Belgian consulates in Congo closed indefinitely
The Congolese government has closed down the Belgian consulates in Lubumbashi and Bukavu indefinitely.3 June 2008
BELGIUM - The Congolese government has closed down the Belgian consulates in the cities of Bukavu and Lubumbashi indefinitely.
The reopening of the consulates will depend on the development of the strained relations between Belgium and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme regrets the Congolese decision to move ahead to actually close down consulates.
Relations between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Belgium have become strained in May.
In May, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht upset the Congolese authorities by insisting on greater transparency in economic affairs and more action against corruption when he was in Congo.
De Gucht further upset the Congolese authorities when he went on to comment that Belgium has the moral rights to demand more ethical behaviour in Congo in a TV interview two weeks ago.
The Congolese authorities accused De Gucht of neo-colonial behaviour. De Gucht however feels that his approach is the only way of changing the situation in the Congo for the benefit of the people.
PM Leterme is in favour of a constructive dialogue with the Congolese authorities to return relations to normal.
[flandersnews.be / Expatica]