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Elections in the DRC: European observers blocked by insecurity

Elections in the DRC: European observers blocked by insecurity
People queue at the door of a registration center on the first day of operations in Goma,   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

The European Union indicated on Tuesday that its observers sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) before the December 20 elections were unable to "deploy across the country for security reasons", which makes their mission "impossible" eventually.

The forty EU observers are "currently unable to deploy in the country for security reasons" which "makes the necessary long-term observation impossible", declared a spokesperson for the EU. EU. This is “studying the various possible options, in conjunction with the DRC authorities,” he added.

The dispatch of this European electoral observation mission, the first to the DRC in more than 10 years, was announced at the beginning of November by the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell. “The coming months will be decisive for democratic consolidation in the DRC and bilateral cooperation between the DRC and the EU,” he stressed.

The campaign for the parliamentary and presidential elections began on November 19 in the DRC, a vast country of nearly 100 million inhabitants. President Felix Tshisekedi, 60, is a candidate for re-election there.

The country has been rocked for nearly 30 years by violence by armed groups in the east, where peacekeepers from the UN and the East African Community (EAC) are deployed.

Violence in the east is currently peaking with the return to the scene of an old rebellion, the M23, supported by neighboring Rwanda and which has seized large parts of the North Kivu region.

The government of President Tshisekedi has decided not to renew beyond December 8 the mandate of the EAC force deployed to fight against the M23.

At the same time, the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), present in the DRC since 1999, declared last Wednesday that it had signed with the government a plan to withdraw its 14,000 peacekeepers deployed in the country, mainly in the East.

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