The African Union Peace and Security Council, in a statement issued on Tuesday November 27th, urged the European Union to lift the sanctions imposed on Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who is a presidential candidate in the upcoming December 2018 presidential elections.
Shadary is a would-be successor to Congolese President Joseph Kabila as a candidate of People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), the ruling party. Shadary was sanctioned by the European Union last year on charges of human rights abuses that obstructed the electoral process.
Although the African Union statement did not mention Shadary directly, it said that lifting sanctions was an important step in the direction of "free, fair, credible and peaceful elections" in Congo.
In the last week of this year, Congo is witnessing elections, described by commentators as historic, where it aspires to the first peaceful and democratic transition of power. The opposition has raised fears that Kabila, who has been running the country since 2001, will be the actual president of the country if Mr Shadary wins.
The Council of the African Union has condemned what it considered discriminatory sanctions against leaders of the continent by the international community.