The European Union (EU) indicated on Tuesday, November 28, 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” in the long term.
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.
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The dispatch of this European electoral observation mission, the first to the DRC in more than ten 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 and bilateral cooperation between the DRC and the EU,” he stressed.
The campaign for the parliamentary and presidential elections began on November 19 in this vast Central African country of 100 million inhabitants, among the poorest on the continent. President Félix Tshisekedi, 60, is a candidate for re-election.
Peak of violence
The east of the country has been shaken for nearly thirty years by violence by armed groups. Peacekeepers from the UN and the East African Community (EAC) have been deployed there for more than two decades.
The “three borders” area has experienced a peak in violence since November 2021 with the return to the scene of an old rebellion, the March 23 Movement (M23), supported by neighboring Rwanda and which has seized large swaths of the North Kivu region.
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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 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.