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U.S. welcomes Congo’s two-year election timetable

May 29, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States welcomed the two-year timetable for presidential and legislative elections outlined by Congolese President Laurent Kabila.

``A two-year period does not seem unreasonable to us,″ State Department spokesman John Dinger said Thursday.

The United States had urged that elections be held sooner rather than later, but Dinger noted that Congo faces ``severe problems″ in its infrastructure and other areas.

``We have long held that a specific timetable is essential for the future stability of the Democratic Republic of Congo,″ Dinger said. ``We urge all parties to work to ensure the completion of the transition to democratic rule.″

Kabila was sworn in as president of the former Zaire on Thursday, less than two weeks after his forces deposed President Mobutu Sese Seko.

Richard Meece, the top U.S. diplomat in Congo, represented the United States at the ceremony.

Kabila assumed sweeping powers for himself for the transition period, but Dinger declined to offer criticism. He noted that some posts have been filled by members of the opposition.

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