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Kabila: "We must finish the war (in North Kivu), whatever the cost"

MONUC - December 6, 2007

In his annual address on the state of the nation this Thursday 6 November 2007 in Kinshasa in front of parliament, DRC president Joseph Kabila underlined in particular the achievements of the government, in relation to security, development and international relations. In his annual address on the state of the nation this Thursday 6 December 2007 in Kinshasa in front of parliament, DRC president Joseph Kabila underlined in particular the achievements of the government, in relation to security, development and international relations.

President Kabila began by greeting the "new political culture" which has been established in the DRC. According to him, it "is based on dialogue and transparency."

He then added that the objective of this assessment was not to measure the approval of the action of the government but "to check if our advances are on the right track."

The first issue reviewed was the security situation in North and South Kivu, and for the president the construction of peace is a "sacred duty."

"The pacification of the country has been achieved in most of the country. Of the 145 territories only Rutshuru and Masisi are at war."

He also paid homage to the Congolese soldiers, "I would like to salute the courage of the Congolese army and its anonymous heroes," while he recognised the exactions made by some of its members, for whom he demanded pardon and promised sanctions.

The president condemned the violence of the "uncontrolled armed groups in the east of the country."

"It is imperative that we tackle these groups, and it will be done soon, whatever the cost."

Joseph Kabila continued by focusing on reforms already started in the security sector, before announcing development projects in the economic and social spheres, in particular the announcement of a joint oil exploitation project with Angola in the central basin, and the creation of two new universities in Kindu and Bukavu.

In the economic domain, he underlined the economic revival and the stabilisation of the macro-economic framework, but in particular emphasised the new co-operation agreement with China.

"Today we have exemplary co-operation with China. For the first time in history the Congolese people will be able to see the returns from the exploitation of their cobalt, nickel or cobalt."

He spoke lengthily on the reform of the justice system - "a vital building block for the rule of law" - which is "cruelly lacking". For President Kabila the realisation of this reform is "an absolute priority".

"It is time that judicial decisions become just. The DRC is not a republic of judges, the judges must answer the people."

Nevertheless he specified that to reach that point, "one does not need a constitutional revision," as the presidential majority of the assembly had requested a few weeks ago.

The president also evoked the fight against corruption, the decentralization process and "the perversion of mores".

President Kabila concluded by affirming that "our country has made a historical policy change and is ready for takeoff."

It is the first time in the history of the DRC that a democratically elected president gave a state of the nation address in front of parliament.

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