"The council expects a speedy publication of the electoral timetable and the implementation of the confidence-building measures. There is a consensus on this very important point," Delattre told reporters.

The Security Council called for elections to be organised this year in the DR Congo, in line with a political agreement struck in December between the government and opposition groups.

Under the deal, Kabila was allowed to remain in office pending the elections, ruling in tandem with a transitional watchdog and a new premier, to be chosen within opposition ranks.

But diplomats privately acknowledged that holding polls in the vast African country in the coming three months would not be possible due to logistical hurdles.

Diplomats said they did not consider the latest statement from the electoral commission as a formal timetable, which they stressed must contain specific dates for the vote.

The head of the UN's peacekeeping mission in DR Congo, Maman Sidikou, said Wednesday that journalists, opposition supporters and activists in the country are the targets of intimidation and violence.

"In this context of political uncertainty, the security situation has gotten worse in several regions," he said.

Kabila was first propelled into office after his father, Laurent-Desire Kabila, was assassinated in January 2001, during the Second Congo War.

The young soldier won a first elected five-year term in 2006 in a poll organised with the help of the large UN mission deployed in the country.

In his address to the United Nations in September, he said he was "most certainly moving towards credible, transparent and peaceful elections" and that a timetable would be announced "soon."

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