Democratic Republic of the Congo

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Labour, Oxford East

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Photo of Ian McCartney Ian McCartney Minister of State (Trade & Investment), Department of Trade and Industry, Minister of State (Trade & Investment), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

A new Congolese government was named on 5 February, and announced its programme on 22 February, along with a "Governance Contract", to be adopted by parliament as a framework for the government's future work programme. This should help to improve the government's transparency and accountability. New Ministers have now taken up office and the National Assembly will shortly begin legislative business.

There remain many challenges for the government, notably reforming the security sector, reducing corruption, delivering services to the people and improving regional relations.

We have raised several times with the government, including at presidential level, the need for opposition groups to be granted sufficient political and legal space in which to operate, and for freedom of expression to be improved and respected.

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