The royal visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was to take place next month, has been postponed to a later date. That reports the Palace. The postponement of the visit is a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing crisis.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde were to pay an official visit to Congo from 6 to 10 March, at the invitation of Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi. The royal couple would be accompanied for the state visit by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld), Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès (MR), and Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir (Vooruit). To get the latest stories, install our app here.
First visit in twelve years
It would have been the first visit of a Belgian king to Congo in twelve years. In 2010, King Albert and Queen Paola traveled to the ex-colony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of independence.
It is already the third postponement for this royal visit. Filip would already travel to Kinshasa in the summer of 2020, for the festivities surrounding the 60th anniversary of Congolese independence. The corona pandemic then threw a spanner in the works. A year later, there were plans for a second attempt, but even then, the state visit was canceled due to the corona pandemic.
Different tone in letter
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of independence, King Philippe had already written a letter to the Congolese president expressing his “deepest regret” for the atrocities committed during the reign of Leopold II and the colonial period. In the letter, he also made the link between the historical oppression of the Congolese at the time of colonization and the discrimination against Afro-Belgians today.
With that letter, the different tone that the Palace used towards the Congo was striking. King Albert held his tongue in public during the last state visit to Congo in 2010. Filip was supposed to give a speech during his visit, but we had to wait again for the content of that speech.
Little was known about the further program of the visit. To get the latest stories, install our app here.