The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has welcomed a comprehensive political agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and called on all stakeholders to continue to exercise flexibility and compromise in their discussions to swiftly resolve all pending issues, particularly those related to the holding of elections in the country within 2017.
“The Security Council is encouraged by the spirit of flexibility and compromise demonstrated by Congolese political leaders in reaching this agreement, for the stability, peace, development and consolidation of constitutional democracy in the DRC,” said a Presidential Statement read out at a formal meeting of the 15-member body on Wednesday.
In the Statement, the Council also urged all political parties which didn’t sign the agreement to do so.
The agreement – facilitated by Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) mediators, and reached in DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, on December 31 – represents a significant step towards a peacefully managed transition consistent with the democratic principles enshrined in the country’s constitution.
This new agreement followed an initial political agreement between part of the opposition and the majorité présidentielle reached in October under the auspices of the African Union facilitation.
Under the deal, 45-year-old President Joseph Kabila, who according to the country’s constitution should have left office on December 20, will stay in power until elections are held.
A transitional body will be set up, headed by the 84-year-old opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, and a prime minister from opposition ranks.
The Council expressed hope for a swift implementation of the agreement in order to organise peaceful, credible, inclusive and timely presidential, national and provincial legislative elections no later than December 2017, as well as leading to a peaceful transfer of power.
“The Security Council stresses the importance for the Government of the DRC and its national partners to take all necessary steps to accelerate preparations for the elections without further delays, within the agreed time frame,” added the statement in which the Council also stressed the importance of the inclusion of women in the follow up and implementation of the agreement.