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Belgian king expresses deep regret for colonial past in Congo

BRUSSELS — Belgium’s King Philippe expressed deep regret on Tuesday for the “suffering and humiliation” inflicted on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during its 75-year period under Belgian rule.

The letter to DRC president Felix Tshisekedi to mark the 60th anniversary of independence is the first such expression of regret for Belgium’s colonial past by a reigning monarch, the royal palace said.

“I want to express my deepest regret for these past injuries, the pain of which is regularly revived by the discrimination that is still all too present in our societies,” the letter seen by Reuters said.

The DRC achieved independence in 1960 after the Central African country had been a Belgian colony for 52 years and, before that, the personal property of King Leopold II for 23 years until 1908.

During Leopold’s rule “acts of cruelty were committed, while the subsequent colonial period “caused suffering and humiliation,” Philippe said.

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