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W.Swing: The transfer of Bemba's troops has already started

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Monuc - November 24, 2006 12:30 PM

William Swing - Head of Monuc in Congo - DRC

At the farewell ceremony on November 23 2006 for the Uruguayan contingent that are now finishing their nine month tour in the DRC, William Swing, the UN Special Representative in the DRC, spoke on the current political situation in the DRC.

What do you think of the Uruguayan contingent?

I see our troops as a unit. I noticed that the Uruguayans are among most versatile and most flexible of our troops in the sense that they are used in eight of the eleven provinces including the Congo river at Mbandaka, Kindu and Maniema. Because we don’t have enough border units, we had to transfer them to lake Albert and the lake Kivu, to reinforce the embargo against the light weapons.
They were also in Ituri, in Kivus, in Kisangani and today they form part of out Western Brigade, based in Kinshasa.

How do you feel about the ultimatum of disarmament given to the troops of Jean Pierre Bemba?

We had established a plan between the FARDC and MONUC which supports the FARDC and the Police force. It is the plan which was designed to start within a short time. It is that one which is being implemented.

Is it true when people speak of 48 hours for disarmament?

We spoke of 48 hours to begin with, and the programme has started within this period.

How many soldiers will leave in the 48 hours?

I cannot say because all that is in the hands of the local authorities especially the FARDC in co-operation with the other authorities of the state.

So MONUC started the programme, and 50 men left this morning?

This is more or less the program up until now, which was led by the FARDC with the assistance of MONUC, if necessary.

The Uruguayan contingent is there because of the Congolese people and the business of the elections is the business of the Congolese. For this crucial period what message can you give to the Congolese people, whom MONUC assists?

Our congratulations and our admiration for the calm, patience and devotion which they have showed throughout the process. One year ago, we were one month before the constitutional referendum, today, you have your constitution, the first and the second round of elections and we will soon have the results of provincial assemblies. All this must be an encouragement for everyone. But it is certainly the Congolese people which one must congratulate, as well as the Independent Electoral Commission.


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