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    Official visit to Belgium by Congolese President announced

    Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

    The Congolese President will come on an official visit to Belgium in mid-September for the first time in over ten years.

    The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi, will be welcomed by both King Philip and Prime Minister and President-elect of the European Council, Charles Michel, on 17 September and will stay until 20 September, reported La Libre and L’Echo on Wednesday morning.

    Tshisekedi will have lunch at the Royal Palace and pay visits to the Royal Military School in Brussels and to the agricultural faculty in Gembloux.

    The last time a President of the DRC visited Belgium was in 2007, when Joseph Kabila, President of the DRC from 2001-2019, met with members of the Belgian government and King Albert II at the Royal Palace.

    The announcement of Tshisekedi’s official visit comes after 2017 and 2018 saw tense relations between Belgium and the DRC.

    Towards the end of 2017, the incumbent Minister of Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo, suspended part of Belgium’s development cooperation with the DRC in response to the crackdown on civilian protests by the Congolese government. In early 2018, Belgium closed its consulate general in Lubumbashi, DRC, after being told to do so by Kinshasa, the political capital of the DRC.

    A new power-sharing coalition government in the DRC, presided by Tshisekedi, was announced on Monday.

    Evie McCullough
    The Brussels Times