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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
UN chief welcomes signing of new political agreement in Kinshasa

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- UN chief on Saturday welcomed the signing of a political agreement by the government and opposition parties in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which will hopefully ensure a peaceful transition of power in the central African country.

"It represents a significant step towards a peacefully managed transition consistent with the democratic principles enshrined in the country’s Constitution," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

The agreement was signed on Saturday in Kinshasa by the opposition parties and the ruling party of President Joseph Kabila. The deal will require Kabila to step down after elections that must take place before the end of 2017.

This long-awaited development builds on an initial agreement signed on October 18 between part of the opposition and Kabila’s party, Ban said.

The Secretary-General commended all actors involved in this effort, including the leaders of the opposition and Kabila for leading the mediation.

Ban called on them to abide by the agreement just signed.

"Concrete steps must now be taken to prepare the ground for the holding of elections without further delay," he said, adding the update of the voter register must proceed in a timely fashion.

All political actors must work to ensure an environment conducive to free, fair, and credible elections, including by refraining from violence, said Ban.

The Secretary-General encouraged the government of DRC to "redouble its efforts" to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms, which are essential to a credible electoral process.

On his final day at the helm of the United Nations, Ban wished continued success to the people and the government of the DRC in their efforts to achieve peace and stability.

           

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