Thousands of Congolese gathered in the capital's main stadium to show support for the president, who is about to begin talks ahead of the November elections amid expectations that the polls will be delayed.

The rally was addressed Friday by the ruling party's secretary-general Aubin Minaku who said the talks are meant to foster peace and will begin Sunday, with an African Union mediator.

Congo's opposition has said it will not participate in the dialogue unless political prisoners are released and international bodies, including the U.N., participate. Opposition leaders say President Joseph Kabila is delaying elections to remain in power beyond his mandate. The constitutional court says he can remain in power if elections are postponed.

Congo has never had a peaceful transition of power.