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Democratic Republic of Congo

Volume 455: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the outcome of recent talks between representatives of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Government and Laurent Nkunda; and what recent steps she has taken to secure a peaceful end to conflict in DRC. (114202)

Reports suggest that Laurent Nkunda met with General John Numbi and other Congolese army representatives in early January. It is important for stability in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the region that the situation in North Kivu is resolved. We support the efforts of the Congolese Government to do so in a way that avoids causing further suffering to the population of North Kivu.

The UK continues to support the Congolese Government, the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC (MONUC), and other bilateral and multinational efforts to secure an end to the conflict and lasting peace in DRC. Successful elections for which the UK was the leading bilateral donor, were an important part of that process. The UK is actively supporting Congolese army reform, which is also crucial to the country’s long-term security.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the imprisonment of Fernando Kutino, Timothee Bompere and Junior Ngandu; and if she will make a statement. (115602)

Our Embassy in Kinshasa, in conjunction with our EU partners, lobbied Ministers in the transitional Congolese Government over the irregularities involved in the detention and trials of Fernando Kutino, Timothee Bompere and Junior Ngandu. In particular, we raised concerns over the use of a military court rather than a civilian one and inconsistencies in the evidence presented by the police and the prosecution.

We will continue to remind the new Congolese Government of its responsibility to protect human rights and to allow freedom of expression.