UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged the government and opposition in the Democratic Republic of Congo to work constructively to reach a deal on elections, during talks mediated by the Catholic church.
Ban deplored the loss of life after clashes left 19 dead during demonstrations held in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and other towns on Tuesday, when President Joseph Kabila's second term was to end.
The UN chief "is closely monitoring developments" and urges all parties to "work constructively and in good faith on the outstanding issues related to transitional arrangements leading to the elections," said a statement from his spokesman.
The talks brokered by the CENCO Episcopal Conference resumed on Wednesday after a round of meetings at the weekend ended with no progress.
Ban urges all politicians to "de-escalate tensions and create an environment conducive to the successful completion of the CENCO-facilitated dialogue and the holding of timely, credible and transparent elections," he added.
Among Africa's biggest and most resource-rich countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been in turmoil over Kabila's plan to delay the presidential election.
Kabila came to power in 2001 after his father Laurent was assassinated. He was elected in 2006 to his first five-year term under a constitution that sets a two-term limit for presidents.
Ban called on Congolese security forces to show the "utmost restraint" after dozens of people were killed in violence over past months.