Elections in the DRC: Towards a withdrawal of observers from the European Union?


The European Union observation mission still does not have all the authorizations to use its communications equipment in the DRC. The situation is becoming critical, according to certain European chancelleries, given the relatively tight deadlines and the numerous operations to be covered by the mission. Discussions are said to be underway and a withdrawal from the mission is not excluded.

Several European diplomatic sources confirm that discussions are underway: “Nothing has been decided one way or the other, but there is a big problem,” even confides a diplomat stationed in Kinshasa. These are exchanges between Kinshasa and Brussels which must therefore decide the future of the European Union observation mission, explains our special correspondent in Kinshasa, Paulina Zidi.

At the heart of the blockage, the deployment of communications equipment, particularly satellite phones, while the first teams of the mission were to deploy in the country. Arriving on November 17, around forty long-term observers spent a few days in the capital training. They then had to travel to 17 of the country’s 26 provinces. And on the day of the vote, the EU must have nearly a hundred people on the ground.

The Congolese government claims to have been informed late

Tuesday was seen as a deadline by certain European chancelleries, for which beyond this deadline, the mission could hardly be implemented. Despite these concerns, the Congolese authorities are adopting a more balanced posture, reports our correspondent in Kinshasa, Patient Ligodi.

Peter Kazadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, told RFI that he had only been informed of the situation on Monday. That same day, he had discussions with members of the European Union delegation as well as with certain observers. According to him, details concerning the equipment in question were only transmitted on Monday, specifying that the specifications of this equipment had to be known and validated by the Congolese services. He announced a new working meeting on the subject this Wednesday. “It is a question of responsibility, sovereignty and above all security for everyone,” also confided a source at the Presidency of the Republic.

The decision on the future of this mission should be announced quickly. An official declaration which should not come from the teams in Kinshasa, but from the office of Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy.

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