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European Union to Order Sanctions Against DRCongo

The EU will on Monday demand that the Democratic Republic of Congo hold elections early next year or face fresh sanctions, EU diplomatic sources said.

Deadly clashes rocked the capital Kinshasa in September as the opposition called for President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, to step down amid fears he wanted to stay in office after his term ends in December.

One EU diplomat said on Friday that foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday would begin drawing up a list of figures believed to be hostile to elections.

"We need sufficient proof to sanction them," said the diplomat, on condition of anonymity, pointing to "people around Kabila" as likely targets.

Another EU diplomat said the September clashes, which left at least 50 dead, marked "a game changer" and additional action had to be considered.

Shortly after the killings, Washington put two close Kabila allies — army commander Major General Gabriel Amisi Kumba and former inspector of police, General John Numbi — on its sanctions blacklist for undermining democracy.

Kabila first took office in 2001 and in 2006, a new constitutional provision limited the presidency to a two-term limit which expires in December.

At the beginning of this month, the DRC’s electoral commission said it would seek to delay a vote until November 2017.

The EU diplomats in contrast said the bloc wanted presidential and legislative elections to be held as early as possible next year.

The EU has over the years imposed a series of sanctions — trade restrictions, asset freezes and travel bans — on the DRC over rights abuses.


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