Belgian PM at Francophone summit in Quebec

20th October 2008, Comments 0 comments

The urgency of the global financial crisis however has overshadowed the 12th Francophonie summit in Quebec city.

20 October 2008

Quebec - The 12th Francophonie summit  wrapped up in Quebec city. Members of La Francophonie discussed issues concerning the French-speaking world. Sunday's agenda included talks concerning democracy, the environment and the struggle of the French language. The urgency of the global financial crisis however has overshadowed the event.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, attending the summit, offered to host an emergency meeting of leaders of the G8 and other nations before December.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy attended the first 24 hours of the event, but left early to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush to discuss the economic meltdown. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon filled in for Sarkozy.

Belgian PM Yves Leterme arrived late, having first gone to Iceland to discuss the crisis over the Kaupthing Bank with his Icelandic counterpart Geir Haarde.

Economic relations with Canada

Economic relations with Canadian companies were also on the Prime Minister's agenda.

Yves Leterme's meetings included one with the Canadian engineering company SNC Lavalin, which employs 300 people in Antwerp, Brussels and Liège and has announced its intention to double its activities in Belgium.

Belgian PM extends a hand to DR Congo to restore relations

Yves Leterme also met with a delegation of President Joseph Kabila of DR Congo in the hope of improving ties between the two countries.

Last May Kinshasa recalled its ambassador to Brussels after the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs Karel De Gucht reportedly made "insulting" comments about President Kabila and the Congolese leaders.

After closing its consulate in Antwerp, DR Congo ordered the closing of the Belgian consulates in Bukavu and Lubumbashi as well.

Since then, diplomatic relations between the two countries have been cold and all attempts by the Belgian Prime Minister to contact President Kabila on phone to normalize them has failed.

[ / Expatica]

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