Europe

EU steps up pressure on Congo to end unrest, organize polls

FILE - In this Friday, June 24, 2016 file photo, Vote Leave campaigner Boris Johnson arrives for a press conference at Vote Leave headquarters in London . In the crucial days before Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson embraced Britain’s “leave campaign,” he wrote a newspaper column explaining why Britain should remain inside the European Union _ but those forceful words were never published before Britain’s June 23 vote. The Sunday Times has now published Johnson’s pro-EU column, which outlines his fears about leaving the EU on SUnday, Oct. 16, 2016.  (Mary Turner/Pool via AP, File)

FILE - In this Friday, June 24, 2016 file photo, Vote Leave campaigner Boris Johnson arrives for a press conference at Vote Leave headquarters in London . In the crucial days before Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson embraced Britain’s “leave campaign,” he wrote a newspaper column explaining why Britain should remain inside the European Union _ but those forceful words were never published before Britain’s June 23 vote. The Sunday Times has now published Johnson’s pro-EU column, which outlines his fears about leaving the EU on SUnday, Oct. 16, 2016. (Mary Turner/Pool via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

The European Union is ready to step up pressure on the Democratic Republic of Congo, including imposing sanctions, to end the unrest in the east of the vast nation and to push for elections next year.

The 28 EU foreign ministers said in a statement Monday the bloc "will use all the means at its disposal, including individual restrictive measures" against those that commit violence and human rights abuses.

Dozens died in Kinshasa in September after security forces clashed with anti-government demonstrators opposed to delaying long-anticipated elections. Fighting in the east is also worry.

Congo's electoral commission says a national election, originally scheduled for next month, will likely take place at the end of 2018 but the EU ministers said the polls must happen "as soon as possible in 2017."