The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where tensions escalated this week in Kinshasa, was frequently mentioned during bilateral and multilateral meetings held by Belgian ministers with African leaders. “Everyone raised their serious concern after the violent attacks which occurred in Kinshasa” causing several several tens of deaths at the beginning of the week in the Congolese capital, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders, commented.
He went on, “We must reduce the climate of violence. We are also launching an appeal for calm by the authorities, who have sometimes used a disproportionate amount of force.”
Moreover, the various negotiators, including the UN, clearly have the will to see genuine political dialogue between all Congolese political players, including Etienne Tshisekedi and Moïse Katumbi, the Minister for Foreign Affairs further stated.
Everyone insists that a date should be swiftly fixed for elections, and that guarantees are made for all candidates to enjoy a sufficient public forum.
Reynders considered, “It is also necessary to ascertain whether a genuine plan of action is put forward by candidates. They should give out a clear message of the type of government that they wish to promote.”
The bilateral meetings have also been a chance to stimulate discussions around the situation in Burundi. He further said, “We have stressed the importance of the Arusha accords, and also that ethnic proportions are not called into question.”
Lastly, Belgium has applied for a non-permanent position on the UN Security Council. Mr Reynders feels that generally this has been well received.
The Belgian ministers, in particular, met the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, and Angolan, Malian, Guinean officials.
They have even discussed the situation in the Great Lakes region with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.