DR Congo

DRC: UN says it needs an extra US $190 million for polls

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NAIROBI, 14 July (IRIN) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has issued a two-page report to the Security Council in which he gave details of almost US $190 million in additional costs the UN requires to support upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"The estimate provides for the phased deployment of an additional 2,590 military contingent personnel," he said in the report on Tuesday.

This would bring to 19,290 the number of military personnel in the UN mission, known as MONUC. Annan also said MONUC would require an additional 216 civilian police personnel to bring their total to 391; and an additional 625 "formed police personnel" to bring that strength to 750; as well as more local and international civilian staff and UN volunteers.

The total estimated cost of MONUC for the 12-month period from 2005 to 2006 is projected to be around $1.3 billion. The timetable for the elections has not yet been set. They were supposed to have been completed by June but the country's national assembly postponed them for at least six months.

The elections would usher in the first democratically election government in the Congo in 40 years and herald an end to the current post-conflict transitional period, in which a coalition of government and former rebel groups rule the country.

Earlier this week the European Union organised a meeting in Brussels on the elections co-chaired by European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, and the UN Special Representative to the Secretary-General in the DRC, William Swing. Donors committed an additional ?85 million ($100 million) to support elections and other donors made further pledges.

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