The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“With the end of the second mandate of President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC], Canada deplores the failure to democratically transition power in line with the constitution.
“Canada deeply regrets the lack of consensus through the inclusive national dialogue mediated by the Conférence Épiscopale Nationale du Congo [Congo national episcopal conference] [CENCO], aimed at finding a solution to the current political stalemate and at easing tensions in the country.
“Canada reiterates its support for the CENCO initiative and encourages all parties to put the interests of the Congolese people at the centre of their discussions as they work together toward an agreement laying the foundation for transparent, credible and peaceful elections, to be held as soon as possible.
“Canada deplores the violent confrontations observed today, which resulted in several casualties in various locations in the DRC. Our thoughts are with the victims and their family members.
“Canada is also concerned by reports of numerous arbitrary arrests and detentions, including of leaders and supporters of opposition groups, civil society activists and human rights defenders. Canada reminds the Congolese authorities of their obligation, during this critical period, to respect human rights, to create a climate of tolerance and to show restraint in their efforts to maintain order. Canada encourages all parties, including the Congolese people, to reject violence in the exercise of their civil and political rights.
“Canada will continue to monitor closely the evolution of the situation in the DRC. Canada will review its relations with the Congolese government.”Distributed by APO on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs Canada.