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DR of Congo: UN will provide immediate logistical support for electoral process

29 August 2005 UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he would begin sending Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) resources right away to help meet deadlines in the biggest and most expensive electoral process the world body has ever helped organize, even before the Security Council formally approves his recommendations.

Given the vast size of the country and the lack of infrastructure in large areas, the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) asked the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) to assist with transporting electoral materials to voter registration centres and future polling sites throughout the country, Mr. Annan said in a letter to the President of the Security Council for August, Japanese Permanent Representative Ambassador Kenzo Oshima.

MONUC and the IEC, supervising the $450 million electoral process, “are stretched to their limit as they face the multiple demands of opening and servicing thousands of isolated voter registration sites,” he said.

“I understand that the members of the Security Council have reached an agreement in principle to approve the recommendations contained in my special report of 26 May 2005 on elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to furnish MONUC with the resources required,” he said.

In view of the urgency of the requirement and to ensure the successful completion of ongoing registration activities by the 27 November deadline for holding the constitutional referendum, he intended to begin immediately to provide the logistical support to the electoral process, pending the consideration and official approval by the Council of his recommendations, he said.

The registration of eligible voters in Kinshasa closed on 31 July with over 2.9 million identified, marking the first step of the nationwide registration programme, which will be progressively extended to all of the DRC provinces in the coming weeks, he said.

MONUC has been making its vehicles, airplanes and helicopters available to the IEC as it distributes materials to some 9,000 registration centres. On the military front, the UN mission said last week that it would help to train nine Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) brigades for deployment in the troubled eastern provinces before the scheduled elections next March and April.

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