The government’s Prime Minister for current affairs, Sophie Wilmès, proceeded on Friday morning to the official reopening of the Belgian consulate general in Lubumbashi, in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This formality, after a resumption of activities in January, marks the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Since the accession to power of Félix Tshisekedi a year ago, the various measures taken by the Congolese government in reprisal for Belgian criticism concerning reports of elections and for a “fundamental revision” of Belgian cooperation at the beginning of 2018, have been lifted.
Among these measures was the closure of Belgium’s consulate general in Lubumbashi at the beginning of February 2018, as requested by the Congolese government. Under the presidency of Kabila’s successor, the DRC last December gave the green light to the re-opening, at the same time reviving the prospect of re-opening a Congolese consulate in Antwerp.
Wilmès emphasised on Friday that the re-opening of the Belgian consulate in Lubumbashi is “symbolic” of the restored relations between the two countries. She considers its two-year closure presented “a tricky situation”, judging the consulate to be an important “gateway to Belgium” for the Congolese population.