For the two decades preceding Congo's 1991 National Conference, the country was firmly in the socialist camp, allied principally with the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc nations. Educational, economic, and foreign aid links between Congo and its Eastern bloc allies were extensive, with the Congolese military and security forces receiving significant Soviet, East German, and Cuban assistance.
France, the former colonial power, maintained a continuing but somewhat subdued relationship with Congo, offering a variety of cultural, educational, and economic assistance. The principal element in the French-Congolese relationship was the highly successful oil sector investment of the French petroleum parastatal Elf-Aquitaine, which entered the Congo in 1968 and has continued to grow since then.
After the worldwide collapse of communism and Congo's adoption of multi-party democracy in 1991, Congo's bilateral relations with its former socialist allies have become relatively less important. France is now by far Congo's principal external partner, contributing significant amounts of economic assistance, while playing a highly influential role.
Membership in international organizations includes the United Nations, Organization of African Unity, African Development Bank, GATT, Economic Commission for Central African States, Central African Customs and Economic Union, International Coffee Organization, Union of Central African States, INTELSAT, International Criminal Police Organization - Interpol, Nonaligned Movement, and Group of 77.
Disputes - international: most of the Congo river boundary with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is indefinite (no agreement has been reached on the division of the river or its islands, except in the Stanley Pool/Pool Malebo area)
- See also : Republic of the Congo