DR Congo

DRC: UN expert to study possible MONUC role in future elections

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KINSHASA, 13 February (IRIN) - A United Nations elections expert arrived on Tuesday in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to study what role the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) might play in the eventual organisation of elections following a transitional period of government called for in the 17 December 2002 agreement signed in Pretoria, South Africa, by all parties to the inter-Congolese dialogue, MONUC spokesman Hamadoun Toure announced during a news conference on Wednesday.
"MONUC could play a role in the electoral process, but this would have to be mandated by the UN Security Council," Toure said.

The UN expert, Noureddine Driss of Tunisia, will spend two weeks in Kinshasa. However, a transitional national government must first be put into place, an effort currently being orchestrated by the UN secretary-general's special envoy for the peace process in the DRC, Moustapha Niasse. In particular, Niasse is trying to help all parties resolve three outstanding issues by 27 February: a constitution for the transitional period, a united national army, and the personal security of transitional government leaders.

Last week, Niasse told IRIN that a transitional national government could be in place between the end of March and early April.

Under the Pretoria accord, the transitional period could take at least two years, after which nationwide elections would be held.

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