Congolese President invites King Filip to 60th years of independence celebrations

The Democratic Republic of Congo has invited King Filip to the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence from Belgium. The invitation was extended by the Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi through the Prime Minister in Belgium’s minority caretaker government Sophie Wilmès. Ms Wilmès is in Congo for (amongst other things) the re-opening of the Belgian Consulate in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s second city Lubumbashi. 

The Consulate in Lumbumbashi was closed a couple of years ago in protest at the delays in organising elections in DR Congo.  Like the re-opening of the Belgian Consulate, the invitation is a sign that relations between Belgium and Congo are improving.       

Speaking after her meeting with President Tshisekedi in the Congolese capital Kinshasa, Ms Wilmès said that the King had been invited to the 60th anniversary celebrations, but no response had been given yet. “We will have to see in June”. Ms Wilmès hopes that by then there will be a new government.  

Since President Tshisekedi took office, relations between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Belgium have improved. Last year, Belgium was the first European country Félix Tshisekedi visited as president.   

Ms Wilmès also said that she is prepared to resume military cooperation with Congo. Belgium also wants to start cooperation in the fields of development aid, police and judiciary. At the end of next month a large Belgian trade mission will visit Congo.