Geert Bourgeois said yesterday (Tuesday) that Flanders will not organise a separate trade mission to Saudi Arabia. Equally Flanders does not supply weapons to the country. Bourgeois also lamented the Belgian vote in favour of the Riyadh candidacy within the UN women’s rights commission.
Speaking in the Flemish parliament, Mr Bourgeois (New Flemish Alliance), said that Flanders will not sanction sending weapons to Saudi Arabia.
He stressed, “It is different here to Wallonia.” At the same time, during the morning, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders, had once again called for a debate upon the arms embargo. This relates to weapons destined for the Wahhabi kingdom. He claimed such debate should either be at European or national level in Belgium.
Mr Bourgeois stressed, “I realise that Minister Reynders wishes to place the emphasis upon federated entities. He says that the regions should no longer export weapons.”
He went on, “My line upon the issue is clear: we do not and are not going to do so.” He also recalled how Saudi Arabia was involved in a bloody conflict in Yemen.
The Flemish Minister-President pursued, “I realise that Wallonia has no problem with this and continues to deliver weapons. It falls to the Walloon government to account for public opinion in its own region.”
In respect of economic trade missions, he said that the Flanders government will not organise any.
He did not rule out the possibility of chambers of commerce doing so, clearly stating that these visits “would not involve the Flemish government.”