The Latest: AU urges Congo to suspend final election results

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KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The Latest on Congo’s disputed presidential election (all times local):

10:45 p.m.

An African Union statement backed by heads of state is calling on Congo’s government to suspend the announcement of final presidential election results because of “serious doubts” about the vote.

The statement comes as Congo’s constitutional court is poised to rule as early as Friday on a challenge filed by the election’s declared runner-up. Martin Fayulu has requested a recount, alleging fraud.

The AU statement says heads of state agreed to “urgently dispatch” a high-level delegation to Congo with “the view to reaching a consensus on a way out of the post-electoral crisis.”

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The crisis could lead to violence in the vast Central African nation rich in the minerals key to smartphones and electric cars around the world.

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2:50 p.m.

A grouping of African states is urging the international community to respect Congo’s sovereignty and legal processes as its constitutional court is set to rule on a challenge to the presidential election results.

The statement also urges calm and comes after leaders in the Southern African Development Community met Thursday on the disputed vote.

The declared runner-up, Martin Fayulu, filed a court challenge asking for a recount and accuses outgoing President Joseph Kabila of making a backroom deal with the declared winner, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi.

The court could rule as early as Friday and is full of Kabila appointees.

Pressure from African nations is seen as having more of an impact on Congo’s government, which was annoyed by Western pressure during more than two years of turbulent election delays.

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