Last night, the mandate of the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) came to an end, as stipulated by the Constitution. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo regret that elections were not organized before this date. They are very worried on the situation in the DRC. Despite the many good attempts by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO), an inclusive agreement could not be found to allow the organization of elections in the short term as well as an inclusive transition formula in the spirit of the Constitution. The Ministers deplore in particular that the government did not take measures to calm the situation but imposed numerous restrictions to rights and liberties. Belgium calls for an immediate restoration of freedom of expression, communication, association, peaceful demonstration and for the independence of the judiciary.
For the Ministers Reynders and De Croo, the current situation is very serious. They call on all actors to act in the interest of the state and to maintain the peaceful character of all actions. Belgium supports the continuing efforts of the CENCO to quickly find a transitional arrangement and electoral modalities that give enough legitimacy to the transitional government to face the current crisis and to prepare elections.
As there is no inclusive agreement, relations between Belgium and the Democratic Republic of Congo will be re-examined, with the greatest circumspection for any new engagement with the current authorities. Belgium, in close consultation with all partners, will remain very vigilant regarding individual responsibilities in the context of human rights abuses and obstruction of the democratic process. In their conversations with the authorities, the Ministers will insist on the protection of rights and liberties and the security of the population, including foreign nationals.