INTRODUCTION: A series of political differences between Belgium and its former African colony, Zaire, have now been resolved.
SV Car arrives, Wilfred Martens gets out, and is greeted by government officials
SV Martens greeted by other officials
SV INTERIOR President Mobutu greets Martens, and they sit down
SV ZOOM IN TO SCU Mobutu seated with Martens
SV Belgian and Zaire ministers watch as Mobutu and Martens talk (4 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A series of political differences between Belgium and its former African colony, Zaire, have now been resolved. This was announced by Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Martens on Friday (6 March), at the end of his six-day official visit to Kinshasa.
SYNOPSIS: The Belgian leader's journey to Zaire was aimed at improving the relationship between the two countries following Belgian criticism of President Mobutu Sese Seko's internal politics. Relations between Brussels and Kinshasa have fluctuated since the former Belgian Congo became independent in 1960. It was the first visit by a Belgian Prime Minister to Zaire since 1975.
Monsieur Martens told President Mobutu his country would continue backing Zaire's effort to get extended credit facilities from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He said the Brussels government was ready to encourage financial institutions to provide a bridging loan for Zaire until these IMF facilities were available. Belgium also agreed to lend Zaire about 12 million dollars in the present budgetary year.
Monsieur Martens told Mr. Mobutu his country would continue a military cooperation programme under which 108 Belgian officers and men are stationed in Zaire. Belgium would move more of the men into the mining province of Shaba, which was invaded by opponents of President Mobutu in 1977 and 1978.
Zaire occupies a key strategic position in Africa, and depends partly for its exports outlet on Soviet-backed Angola and Mozambique. It's one of the western world's main suppliers of copper, cadmium, uranium and industrial diamonds. About 16,000 Belgians still live in Zaire, and Belgium maintains strong economic interests in the country.