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UN Security Council team visits five countries

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NAIROBI, 4 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - Members of the UN Security Council are due to begin on Saturday a 10-day visit to Africa's Great Lakes region, that will take them to Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The delegation's first port of call would be Kinshasa, capital of the DRC, where, according to UN News, the team will emphasise to the parties contesting "the biggest and most expensive elections the UN has ever helped to organise" that they are expected to accept the results. Elections are due in the country in 2006.

The head of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), William Swing, is expected to brief the Security Council team on their arrival in Kinshasa on Saturday. The team, led by Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, would also meet President Joseph Kabila and other top government officials, before heading to the south-central town of Mbuji-Mayi, Kasai Oriental Province, for a meeting with MONUC as well as with local authorities and representatives of NGOs.

In Burundi, the team is expected to hold talks with President Pierre Nkurunziza and with two former presidents of the country that is emerging from 12 years of civil war.

From Burundi, the team will head for Kampala, the Ugandan capital, for a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni and will then leave for Kigali, capital of Rwanda, for a meeting with President Paul Kagame.

The UN team will end its visit in Tanzania, a country that has not been affected by conflict like the others but has acted as mediator in some of the countries' peace negotiations and hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees from Burundi and the DRC.


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