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President Tshisekedi Restores Relations With Belgium

President Felix Tshisekedi has restored diplomatic relations with the former colonial master Belgium after the two countries fell out two years ago.

On Tuesday Tshisekedi announced the resumption of military cooperation with Belgium.

In warming up to the new found love, Belgium government sent its Foreign Minister Didier Reynders to Kinshasa to meet with Tshisekedi days after he had met with Rwanda’s Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba.

“Between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Kingdom of Belgium, it is time for the bilateral multi-sectoral recovery, particularly in the military field,” a statement from DRC presidency said.

“An exchange of ambassadors will be able to take place soon,” Belgium said in a statement seemingly welcoming this move.

According to Brussels, the aim of this mission is to “establish contacts with the new authorities”, “to reinvigorate our bilateral relations.”

Former President Joseph Kabila had severed relations with Belgium for criticising his crackdown on demonstrations demanding his departure after the end of his second and final constitutional mandate in December 2016.

In January 2018, the DRC announced the closure of the Schengen House, a kind of European consulate managed by Brussels, the end of the activities of the Belgian development agency Enabel in Congo as well as the reduction of the frequency of Brussels Airlines flights between the two countries.

Brussels had recalled his ambassador and was only represented by a chargé d’affaires in Kinshasa.

Belgium was also pleased to see the European Visas Center (CEV), which took over from the Schengen House, “operate in full capacity”.

Brussels “hailed” “the restoration of the Brussels-Kinshasa flight frequencies of Brussels SN Airlines”.

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