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Annan in Kinshasa for last leg of Africa visit

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KINSHASA, 21 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on Tuesday for a three-day visit, on the fourth and final leg of his African tour.

A spokesman for the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), Jean-Tobbie Okala, said Annan would be meeting President Joseph Kabila later in the day.

While in the country, he would also meet members of the international committee supporting the transition to democracy, known as CIAT, as well as the president of the Independent Electoral Commission. During elections scheduled to take place on 18 June, the current post-conflict transitional government is to be replaced by an elected president and parliament.

The UN has 17,000 peacekeepers deployed throughout the country, making it the largest UN mission in the world.

Annan is scheduled to travel to Kisangani, capital of Orientale Province, in the east of the country. There he will meet the Guatemalan special forces serving in MONUC.

Annan arrived in Kinshasa from Brazzaville, across the river, in neighbouring Republic of Congo where on Monday he and President Denis Sassou-Nguesso took part in a ceremonial destruction of weapons.

The weapons were among more than 800 collected since December 2005 as part of a post-conflict disarmament, demobilisation and reinsertion programme.

Annan's visit to Africa also took him to Madagascar and South Africa.


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