23 March 2007
BRUSSELS – “The safety of our fellow countrymen in Kinshasa is not being threatened,” said Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt (Open VLD) this morning after the cabinet meeting on Congo.
The Belgians are being “most strongly advised to stay home and not to travel until the situation has calmed down.”
The Belgian government is calling for an immediate stop to hostilities and hopes that the UN’s peace-keeping mission MONUC can help keep order. “At the same time we are asking the political leaders in Congo to find a lasting solution for the conflict that has arisen,” Verhofstadt said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Karel De Gucht (Open VLD) and his colleague Defence Minister André Flahaut (PS) have been requested to monitor the situation in Kinshasa round the clock and report regularly to the whole government.
The cabinet will re-evaluate the situation this afternoon.
For the second day in a row artillery fire could be heard in the Congolese capital this morning. Two civilians have been killed, UN radio Okapi has reported. The radio also reports that at least three people were killed in the fighting between Congolese government troops and the private militia of former vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba on Thursday.
[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Belgian news