France warns of 'explosive' situation in DR Congo

11th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe warned on Sunday that the standoff over the Democratic Republic of Congo's disputed election was "explosive" and urged everything to be done to avoid violence.

"The situation is explosive, I'm well aware. The temptation to resort to violence is extremely strong, so we are trying to do everything possible to avoid this," he told TV5 television and Radio France International.

The country's election standoff intensified Sunday after a team of international observers reported that incumbent Joseph Kabila's win was so flawed it lacked credibility.

Kabila, in power since 2001, was on Friday named the winner of the November 28 poll, but runner-up Etienne Tshisekedi immediately rejected the result and declared himself president.

Violent protests and looting erupted in Kinshasa when Kabila's win was announced, but a heavy security force presence including police, presidential guards and some 20,000 soldiers deployed to the capital had largely restored a tense calm Sunday.

"We are having a hard time getting a precise idea of the way in which the elections were held," Juppe said, noting the international observers' criticisms.

"What we have done, really without interruption for weeks, is to send the same message to the supporters of Kabila and to the supporters of Tshisekedi: do not resort to violence, find a solution through dialogue," Juppe said.

"Unfortunately, we are not being listened to for the moment," he said, urging the African Union and other regional groups to "increase their pressure" on the country's political actors.

© 2011 AFP

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