was prepared to lose if that?s what the electorate decided. And so I do think the Congolese people have a good chance, and that both candidates have committed to a code of conduct, they?ve committed to accepting the results of the elections," Frazer said.

Secretary Frazer says the United States has no preference in terms who wins tomorrow?s vote. But she says the US, under the leadership of President Bush, has supported the Congolese people throughout their civil conflict and will continue to do so no matter who wins Sunday?s presidential vote

"Certainly we will continue to be a strong partner with the government. We also will continue to work with them on economic development, on military integration, on post-conflict reconstruction. Our USAID mission in particular has the lead in trying to assist the Congolese people in restoring their economy by reaching out at the local level. So we will continue with that assistance and support," Frazer said.

Secretary Frazer hopes whoever wins Sunday?s vote will reach out to the other factions in a bi-partisan way in the same manner that the Congolese work together during their transitional period. She says the international community, under the banner of the International Committee for Support to the Transition in the DRC or CIAT will continue to put pressure on both parties to respect the Sun City Accord.

Let us know what you think of this report and other stories on our website. Send your views to AFRICA@VOANEWS.COM, and include your phone number. Or, call us here in Washington, DC at (202) 205-9942. After you hear the VOA identification, press 30 to leave a message. We want to hear what you have to say!