Congo lashes out at Belgium and its ministers
Congolese president says Belgium-Congo master and servant days are over.25 April 2008
BELGIUM - Congolese president Joseph Kabila has lashed out heavily at Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht and the rest of the Belgian ministerial delegation that ended their visit to his country on Wednesday.
In an interview with the Francophone daily Le Soir, Kabila says that the days of the master and servant relationship are long gone.
“Congo is now a sovereign state that no longer accepts a Belgian delegation to come to Kinshasa and tell us how to run our country.”
The Congolese president strongly rejects the role of guardian he says Belgium continues to take on.
In the interview, Kabila also launches a personal attack against De Gucht, and says that all missions led by the Foreign Minister are driven by arrogance.
Belgian Foreign Minister not amused
Kabila’s sharp words follow earlier remarks by De Gucht that the relationship between Congo and its former coloniser seems to have reached a turning point. Only a few days ago, De Gucht mentioned “certain frictions” between Kinshasa and Brussels.
In a reaction, the Belgian foreign minister calls Kabila’s attitude “wrong”.
Still, De Gucht refutes the accusation that Belgium is behaving in a patronising manner.
“I take note of the fact that my statements are perceived as arrogant,” De Gucht says in a reaction to the VRT radio.
“We are a country that for a very long time now has invested enormously in Congo. We’ve helped the country to resume the road to peace and democracy and I quite honestly don’t understand the relationship this has lead to.”
According to De Gucht, the Congolese president’s reproaches simply don’t make sense.
“Our mission consisted of three cabinet ministers, Defence Minister Pieter De Crem, International Development Minister Charles Michel and myself.”
“Every single one of my statements had been approved of by the two other ministers and our message was univocal to the very last minute in that it underlined the situation of human rights.”
De Gucht isn’t at all convinced that Kinshasa, by turning its back on Belgium and putting all its hopes on the economic relations with China, is doing the right thing.
[flandersenews.be / Expatica]