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Vol 49 No 10

Published 9th May 2008


Congo-Kinshasa

Drifting apart

The habitual politeness between Belgium and its former colony grew thinner still during a five-day visit to Kinshasa in late April by three ministers from Brussels, Karel De Gucht (Foreign Affairs), Charles Michel (Cooperation) and Pieter De Crem (Defence). In the Belgian Embassy on 21 April, De Gucht told a gathering of Congolese notables that the government should tackle 'certain people's fabulous privileges'. The Belgian delegates were discussing the recent purchase of 500 four-wheel-drive vehicles at US$40,000 each for members of Congo's National Assembly during a strike by the country's teachers in protest against their tiny salaries.

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