Congo Leader Says Political Talks Crucial for Nation’s Stability

Democratic Republic of Congo leader Joseph Kabila said that talks with some of the political opposition under way in the capital, Kinshasa, are necessary to maintain peace and stability in Africa’s biggest copper producer.

“Our goal is to ensure the country becomes peaceful before, during and after the general elections to be held in December or after December,” Kabila said in an statement e-mailed by Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s office after the two met Tuesday.

Elections were due to be held on Nov. 27, but the national election body missed a September deadline to call the vote and now says that a requirement to register new voters means the polls can’t be held before November 2018.

An opposition delegation has rejoined talks with the ruling party after temporarily suspending discussions on Sept. 23 following the deaths of more than 34 people during protests. The talks facilitated by the African Union that began on Sept. 1 to negotiate a transition period were boycotted by Congo’s largest opposition parties. They say Kabila, who’s ruled since 2001, must step down when his second term ends in December as required by the constitution.

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