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Belgium limits visas granted DR Congo officials, condemns elections delay

Belgium limits visas granted DR Congo officials, condemns elections delay

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Belgium has limited the visa duration to be granted diplomatic officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to six months and condemns the postponement of elections.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said in an interview that the decision taken on Tuesday and limited only to diplomatic passport holders was due to the unstable political situation in the country.

Reynders cited the postponement of the election date by the Electoral Commission from December 20 to the end of 2018 due to “logistical constraints”.

The 500-day period proposed by the electoral commission does not make sense. If we delay the next elections to this period, we will be facing a third term.

“The 500-day period proposed by the electoral commission does not make sense. If we delay the next elections to this period, we will be facing a third term,” Reynders said in reference to the President Joesph Kabila whose tenure expires in December and is unable to stand for another term because of the two term limit.

“By December 19, we will clearly know who runs the country and then restart the dialogue by involving the important personalities like Moise Katumbi and Etienne Tshisekedi,” he adds.

A court earlier this year had ruled that if the country fails to organize elections later this year, Kabila could stay on as president. This ruling has created a lot of friction in the country.

“While it is certain that no elections can be held before December 19, you have to manage the interim period, setting a new calendar for whoever will manage the country,” Didier Reynders advised.

He also called for a United Nations investigations into the violence during the September 19 and 20 anti-Kabila demonstrations which left at least 53 dead, including four policemen, according to the UN.

The Congolese government on Tuesday accused the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, of encouraging extremism when he stated that Kabila should respect the Constitution and step down as president.

Ayrault has called for sanctions on the country and the request will be reviewed by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the European Union on October 17.

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