Thomas Dermin: "An important page in the relations between Belgium and the Democratic Republic of the Congo"

Thomas Dermin: “An important page in the relations between Belgium and the Democratic Republic of the Congo”

“An important page is being turned,” Mr. Dermin analyzes. “With the return of works looted during the colonial period, the remains of Patrice Lumumba or the Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry. A form of introspection shows that Belgium is not afraid to look at this colonial past, including its shadowy regions that were recognized in the very important speech of King Philip in Kinshasa. But as the Congolese President emphasized, today we must look to the future, building the future through strong trade relations, technical development cooperation, and the role that Belgium can play in the very tense security of eastern Congo.”

For the Secretary of State, the question of a possible apology from the sovereign is important, but not likely. “What we see here is that these semantic questions have relatively little weight compared to the way we are building the future of youth in this country, to the necessities of everyday life,” he comments.

Thomas Dermine, who accompanied the royal couple from Kinshasa to Bukavu via Lubumbashi, noted the Congo’s “enormous connection to Belgium”. “We have seen demonstrations along the roads, in stadiums and universities…Wherever the King went, he was accompanied by a very large crowd. This shows that this feeling, which is the result of our common past, is there again. This should encourage us to maintain this special relationship. ‘, he recommends.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that “the Congo has been and will continue to be the first beneficiary of Belgian aid.” However, we must not “ignore” the progress that needs to be made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in terms of governance, business climate, legal certainty or combating the informal economy. This is, “to provide opportunities for emancipation to Congolese youth.”

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From a security standpoint, the royal couple’s visit to the east of the country suggests that, in the current security context, this question “is at the heart of Belgium’s concerns,” he points out.

The main aspect of the visit, which fell within the purview of Mr. Dermin, was the delivery of a mask to the National Museum in Kinshasa. He welcomes the statement: “This is a first step in terms of compensation, which aims to show all the seriousness of Belgium in this case.”

Thirty, the Secretary of State believes that “generations play a role” in the warmth of the Belgian-Congolese relationship. “The greater the distance between you and colonialism, the more critical you are in this regard, the less the emotional connection. Only a minister in the current government hardly knew the colonial era. And from the Congolese side, President Tshisekedi were born after independence. Most of our interlocutors were born in the seventies or eighties, so the They have a very different relationship with Belgium than those who knew the colonial period.”

“The future we embody is more important than the past,” said Patrick Moya, Congolese government spokesman. “Belgium especially for us, it is our uncles who participated in the creation of the Congo, the godfather with whom we reconciled. It is our gateway to international diplomacy, so we should have relations less divisive than those we had in the past. But the needs of the Congo are enormous and cooperation will not solve All our problems.”

Le ministre congolais relève aussi qu'”un grand pas a été franchi avec les mots lourds du Roi, la remise du masque ou encore la décoration du caporal Kunyuku. C’est une reconnaissance de notre passé commun, cela donne l’import Should.”

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In a few days, Lumumba’s remains will be returned, a “consecration” that will end with a four-month sequence “in which more things have happened than in the past 10 years,” M Moaya enthuses. “With a visit, you heal wounds while opening new horizons for the future.”

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