Congo mediators say no deal before Christmas, talks on hold

The announcement comes after representatives held overnight talks until 5:30 am in an effort to reach an agreement

By: AP | Kinshasa | Published:December 24, 2016 7:53 pm
Residents chant slogans against Congolese President Joseph Kabila as peacekeepers serving in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) patrol during demonstrations in the streets of the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, December 20, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya Residents chant slogans against Congolese President Joseph Kabila as peacekeepers serving in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) patrol during demonstrations in the streets of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa, December 20, 2016. (Source: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya)

Mediators in Congo say they won’t make a Christmas deadline to resolve the country’s political impasse.

The announcement Saturday comes after representatives held overnight talks until 5:30 am in an effort to reach an agreement.

On Friday, the opposition had expressed new optimism, saying a working document would have President Joseph Kabila remain in power but only until an election in 2017. The presidential majority says it thinks elections in early 2018 are more likely.

The political dispute has raised fears of widespread unrest in this vast Central African nation. Already at least 40 people have died in violence in the past week, the U.N. says.

Kabila has been in power since 2001 and is barred from running again. Critics accuse him of delaying elections to extend his rule.

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