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US Envoy Calls for DRC Elections in 2018


U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is received upon arriving at the N'Djili International Airport in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Oct. 25, 2017.

U.S. envoy Nikki Haley says the Democratic Republic of Congo must hold long-delayed elections next year or it won't receive international help with the vote.

Haley spoke to reporters in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, after a meeting Friday with the country's electoral commission.

"We need free and fair elections to happen in 2018 at the latest, and not the end of 2018 — we need to have them sooner," she said. She called on President Joseph Kabila to announce elections will take place next year.

FILE - Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila arrives for a southern and central African leaders' meeting to discuss the political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Luanda, Angola.
FILE - Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila arrives for a southern and central African leaders' meeting to discuss the political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Luanda, Angola.

The DRC was due to have elections in 2016, but none took place and Kabila has refused to step down even though his second term expired last December.

Congo's electoral commission has said it will not be ready to conduct elections until April 2019 at the earliest. The opposition accuses Kabila of trying to buy time until he can change the constitution and eliminate term limits.

"The U.S. will not support anything in 2019. The international community will not support anything in 2019," Haley said Friday.

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