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Minister De Gucht pleased with work done by committee of experts to delimit border between DR Congo and Angola

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Government of Belgium - October 15, 2007

The quadripartite committee of experts examining supporting documents for the delimitation of the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola (where the Kahemba territory and the Angolan province of Lunda Norte adjoin each other) has finished its work.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Karel De Gucht, was delighted with how well the committee's work has turned out. He says that the committee's work was carried out in a good atmosphere and that the Congolese and Angolan delegations were able to use the available documentation to verify the conclusions they had already drawn. "Belgium remains willing to make its documentation and its experts available," he concluded.

The statement issued by the delegations at the end of the session is as follows:

"On 10 and 11 October 2007, the quadripartite committee of experts examining supporting documents for the delimitation of the border between DR Congo and Angola (where Kahemba territory and the Angolan province of Lunda Norte adjoin each other) met at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, near Brussels.

At the request of the Congolese and Angolan authorities, this committee, made up of experts from DR Congo, Angola, Portugal and Belgium, carried out a technical analysis of historical documents and listened to presentations by specialists, historians and geographers.

The Angolan delegation was led by General Eduardo Ferreira Martins, the Angolan Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, and the Congolese delegation was led by Mpango Okundo Joseph Dovel, the Congolese Deputy Minister for Home Affairs.

Besides the senior officials and experts making up the Belgian, Portuguese, Angolan and Congolese delegations, four members of the Congolese National Assembly were also included in the Congolese delegation.

The committee was in no way arbitrating or mediating in this matter, for which two independent and sovereign states, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Angola, have exclusive responsibility.

The main objective was to give the two delegations access to documents and teams of Portuguese and Belgian experts, who helped them to interpret the historical and cartographic documents.

At the beginning of the session, the heads of the Congolese and Angolan delegations emphasised the climate of confidence and the excellent relations between their two countries.

The Congolese and Angolan delegations reiterated the fact that their countries have a common border of 2,511 km and that only recently have there been issues with the movement of people from one part of the border area between Kahemba and the Angolan province of Lunda Norte to the other.

The two governments concluded that the old colonial borders have not been altered to date.

The two delegations were therefore able to benefit from two days of analysis carried out by Belgian and Portuguese experts which allowed them to compare the documents with the conclusions they had drawn in reports from previous meetings.

The two delegations were also able to verify that these reports were based on historical decisions and that they were historically legitimate.

Detailed documentation was given to the Angolan and Congolese delegations for the attention of the appropriate authorities and institutions in their countries.

Belgium and Portugal remain willing to make their historical documentation and their experts available.

The work of the committee, which was conducted in French and Portuguese, took place in a very friendly atmosphere and the outcome was to the satisfaction of all four delegations.

The participants would like to thank the Royal Museum for Central Africa for the wonderful surroundings, as well as the various experts who made up the committee, the Portuguese and Belgian authorities and the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs for his invitation."



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