SECRETARY-GENERAL DISTURBED THAT FIGHTING CONTINUES
NEW YORK, 27 December (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned over reports that the Congolese Rally for Democracy-National/Congolese Liberation Movement (RCD-N/MLC) forces, possibly joined by the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) forces, have continued military offensives in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, despite the 16 December Accord in which they committed themselves to a ceasefire and agreed on transitional arrangements leading toward the holding of free and fair elections. It is equally disturbing that the parties have failed to heed calls by the Security Council on 24 December to cease all hostilities and settle their differences peacefully.
Reports indicate that tens of thousands of innocent civilians have fled their homes as military forces continue to fight over territory in the east. It is reported that the RCD-N/MLC forces are poised to take over the town of Beni, the centre of the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Kisangani (Liberation Movement) (RCD-K(ML)), which could result in further displacement of civilians and seriously call into doubt the parties’ readiness to implement the 16 December Accord. The Secretary-General calls on MLC leader Jean-Pierre Bemba and RCD-N leader Roger Lumbala to restrain their forces from further advances. He reminds those responsible for violating humanitarian law that the international community will hold them accountable for their actions.
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