Speaking from New York, Minister for Africa and the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood, said:
I am deeply concerned about the violence around protests in Kinshasa and other cities including reports that a number of civilians and policemen have been killed. I urge both the DRC Government and opposition parties to take measures to calm the situation. The Congolese people’s democratic right to peaceful protest must be protected.
The DRC’s constitution is clear that the democratic aspirations of the Congolese people should be met through elections, particularly Presidential elections. This is also the unanimous view of the UN Security Council. The United Kingdom regrets that these elections have not been called, 3 months before the end of the President’s term, as the Constitution requires. I call on all sides to reach agreement urgently on a date for Presidential elections as soon as possible in 2017.
The UK has made clear that it stands ready to support the DRC’s electoral process both financially and diplomatically. However the primary responsibility for organising elections rests with the Government of the DRC. One of the greatest legacies President Kabila can leave his people is a peaceful and democratic transition of power, the first in the DRC’s history. We urge President Kabila and his government to rapidly deliver on this responsibility.