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Zaire Chooses Confusing New Name

Associated Press

Zaire’s new rulers have said they will rename their country the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This will create two neighboring nations, each with Congo in its name:

The former Zaire, with its capital at Kinshasa.

The Republic of the Congo, across the river from the former Zaire, with its capital in Brazzaville.

Zaire is the former Belgian Congo, ruled by Belgium until 1960. It became the Republic of the Congo at independence in 1960, was renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1964 and was renamed Zaire by Mobutu Sese Seko in 1971.

The Associated Press plans to begin using a Congo dateline on its dispatches today, after Kabila’s government is installed. Its neighbor will be referred to as Republic of Congo.

Zaire, with 46 million people, dwarfs the Congo Republic, with 2 million people.

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