Three Belgian ministers visit Congo

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Foreign minister praised the working of the Congolese parliament but added that more needs to be done about human rights issue.

23 April 2008

CONGO - Belgium has sent an extensive delegation to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Defence Minister Pieter De Crem was first received by President Joseph Kabila. He was later joined by Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht and the Minister of Developmental Cooperation Charles Michel.

The three Belgian ministers first met together with the Congolese Foreign Minister Antipas Mbuza.

Defence Minister Pieter De Crem has been in Congo since last Thursday. Karel De Gucht and Charles Michel joined him on Monday.
The aim of the joint visit of the three ministers is to emphasise the new Belgian government's commitment towards Central Africa and Congo.

According to Foreign Minister De Gucht, economically there is much that must be done in Congo.

De Gucht said it was time for Belgium to forge a real partnership with its former colony. He praised the working of the Congolese parliament.

Words of criticism too
De Gucht also called on the Congolese authorities to moderate the use of violence and to improve its record regarding human rights. He said this in a speech at the Belgian embassy in Kinshasa.

De Gucht encouraged the Congolese government to do something about what he called the "fable-like privileges of the few".

The Belgian authorities realised that such blatant statements would be controversial, but De Gucht thought they needed to be said nevertheless.

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