The European Union (EU) on Friday condemned violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between supporters of the two rival presidential candidates and urged the two to exercise restraint.
"The European Union deplores and condemns the unacceptable acts of violence which occurred in Kinshasa between Aug. 20 and 22," EU foreign ministers said in a statement.
"It appeals to Congolese leaders' sense of responsibility, and especially the two candidates in the second round of the presidential election -- President Kabila and Vice President Bemba- - to show restraint and refrain from any provocation," said the statement agreed upon by the ministers in an extraordinary meeting.
Fighting broke out between forces loyal to President Joseph Kabila and those loyal to his deputy Jean-Pierre Bemba after results were published on Sunday. The results showed that the two men had to compete in a run-off in October.
"The European Union reiterates that the democratic process under way must be taken to its conclusion and that the use of force in any form is unacceptable," said the EU ministers on Friday.
"Any disagreements must be resolved peacefully, within the legal framework laid down for complaints and appeals."
The EU urged both candidates to conduct a constructive campaign, focusing on the Congolese people's concerns and their hopes of seeing their country return to peace and stability.
They also asked for respect and support for the role of the Independent Electoral Commission.
The EU pledged to remain fully committed to ensuring the smooth conduct of the electoral process. The EU's electoral observation mission will remain in place to observe the continuation of the electoral process, they said.