UN Security Council envoys hold "fruitful" exchange on DRC elections

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Members of the United Nations Security Council speaks to the press after meeting with President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 12 November 2016. Photo/Ph. Joh Bompengo of Radio Okapi

An exchange between President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a delegation of the UN Security Council in the capital city of Kinshasa has been described as "fruitful and reassuring".

That's what the Angolan Ambassador to the UN, Ismael Abrao Gaspar, told the press on Saturday.

A presidential vote, originally scheduled for 27 November, continues to be a deeply divisive issue in the DRC.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

President Kabila's term ends on 19 December this year.

Last month, the Constitutional Court granted a petition of the National Electoral Commission (CENI) to postpone the elections to 2018.

Meanwhile, on 18 October, participants in the "national dialogue" on elections signed an agreement to hold the elections in April 2018.

However, the dialogue is being boycotted by several of the main opposition groups, which have formed a coalition called "Rassemblement".

The group has been staging popular protests on the 19th every month to pressure President Kabila to step down.

During a three-day visiting mission to the country, the Security Council delegation called on Congolese political and social actors to adopt a consensual and inclusive electoral calendar.

It also urged the authorities to lift a ban on public demonstrations and allow fair access to the media for a "free and constructive political debate".

On Saturday, the UN-backed Radio Okapi signal was blurred momentarily, but Radio France International's signal is still cut.

The Council envoys will travel next to Beni in eastern DRC to assess the security situation there.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’15”

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