"God willing, and if no new obstacles are put in the way, I believe that by the end of March, early April, a national unity government presided [over] by the head of state, Joseph Kabila, will be in place here in Kinshasa in accordance with the global and inclusive accord signed by all parties to the inter-Congolese dialogue on 17 December 2002 in Pretoria, South Africa," Niasse told IRIN on Thursday.
Niasse arrived in Kinshasa, the DRC capital, on Tuesday on a new mission conferred on him by Annan in January. "I completed the first mission on 17 December 2002 when a global and inclusive accord was signed by all parties to the inter-Congolese dialogue," Niasse said.
"My new mission consists, first of all, of helping all signatories of the Pretoria accord to create an environment and to employ mechanisms and measures that should enable us to implement this agreement, and second of all, of reconvening the technical committees responsible for addressing the issues of a restructured and integrated national army, the security of leaders of the new transitional government institutions, in Kinshasa and in the provinces, and the drafting of a transitional government constitution by a committee to be based in Pretoria," Niasse said.
He discussed his plan and his schedule with Kabila during a meeting on Wednesday. On Thursday, Niasse flew to the northwestern town of Gbadolite, the headquarters of Jean-Pierre Bemba's Ugandan-backed Mouvement de liberation du Congo rebel group.
On Friday, Niasse is due to travel to the eastern city of Goma, for talks with leaders of the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-Goma, before returning to Kinshasa to meet on Saturday and Sunday representatives of the unarmed political opposition, civil society, Mayi-Mayi militias, and the RCD-Kisangani/Mouvement de liberation, a rebel group based in the northeastern town of Beni that has been allied with the Kinshasa government since mid-2002.
Niasse said he would propose that meetings of the technical committees be held from 20 to 27 February in order to keep to schedule. "Along with my co-mediators from South Africa, we will help the committees to complete their work by 27 February at the latest, at which time we should have a report regarding the practical modalities for the implementation of the Pretoria accord," he said.
He added that the facilitator of the inter-Congolese dialogue, Ketumile Masire, would thereby be able to convene a final meeting of all parties. However, the venue for such a meeting remains to be determined.
Niasse told IRIN he was happy to have succeeded in re-establishing dialogue among the parties to the inter-Congolese dialogue after an incomplete agreement that was reached in April 2002 fell apart. He was also pleased to have helped build a bridge between the governments of the DRC and neighbouring Rwanda, and to have fulfilled the first mission conferred on him by Annan by helping the parties to reach the Pretoria accord.
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