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African Union urges EU to lift sanctions on Congo candidate

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The African Union Peace and Security Council is urging the European Union to lift sanctions on Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s chosen successor less than a month before a historic election.

Ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary was sanctioned by the EU last year for obstructing the electoral process and related human rights violations.

The AU communique, without naming Shadary, says lifting sanctions will help lead to “free, fair, credible and peaceful elections” in Congo.

The mineral-rich Central African nation on Dec. 23 faces what could be its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power. The opposition fears that Kabila, who has ruled since 2001, will assert power behind the scenes if Shadary wins.

The AU council in the past has condemned what it called “extra-continental interferences in AU member states’ affairs.”

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