Brussels, Belgium —
The European Union said Wednesday that it was canceling sending election observers to the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of next month’s elections for technical reasons.
The announcement came one day after the European Union stated that monitoring teams could not be sent to various regions of the Central African country due to security reasons.
The impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo, a country of about 100 million people, is in turmoil, with dozens of armed groups active in the country’s east, where UN peacekeepers and East African Community soldiers are deployed.
The campaign period for the parliamentary and presidential elections on December 20 began 10 days ago.
“Due to technical difficulties beyond the EU’s control, we were forced to cancel the election observation mission,” EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said in a statement.
Asked by AFP, he said that essential communications equipment could not be provided to the team.
The European Union encourages the authorities and all stakeholders to continue working to ensure that the Congolese people can fully exercise their political and civil rights in elections, Massrali added in the statement.
He added that the European Union was studying other options with officials in Congo, including the possibility of organizing a team of election experts to oversee the voting process from the country’s capital, Kinshasa.
The European Union’s top foreign policy official, Josep Borrell, on December 6 announced the first EU election observation mission to the country in more than a decade.
He said that next month would be an important moment for the consolidation of democracy in Congo and the country’s bilateral cooperation with the European Union. (ns/hour)