This is the escalation between the DRC and the European Union (EU). Kinshasa, by the voice of Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Leonard She Okitundu, gave Thursday, December 27, a 48 hour ultimatum to the Belgian ambassador in DRC, the Belgian Bart Ouvry, to leave the Congolese territory.

Kinshasa's decision, She Okitundu says, are reprisals following the EU's continuation of sanctions against a dozen of Congolese officials, including Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the candidate of the outgoing majority in the presidential election. This measure of the Congolese Government falls to three days of the polls scheduled Sunday, December 30.

"The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo urges the European Council to make it imperative, within 48 hours, to recall its head of mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo", the head of Congolese diplomacy said.

Bart Ouvry indexed VPM

She Okitundu was speaking in an audience of diplomats in Kinshasa, including the head of mission of the European Union, Bart Ouvry. "This measure of sanctions, on the one hand, the reprehensible behavior of the interested party and, on the other hand, falls within the framework of the reciprocity", underlined the boss of the Congolese diplomacy.

In his communication, She Okitundu spoke of "sanctions imposed unilaterally by the European Council on prominent Congolese people".

All rules of resorts ended

The Foreign Minister recalls that he has ended all the resorts before coming to this decision. "I sent a final reminder to the European Council on behalf of the Government for the reconsideration of these sanctions, preferably prior to the progress of the elections. This last-chance approach ultimately proved futile", She Okitundu reveals.

"This plea, patiently committed, remains unheard, especially after the renewal of said measures by the European Council in December 2018", the Minister of Foreign Affairs explained. The European Union announced on December 10 the prolongation for one year, until December 2019, of the said sanctions, taken in 2016. Well before the date of prolongation of these sanctions, Kinshasa had called for the cancellation of these measures which are the freezing of possessions and the ban of visa.

Unfortunately a call not heard by the Council of the EU which, in its statement of December 10, had promised to "re-examine these restrictive measures, given the elections in the DRC and stands ready to adapt accordingly..."