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UN calls for a 'peaceful transition and election' in DRC

UN calls for a 'peaceful transition and election' in DRC

Democratic Republic Of Congo

A UN Security Council delegation that is visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo has called for a “peaceful transition” to a “peaceful election” in a country divided over the postponement of the upcoming presidential election.

Representatives of the 15 member countries of the Security Council met on Saturday, on the second day of their visit with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, members of the opposition, Catholic bishops and representatives of the civil society.

“Everyone wants a consensus on the search for a political solution based on respect for the constitution,” the French ambassador to the United Nations, François Delattre, told a press conference in the evening.

The possibility of a change in the Constitution to allow Mr. Kabila to run for a new term has not been “taken as a possibility” to exit the crisis, added the Angolan ambassador to the UN, Ismael Abraao. There is “no question of third mandate” for President Kabila, he said.

Earlier in the day, Delattre said that during the meeting with Kabila, the delegation noted that “DRC is at a pivotal moment in its history, and that a peaceful transition must lead to peaceful elections.”

“It is up to the living forces to keep the country on the road to peace,” the French diplomat said.

On Friday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the delegation to denounce the “political repression” in DRC “to avoid a large-scale crisis.”

The DRC has been in deep political crisis since the re-election of President Kabila in 2011 after a disputed election. The crisis was compounded by the postponement to April 2018 of the presidential election which was to be held before the end of 2016.

This referral was decided last October by the executive and fringe opposition parties. However, the main opposition has rejected the agreement as a result of a “national dialogue” and pleaded for the holding of the elections in 2017.

President Kabila invited the delegation to “listen to the Congolese and help them find a solution conceived by the people,” said government spokesman Lambert Mende.

“The agreement of 18 October should be seen as the basis, the starting point, the cornerstone towards which the international community must act to bring everyone back to a compromise,” he added.

Mr. Kabila has been in power since 2001 and his term expires on 20 December. The Constitution forbids him from running for a third term but he has remained silent about his intentions and his political future. His critics say he is seeking to extend his term in office.

Since January 2015, DRC has witnessed numerous protests called by the opposition and civil society groups to demand Kabila’s departure upon the expiry of his mandate.

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