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DRC President Kabila meets with Pope to discuss African country's unrest

September 26, 2016

Pope Francis met on September 26 with President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to discuss the continued violence and unrest in the African nation.

Although a brief Vatican statement described the discussions as "cordial," reporters noticed that the Pope omitted the usual reception for the African leader, instead speaking privately with Kabila in the library of the apostolic palace. The Vatican statement indicated that their conversation focused on "the recent clashes that have occurred in the capital" and "the importance of collaboration between political actors and representatives of civil scoiety and religious communities." The statement also mentioned the "persistent violence suffered by the population in the east of the country."

The Catholic bishops of the DRC recently suspended their participation in "national dialogue" talks, after dozens of people were killed in political violence in Kinshasa, the nation's capital. Kabila announced that he was postponing elections because of the violence.

The Catholic bishops had earlier threatened to withdraw completely from the "national dialogue" if Kabila carried through with his plan to seek a 3rd presidential term—which is prohibited by the nation's constitution.


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