VATICAN: Pope Meets President Kabila, Holds Discussion on Clashes in DRC

VATICAN CITY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016 (CISA) – Pope Francis received President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in audience at the Vatican Apostolic Palace on September 26, 2016.

A statement from the Holy See’s Press Office said the pair held “cordial discussions,” which focused on recent clashes between security forces and anti-Kabila protesters.

“Emphasis was placed on the importance of collaboration between political actors and representatives of civil society and religious communities, in favour of the common good, through a respectful and inclusive dialogue for the stability of peace in the country,” the Holy See’s Press Office said in a statement reported by Vatican radio.

The Parties also focused on the persistent violence suffered by the population in the east of the country, and on the urgency of cooperation at national and international levels, in order to provide the necessary assistance and to re-establish civil co-existence.

Scores of people have been killed when thousands of protesters gathered in the capital Kinshasa earlier in September to call for Kabila to step down when his mandate ends in December.

DRC is scheduled to hold elections in November but the country’s electoral commission has said they will be delayed until 2017 at the earliest while the country’s voter register is updated.

“During their discussions, the good relations between the Holy See and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were evoked. With particular reference to the important contribution of the Catholic Church in the life of the nation and with its institutions in the educational, social and healthcare spheres, as well as in development and the reduction of poverty,” read the statement.

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