Congo boycotts 2 UN events because it wasn’t consulted

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Congo is boycotting two planned U.N. events focusing on the central African nation because it was not consulted on the agenda or expected outcome, the president’s top adviser said Wednesday.

Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi told The Associated Press the government was informed that as a result the meetings had been canceled.

He said Thursday’s planned meeting, hosted by Germany and U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix, was for special envoys on central Africa, “but we all know that the main issue there was going to be the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

A second ministerial meeting Friday organized by the United Nations was “to review all aspects of problems facing the Congo,” Kikaya Bin Karubi said.

“The problem is that these meetings were planned without consultations with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said. “We are of the opinion that to organize such a meeting, we must give our input … so we know what are the objectives, what are we going to achieve.”

For that reason, Kikaya Bin Karubi said the government wrote to all the hosts and the United Nations “explaining the reasons why we could not attend.”

“They were very disappointed and were trying to convince us to attend the meeting anyhow, but our decision was final,” he said. “We told them we will not go to a meeting that will bind us, maybe with a resolution or a statement or a communique because we don’t know what the objectives are.”

Kikaya Bin Karubi said the government didn’t know whether either meeting was going to discuss Congo’s mining sector, development issues, the Ebola outbreak, presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for December, or something else.

“Congo can no longer accept to attend meetings as participants” when it hasn’t been consulted, he said. “I think we got our message across. They understood what we wanted and that’s why the meetings have been canceled.”

Congo is a vast country with trillions of dollars’ worth of mineral wealth which dozens of armed groups are battling over. Millions of Congolese have been displaced by various internal conflicts, and unrest in the northeast is posing a challenge to tackling the latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

President Joseph Kabila stressed in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that long-delayed elections will go ahead on Dec. 23. His mandate ended in December 2016 but he remained in office because of delays in holding elections, which sparked deadly protests.

Kikaya Bin Karubi stressed that the government hasn’t “closed doors” to meetings at the United Nations or elsewhere.

“In the future, if anybody wants to organize a meeting on the Democratic Republic of Congo, there must be prior consultations with the government so that we can design clearly what are the objectives, what are we going to achieve,” he said.

“Then, we can come up with a communique or a statement that would serve the cause of Congo,” Kikaya Bin Karubi said.

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