Political tensions rising ahead of Congolese elections

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Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson (third from right, front) addresses the Security Council meeting concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Political tensions are rising ahead of planned elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo according to the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Speaking in the Security Council on Thursday, Jan Eliasson urged the Congolese authorities to defuse tensions through dialogue.

Dianne Penn reports

The security situation remains extremely serious in the eastern part of the vast Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC.

Inter-communal violence is on the increase and rebel groups continue to attack defenceless civilians as government forces attempt to track them down.

Speaking to the UN Security Council, the UN deputy chief, Jan Eliasson, said dialogue was the way forward to resolve the issues facing the country.

"An inclusive and credible dialogue among Congolese stakeholders is the only realistic way to defuse political tensions, overcome the electoral impasse and prevent violence."

The DRC was due to hold elections in November this year but the government has said that is now unlikely, citing logistical problems.

Opposition members have reportedly accused President Joseph Kabila of delaying the vote in order to cling to power beyond his mandate.

Dianne Penn, United Nations

Duration: 59"

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