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AU facilitator for DR Congo 'national dialogue' postpones preparatory meeting

AU facilitator for DR Congo 'national dialogue' postpones preparatory meeting

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The African Union (AU) facilitator for the proposed “national dialogue” in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Friday announced the “postponement of the opening of the preparatory committee’s work.”

The work of the committee was scheduled to take off on Saturday, July 30. According to Edem Kodjo, the postponement is to allow his team to get all relevant stakeholders on board before the talks commence, the former Prime Minister of Togo said in a statement.

He further joined calls by the international support group in the talks to urge all stakeholders to exercise the needed cooperation to create the enabling conditions of work for the preparatory committee in the coming days.

In the view of Kodjo, holding of the “inclusive national dialogue” is the only way to help find “a consensual solution to the political situation in the DRC, and what would be in the best interest of the Congolese people.”

The Congolese opposition had initially shunned this dialogue before rallying behind their leader, Etienne Tshisekedi,83 who returned to the country after two years of medical treatment in Belgium.

Overall, the opposition raises prerequisites, including the release of all political prisoners before the opening of this meeting supposed to bring representatives of the majority, the opposition and civil society around a table for talks.

On Friday, tens of thousands of people gathered at a stadium in Kinshasa to express their support to President Joseph Kabila. Kabila has been in power since 2001, his term ends on 20 December, but the Constitution prohibits him from seeking a new term.

The opposition suspects that the president would do everything to cling to power by delaying the holding of the presidential polls later this year. A top court has ruled that he could stay on if elections do not hold.