Suspension in response to Belgian criticism of president’s choice of prime minister
The Democratic Republic of Congo has suspended military cooperation with Belgium, UN radio reported on Friday.
This comes after Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders criticized the appointment of Bruno Tshibala as prime minister.
The appointment of Tshibala was also opposed by the DRC opposition coalition, the EU and some donor countries which said it was not in line with a Dec. 31, 2016 agreement between the government and the opposition.
DRC’s opposition coalition had named Felix Tshisekedi as their choice for prime minister but were ignored by President Joseph Kabila.
In response to the criticism, DRC Foreign Minister Leonard Okitundu warned foreign countries against interfering in Congo’s internal affairs, saying it is an independent country.
The DRC was a Belgian colony for 52 years, gaining its independence in 1960.
UN radio quoted a Belgian spokesman saying: "Our defense attache in Kinshasa received a letter informing us of the suspension of our military cooperation. We are now making an inventory of what this cooperation covered.”
The cooperation, which began in 1997, mainly concerns training activities. In particular, the Belgian military had formed two brigades in DRC which helped government forces during the rebellion of the Movement of 23 March (M23) in Kivu in 2012 and 2013.