(UNITED NATIONS) — The U.N. Security Council is calling for “a violence-free environment” for what could be historic elections in Congo on Sunday, noting with concern recent incidents that resulted in loss of life and significant damage.

A council statement Tuesday calls on Congo’s government to investigate the incidents and urges all political players “to uphold the freedom of expression, assembly and unhindered campaigning which are the hallmarks of the democratic exercise of the will of the people.”

Congo President Joseph Kabila is stepping aside after taking power in 2001, and the Security Council says the long-delayed election is a first chance for the country’s peaceful transfer of power.

Council members are urging the government and opposition to stop all violence and violent speeches and ensure that the elections are transparent and credible.

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