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EU Calls for 'Spirit of Reconciliation' in Democratic Republic of Congo


European Union envoys say the recent violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that killed as many as 500 people was "irresponsible" and should be replaced with a spirit of reconciliation and inclusiveness.

At a news conference Tuesday in the capital, Kinshasa, the envoys condemned the civilian deaths during last week's fighting.

Britain's ambassador to Congo said that a "war spirit" remains in the country. He likened it to malaria.

On Wednesday, a South African diplomat told the French news agency AFP that former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba may soon be evacuated to Portugal to receive medical treatment for an old leg injury.

Bemba has taken refuge at the South African embassy following last week's clashes between his soldiers and government troops in Kinshasa. South African officials say he can stay there as long as he likes.

DRC authorities have accused Bemba of treason.

Britain's ambassador to Congo says that because Bemba won 42 percent of the vote in last year's presidential election, the security of the country is linked to what happens to Bemba.

The U.S. State Department has condemned the violence, calling on Congo's leaders to respect democratic processes.

On Monday, President Joseph Kabila defended the use of government force, saying order had to be restored at all costs.

Bemba was a rebel commander during the DRC's civil war, which left more than 4 million people dead, mostly from hunger and disease.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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