Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 13:56:00 EDT
Reply-To: FORUM PAN-AFRICA <AFRICA-L@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU>
Sender: FORUM PAN-AFRICA <AFRICA-L@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU>
From: Matekopoko <Matekopoko@AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: Another White Man's political intrigue in the CONGO! ..WILL KABIILA GO?
To: Multiple recipients of list AFRICA-L <AFRICA-L@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU>
Congo-Belgian Relations Dip Further
By Raf Casert, AP, 5 April 1998
In a message dated 98-04-06 13:17:17 EDT, you write:
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Highlighting deteriorating diplomatic relations between Belgium and Congo, Belgium's foreign minister sharply criticized its former colony Sunday for briefly detaining three Belgian diplomats.
Congolese security officials arrested and then released diplomats - including the consul general and military attache - seeking to transport weapons out of Belgium's consulate in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi over the weekend.
Foreign Minister Erik Derycke said the weapons were brought to the consulate to protect diplomatic personnel during the seven-month civil war that brought Laurent Kabila to power in Congo last May.
Derycke said the diplomats apparently had authorization to bring the weapons back to Belgium, but they were confiscated at the Kinshasa airport.
"There are limits to decency," Derycke said. "These are tricks we do not like one bit."
Belgium is the former colonial ruler of Congo, previously known as Zaire.
The Belgian government responded angrily when Congolese authorities shut down a leading human rights organization Friday and accused it of participating in activities aimed at destabilizing the Kabila government.
Belgium also criticized Congo's decision to withdraw a promise to start paying off its debts to the International Monetary Fund, and its threat to ban more than 250 political opponents from running for the presidency.