Government Clarifies Transition Process
Dialogue first, then transition period, then elections’: The Coordination Committee of the Follow-Up Commission on Cease-Fire Agreements issued a public memorandum to the international community including background on the conflict and presenting the government’s three-step plan to achieve sustainable peace. First, a national dialogue on reconstruction is to be organized, including all Congolese. Second, there is to be a transitional period including institutional rehabilitation and adoption of a new constitution. Finally, free and fair elections are to be conducted.
Committee Appeals for Assistance with Holding Elections: The memorandum ends with an appeal to the international community to support consolidation of the peace process, including a request for international support for the organization of free and fair elections. Assistance for rehabilitation and social reintegration, including of ex-combatants, was also requested.
Opposition leader calls for withdrawal of foreign forces
The Angolans should leave’: On 19 March, the President of the CNR, Pasteur Ntoumi clarified his views on the Cease-Fire Agreement of which he is a signatory. According to him, the deployment of a public force will not be achievable as long as foreign armed forces (Angolan army and others) are still in Congo. Ntoumi feels withdrawal would allow free movement and prevent incidents.
UN Visits Shrinking 'Opposition Zone'
The UN conducted a security evaluation mission to Mossendjo in the northern part of Niari region, 23 March. Reaching Mossendjo is key to assisting the country’s largest group of IDPS (thought to be 50,000+), in a zone still under the control of non-state actors. The zone has shrunk dramatically this year, and is hoped to soon dissolve completely.
The UN Field Security Officer found that access will be possible for UN agencies as soon as the Follow-Up Commission finishes its work in disarming all non-state parties in the area. The NGOs Nuova Frontiera, Comité d’Aide Médicale, and MSF also recently sent assessment missions to Mossendjo. Needs seem to be more in health and less in nutrition.
Arrivals in Brazzaville Drop Sharply
Sharp drop: After months of 1,000 persons per day arriving in Brazzaville from the interior, mainly returnees, the numbers have dropped sharply. ICRC and MSF are closing their Brazzaville returnee sites.
The number of IDPs in Brazzaville has also declined rapidly as many thousands move back to their home towns. 4,000 from ICRC sites in Brazzaville are going home this week via Min. of Transport rail cars.