President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire arrived in Belgium on Saturday (6 January) on a three-day visit for discussions on international aid to his country.
President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire arrived in Belgium on Saturday (6 January) on a three-day visit for discussions on international aid to his country. The Zairean leader has not been to Belgium since last February -- four months before an abortive but bloody invasion of the southern mining village of Kolwezi by Zairean exiles based in neighbouring Angola.
SYNOPSIS: There was an official reception with full military honours awaiting President Mobutu at Brussels' Zaventem Airport.
The Zairean leader was greeted by Belgian Foreign Minister Henri Simonet, who played a leading role in normalising relations between Zaire and Angola after the Kolwezi invasion. Lucien Outers, the Belgian Overseas Development Minister, was among the welcoming party. Belgium, Zaire's former colonial power, is co-ordinating negotiations between industrialised nations and international organisations to help Zaire's badly strained economy.
President Mobutu was also scheduled to meet King Baudouin and the caretaker Prime Minister Paul van den Boeynants during his visit. Zaire's economic problems reached crisis level after the world price of copper dropped. The Zairean currency was devalued by fifty per cent at the end of December and President Mobutu is still negotiating with the International Monetary Fund over the implementation of its programme for financial stabilisation. Similar talks with the World Bank on an economic recovery plan are to be held in the United States in March.