Congo top diplomat promises elections after UN appeal

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The AU, EU, and UN have issued a statement calling for a peaceful resolution to the DRC’s political turmoil. Longtime President Joseph Kabila has not yet called elections that should have been held this year.

The United Nations, European Union and African Union issued a joint appeal on Saturday, calling on opposing forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo to put an end to the bloody turmoil that has followed anti-government protests earlier this week.

The three groups, along with the International Organization of La Francophonie, declared that they were “gravely concerned by the recent violent events in Kinshasa and elsewhere in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where protesters and security forces clashed, resulting in loss of life.”

They asked that “gravely concerned by the recent violent events in Kinshasa and elsewhere in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where protesters and security forces clashed, resulting in loss of life.”

The statement also requested that the government hold elections as soon as possible, the sore point at the center of this week’s demonstrations. President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the DRC since 2001, has declined to call new elections although they should have taken place this year. As he is ineligible to run for another term, many see his hesitation as a sign he intends to cling to power.

Calls for Kabila ouster

Protestors took to the streets of Kinshasa this week to call for Kabila’s resignation. Violent clashes then erupted between the opposition and security forces.

Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda hoped to quell the uncertainly on Saturday by assuring the UN General Assembly’s ministerial meeting that elections would take place as soon as all technical issues were resolved.

“Any recourse to using violence should be strongly condemned and the perpetrators punished,” Tshibanda added.

The clashes have left at least 32 people dead, including four policemen.

es/jm (AP, AFP, epd)