May 15th, 2007 10:45 EST
UN peacekeeping force in DR Congo until year's end
Aiming to help the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) cement stability, the Security Council today extended the deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping mission there until the end of this year.
Through a resolution adopted unanimously, the 15-member body agreed to maintain the personnel strength of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), whose mandate was due to expire today, at approximately 17,000 troops, 760 military observers, 400 police trainers and 750 personnel of formed police units.
The resolution reaffirmed the importance of security sector reform and of the reintegration of Congolese and foreign armed groups for the long-term stabilization of the county, which is rebuilding following the end of a six-year civil war that cost 4 million lives due to fighting, hunger and disease.
In March, hundreds of people were killed in the capital, Kinshasa, during fighting between Government forces and the guards of the former vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba, who lost the run-off round of landmark presidential elections to Joseph Kabila last year.
In January and February, in the country`s far west Bas-Congo province, violent clashes over closely contested local elections led to the deaths of more than 130 people.
In the wake of those deadly clashes, the Council called on the DRC`s authorities and political parties to pursue national reconciliation and resolve their differences through dialogue, with respect to the constitutional framework and the law.